Magic thinking

We have all kinds of innovation and we have them all the time, but you cannot decide on what will be invented next. The magical thinking of the global warming crowd who believe that if you make fossil fuels really expensive that a cheaper alternative will simply materialise is so bordering on the insane that I actually don’t know what can be done about it. Making energy more expensive will certainly mean that some of us will use less of it, with the less well off the ones who will suffer the most. And those who live in genuinely poor communities will find their standard of living falling below where it now is. This is not a matter of theory but is an absolute arithmetical necessity. If you have less of something, some people who used to have a particular quantity will have less and some may even have none at all.

Tonight I went along to hear Sinclair Davidson on the great moral question of our time: is coal on its way out as a source of energy. The audience was what I suspect a Q&A audience must be like, all well meaning and quite comfortable, thank you very much, but oh so concerned about the future about a hundred years from now when the oceans have risen and our farmlands have all turned to desert. We must therefore get rid of fossil fuels, and coal in particular, immediately. The replacement technologies are already available; its only the lack of will that prevents us from taking the steps we need to take.

Bob Brown led the offence for the yeas, while Professor Davidson played anchor for the nays stressing the moral case for fossil fuels. Every one of the five speakers except one agreed that global warming and greenhouse gases was the greatest issue of our time. The sixth made the hilarious point that no one really cares about people who will be inhabiting the planet a hundred years from now, evidenced by the fact that they don’t seem to care all that much about people who are inhabiting the planet right at the moment. This brought a strong round of applause from at least one member of the audience, but if there was anyone else applauding at the same time, I think I may have missed it.

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