Since Catastrophic Climate Change was declared ‘settled science’ by government-funded climate scientists around the world and disseminated as such by the mainstream media, cycling to work has been appointed one of the most selfless acts of social good any 21st century citizen can perform. The number of people commuting by bicycle in London has increased by around 66% over the last decade or so. Unfortunately, in terms of deaths per kilometre travelled, cycling in London is currently a many more times dangerous way of commuting to work than driving or using public transport. Saving the planet, it seems, is a risky business.
On the front page of the London Evening Standard newspaper last Wednesday was the story of a 26-year-old woman cyclist who was killed in a lorry collision on her way to work in the city the day before. She is the eighth cyclist killed this year alone in London. Remarkably, on page eight of the same paper was a side piece by the paper’s deputy political editor entitled ‘Cycle to work to save the world and your health’.
The piece regurgitated the alarmist (but orthodox) claims made earlier that day in a BBC radio interview by Professor Anthony Castello, who is co-chairman of the lancet Commission on health and climate change and director of University College London’s Institute for Global Health. According to the article the professor warned of the “potentially catastrophic effects of global warming” and that a global temperature rise of 4 degrees celsius could undermine all the health improvements of the last century.
If this now deceased young woman cycled to work to get fit, then my argument doesn’t apply to her. Her reasoning was sound. Cycling is indeed good exercise, but tragically for her luck was not on her side and she became another cycling death statistic.
What if, however, this young woman’s primary motivation or only motivation for cycling to work was the conviction that in doing so she would help avert catastrophic climate change in a century or so and thus potentially save many people around the world from starvation, displacement or death by natural disaster? If it was, then her reasoning wasn’t sound and her death was therefore all the more tragic.
Given that many people seem to be convinced that environmental catastrophe is only a century away unless we all ‘go green’ this instant, or at the very least see no reason to doubt this assertion constantly being hurled at their minds by the media, I think it’s quite likely that her decision to cycle was based on this apparent moral imperative.
This would make her death all the more tragic because this moral imperative was manufactured in the labs of government-funded climate science agencies and propagated by politicians and the media. If she was cycling to work to ‘save the world’, then perhaps she is as much a victim of State propaganda and the ideologies of the political ruling elite as State soldiers who invade foreign lands to protect ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.
It’s not too smart to act upon the long-term predictions plucked from a climate change model, however widely accepted that model might be amongst government-funded scientists, as if they were as sound as logical deductions – especially when it involves higher risk action such as cycling through London everyday.
The model that the IPCC, Lancet commission and all the other government-funded groups base their recommendations on to political leaders and policy makers around the world contains significant enough flaws to make skepticism about catastrophic climate change the most reasonable position to maintain.
The skeptic’s case is presented clearly and in detail in this article by David Evans for the Mises Institute. There’s also a good video by Warren Meyer, which you can watch within a previous article of mine.
Yes, there’s more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and yes, that’s due to human activity, but the belief that current trends will lead to anything like a (catastrophic) three or four degree rise in air and sea temperatures in a century or so from now is not ‘settled science’ at all. In a nutshell, the most likely outcome is actually only a half a degree or so rise, which won’t be catastrophic for humanity.
So no need to panic, then, or cycle to work like the fate of much of humanity depends on our doing so, or run to government and implore our politicians to save the world. Even if the planet did need saving, governments would fail miserably. These institutions only do one thing well: sustain and further themselves.
That doesn’t stop politicians from believing, or at least agreeing with panicky and pessimistic environmentalists/progressives in order to win their votes, that governments can save the planet. Nor does the reality of the inefficacy of government action to solve complex social problems stop them from trying to by implementing their schemes of carbon emission criminalization and taxation, which they surely hope will see them go down in history as the men who put the reigns on destructive capitalism and saved the planet.
The only thing that’s going down, however, as a result of all this is the common man’s standard of living by virtue of raising the cost of travel and of producing goods, services and energy. This represents the ‘necessary sacrifice’ that someone else decided you and I must make. Why their choice should supersede everyone else’s is a question they cannot and don’t care to answer.
Many of us would be skeptical about a scientific study which claimed that coca cola, say, had certain health benefits if that study had been funded by Coca Cola itself. We should be equally skeptical about claims made by scientists in the employ of government or State-funded universities. These people have every incentive to produce the alarming predictions and ‘evidence’ needed to justify all manner of liberty-crushing government climate change policies, of the very kind clamoured for by other left liberal environmentalists like themselves.
Such people seem to really badly want it to be true that our world will be a submerged or scorched apocalyptic hell a century or so from now, just so they can feel justified in cutting capitalism’s head off with the blunt instrument of government now – because it’s all capitalism’s fault. The old saying ‘cutting your nose off to spite you face’ couldn’t be more apt. Except it’s not just their noses, it’s everyone else’s getting the chop as well.
The people of the future don’t need us to provide for them. It is vain for us to attempt to do so. As long as capitalism, that is individual liberty, is allowed to continue to function as the engine for human progress, they will have technological abilities we cannot dream of and will overcome their own environmental challenges in ways we cannot imagine.
Londoners: go ahead and cycle to work for the good of your health, but for goodness sake don’t do so because State scientists, politicians and the media – all special interest groups with every incentive to agree with each other – tell you that it is your moral duty as a 21st century citizen; that it is your penance for having indulged in the sin of capitalism.
Sacrificing yourself or at the very least putting your life in the hands of London’s many bus and lorry drivers in a vain attempt to provide for the needs of future ages only benefits power-craving politicians and their cronies and special interest groups in the present who want their beliefs set in political stone and their lifestyle choices forced upon the whole of society.
The greatest gift we can give future generations is more wealth and liberty, and we can do that by living the lives we want to live to the fullest, not by unthinkingly sacrificing everyday comforts and needlessly risking our lives on our daily commutes.