Biden Vows to Kill Keystone XL if Elected

Back before he went into hiding, Joe Biden was notorious for making confusing statements which his spokesmen had to "clarify" later, while pretending that they'd been distorted by conservative media. Not that he's actually stopped doing this since the DNC began using the lockdowns as a pretense for hiding him in his basement in Delaware (a tactic which seems to be working for them at the moment, but which they can't keep up through November). While criticizing Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden told ABC News a few weeks ago, "We have to take care of the cure. That will make the problem worse, no matter what. No matter what. We know what has to be done." Uh, sure Grandpa.

But there was nothing confusing about the statement put out by the Biden campaign (of course not delivered by the candidate himself) vowing to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline project should he be elected president next November.

“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as President and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit,” Biden campaign policy director Stef Feldman said in a written statement to POLITICO.

In case you've forgotten, Keystone XL is a project of the Canadian oil firm TC Energy, the object of which is to safely transport Canadian crude from Alberta down to refineries in the U.S. It is, in fact, the fourth Keystone pipeline, and when completed it will be able to transport more oil (because it is larger) more quickly (because it travels a less circuitous route) than the already operational other three. Unfortunately for TC Energy, stopping Keystone XL became a cause célèbre for the Left during Barack Obama's presidency, and so the Obama Administration slow-walked the permit process for years until officially rejecting it after six years of review. Donald Trump breathed new life into the project after his election, but it has remained in legal limbo throughout the course of his first term.

Just a few thoughts on his announcement:

  1. Part of Biden's appeal is that he's supposedly this scrappy, working class, down-to-earth, Irish Catholic guy from Scranton, Pa., son of a used car salesman, yadda yadda yadda. But here he is, during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, promising to kill steady, hardworking jobs (in two countries!) because it'll make well-connected environmentalists happy?
  2. Even Democrats are starting to acknowledge that the former Vice President isn't all there. Even if it were true that his instincts are more geared towards the working man than the wine-and-caviar set that Hillary Clinton appealed to, this kind of announcement should give you a sense of who will actually be doing the governing while President Biden retreats further into his dotage.
  3. Keystone XL is popular in Canada, so much so that the then-newly elected prime minister, Justin Trudeau, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, felt compelled to object when Obama originally killed the project. Canada is our second largest trading partner, and our largest -- China -- is increasingly unpopular in the U.S., for obvious reasons, so much so that calls for our relationship with that nation to be drastically reevaluated are coming in hot and heavy. Would it really be wise for Biden -- whose foreign policy experience supposedly got him the nod as Obama's veep -- to antagonize an ally in such an environment?

Then again, former Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates famously said that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." As his Keystone XL announcement demonstrates, his domestic and trade policy instincts are just as reliable.

The Coming Struggle for Power with China

In the 1930s John Strachey, later a sober moderate cabinet minister in Clem Attlee’s postwar U.K. Labour government, wrote a book with the ominous title, The Coming Struggle for Power. As anyone familiar either with the politics of the day or with Orwell’s writings about that time could have guessed, Strachey called himself a Marxist but was in fact a comfortable bourgeois journalist, the son of the then-editor of the Spectator, who had never come closer to a genuine struggle than when he disputed with a friend over who should pay the bill for lunch.

But his book was one of many in those times which weakened the moral self-confidence of the Western democracies in their own free societies with the result that they would enter the Second World War and later the Cold War hesitant, badly-prepared, and uncertain of purpose. If a book named The Coming Struggle for Power were to be published today, its title would carry an ominous double entendre because the West today is locked in a struggle with China over both geopolitics and world energy resources.

We have been understandably reluctant to acknowledge this conflict (which like an iceberg is only one-eighth visible above the surface) because no one wants to repeat the failure of Franco-British policy in dealing with the rise of the Kaiser’s Germany prior to 1914. The horrors of the Great War explain our fears well enough. But that war also undermined the illusion cultivated by some of the best minds of that time that trade and economic cooperation between the great powers—aka the “power of facts”—had made war between them illogical, pointless, almost impossible.

In August 1914, however, as one historian wrote, the power of facts took a terrible hammering from the facts of power.

One relevant fact is that industrial development, prosperity, and mutually beneficial trade do not automatically convert a country to political liberalism at home and commercial pacifism abroad. Wilhelmine Germany had enjoyed its own great economic rise in the 19th century, but it saw the rapid industrialization of Czarist Russia as a reason to wage war before its emerging rival became too powerful and a threat. The Kaiser’s Machtpolitik demonstrated that a nation’s interests and intentions, evidenced in its political culture, may dictate war on the grounds that security is more important than prosperity. And every now and then an event occurs that, whether large or small, inadvertently throws a spotlight on what is really driving a country’s overall “grand strategy.”

The Wuhan virus, as we’re not supposed to call it, has just thrown such a spotlight on Beijing’s drive for a more powerful role in world politics. Such a drive is itself legitimate. And if it’s accompanied by a willingness to work cooperatively with other countries and to abide by agreed international rules, other nations should strive to accommodate the rising power in collective global arrangements.

But the Chinese government’s handling of the Wuhan virus combined brutality in its suppression of ordinary citizens in its attempt to suppress the virus, an obsession with secrecy as it sought to protect its own image, a failure to inform other governments that a dangerous epidemic was spreading in and over its borders, pressure on the World Health Organization to delay warning the world of what was coming its way, outrageously dishonest propaganda blaming the virus on  the US, and forbidding air flights from Wuhan to other Chinese cities while allowing them to other countries as the epidemic was still raging there. All of this represented irresponsible national egoism on a global scale.

Big Trouble in Big China.

It also reminded other countries of how China under its present regime has behaved on other matters in recent years: its imprisonment of vast numbers of its Uighur minority in a new gulag; its creation of a virtual panopticon that keeps watch on dissidents via the internet, even to the point of being able to instruct airlines not to allow them to board flights; its widespread theft of intellectual property; its purchase of political influence in other countries by hiring senior political and civil service figures for Chinese companies, as well as by outright bribery; its attempt to control Chinese minorities abroad; and at home the restoration of a quasi-Maoism by Xi Jimping who also proclaimed himself President for Life (an absurd but revealing title.) As a result of Wuhan all these factors now seem to demonstrate the naivete of the idea that bringing communist China into the structure of global governance, in particular the World Trade Organization, would make the country a liberal democracy over time.

Or, as I quoted Rupert Darwall as writing last week: “Xi’s historic accomplishment is falsifying the globalists’ liberalization thesis.” That means not that we are heading for a war between the world’s two major nuclear powers, which would be a disaster for all mankind, but that the West, above all the United States, should be sufficiently strong to deter China from any foolish military provocations and, more broadly, to contain China as we contained the Soviet Union until its political system evolves or its political leadership changes course.

Right on cue, the same important story appeared last week in the London Times, the Daily Mail, and The Australian. Here is the Mail’s opening salvo:

The US would lose a war with China fought in the Pacific, is unable to defend Taiwan from an invasion and fears the Guam military base is at risk now, US defense sources have warned. ‘Eye-opening' Pentagon war games have revealed growing fears the US is vulnerable to threats from China and that any attack would lead to the US 'suffering capital losses', the sources said. The worrying analysis is expected to come to light in the Pentagon's 2020 China military power report this summer.

This is alarming, of course, but far from despair-inducing. Most of the studies of a US-China military clash are based on what the military balance between the two nations will be like in 2030. The Pentagon is now planning a larger military commitment to East Asia; the U.S. economy is still more technologically advanced than the Chinese (and will now be more watchful towards technical espionage); and though both economies are likely to suffer some damage from the Covid-19 and lockdown crises, historians will recall that the prospect of war was what pulled the U.S. economy out of its New Deal doldrums and into a massive expansion both industrially and militarily.

For the one requires the other. It’s not possible to build up strong modern military forces except on the basis of a strong modern advanced economy which in turn must rest on the most efficient energy-producing industries. China recognizes that fact and acts upon it. Despite his brief flirtation with President Obama when they  shook hands and agreed to pursue the carbon reduction targets under the Paris accords, President Xi Jimping has adopted a very different practical agenda. As Darwall points out:

Despite being feted as a climate saviour, China’s drive for coal continued unabated. A 2018 plant-by-plant survey by CoalSwarm found that 259 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity are under development in China, comparable to the entire US coal fleet (266 GW). If completed, the new plants 29 will increase China’s current coal fleet of 993 GW by 25%. Abroad, China is involved in 240 coalfired power projects in 25 countries as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

China’s military strength thus rests upon cheap abundant reliable energy. And its rivals?

Before the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. had a successful and expanding economy based in part upon the fracking revolution that gave it low-cost, high-productivity, reliable energy without subsidies. That was a solid foundation for a stronger American military. Europe was a sadly different proposition: continental Europe has embarked on a quixotic crusade to reduce the rise in world temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius since the advent of industrialization by reducing its use of fossil fuels to net zero-carbon emissions by 2050. Not surprisingly its economies are stalled. Britain has adopted the same self-destructive target and, in doing so, has abandoned the fair prospect of its own fracking revolution. And almost all predictions of the effects of this net-zero ambition, if it is seriously attempted and sustained, are that the countries concerned—all Western countries—would suffer a prolonged depression.

And all that was before the virus and the lockdowns.

Now, it is becoming the conventional wisdom in Western Europe, Britain, and Canada that the hoped-for post-Convid-19 economic recovery will be rooted in a Green New Deal that will direct resources not to recovery as such but to ensuring that any recovery will favour “Green” industries and deny investment to industries dependent on fossil fuels. And if Joe Biden were to win the November election, this same policy approach would be adopted in the United States too.

In his new study of the likely effects of such a policy, John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Foundation points out these results would be extremely damaging.:

[I]t is the adoption of high-productivity energy sources that is responsible for modern growth. Turning our backs on those energy sources would have been unwise even in a state of continuing global growth fundamentally driven by Asian use of coal and oil, as well as a resurgent North American use of gas. To do so in time of suppressed global trade and growth has the potential to be genuinely dangerous in the longer term, and perhaps even in the short term.

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Dr. Constable thinks this would be a “counterproductive disaster,” and he does not take account of the West’s military competition with China in his calculation. Nonetheless, he thinks that the civil service [in Britain] will press the policy, and that the politicians will not resist. One might add that in the U.S. and throughout the West the media, academia, most cultural institutions, and large numbers of the voters will be eager partisans of the same counterproductive disaster. And if the Chinese communists win the battle for power as energy, they will be hard to beat in the struggle for power as geopolitical hegemony.

John Strachey abandoned Marxism in 1940, left the Communist Party, joined the Labour party, and volunteered for the Royal Air Force in which he served until 1945 when he was elected as a Labour MP and appointed Minister of Food in the Attlee government. For the remainder of his career, he was a forceful voice for moderate social democracy and common sense in British politics.

Almost certainly, there will be decent people who similarly realize the terrible consequences of this New Green Disaster when they see the poverty it visits upon their fellow-citizens, and who make the same political U-turn as Strachey did. But will that realization dawn before the Chinese Communist Party has achieved an economic and military world hegemony?

Rebuilding on Sand

Lately I've been tempted to think that we will see a noticeable decline in the power of the environmentalist movement once this coronavirus concern is past. Indeed, I've written as much more than once. My reasoning (as I've articulated in a few pieces) is as follows: hardcore environmentalism is an ideology which has grown out of the boredom and ennui which so often accompanies prosperity. Once that prosperity has been seriously challenged, or even comes to an end, people will have much less time for these frivolities, as they will be putting increased effort into more basic necessities, like putting food on the table. Perhaps young people will even be less inclined to spend tens of thousands of dollars per year on the indoctrination mills that we refer to as modern universities, which supply the foot soldiers of these movements.

Well, some of those predictions might still turn out to be spot on, but I believe I was forgetting Michael Walsh's oft repeated dictum concerning our liberal friends, which is: "they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit." Which is to say, Big Envira (with the help of their deep pocketed backers) are every bit as resourceful and focused on the future as any other big business right now, and just like those other businesses they're out there thinking of how they can use this crisis to further their own ends. They know that, while normal people will likely be less inclined to hear what Greta Thunberg has to say as they come to terms with a greater share of hardship than that to which they're accustomed, their movement is so deeply embedded in the inner workings of business and politics in the West that that won't matter much, at least in the short term. Their image might change, but their influence will remain.

These thoughts are occasioned, in part, by this Wall Street Journal article, which begins rather oddly:

One hopeful development arising from the coronavirus pandemic: Global air quality is improving dramatically as the outbreak sends many countries into lockdown, climate scientists say....

The coronavirus outbreak, which began in China late last year, led to a roughly 25% decline in carbon emissions during the four weeks beginning Feb. 3, compared with the post-lunar new year period in 2019, said Lauri Myllyvirta, analyst at the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

Air pollution in Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of China’s outbreak, almost halved between Jan. 23 and March 25 compared with the same year-earlier period, according to data from air-quality technology company IQAir.

Now, I am certainly no great fan of pollution, and I suppose I'm glad that the climate crowd is even acknowledging China's carbon emissions when this is a topic they've tended to ignore while condemning nations which have much better records on environmental stewardship (not to mention human rights). But I'm just not able to identify with this 'Look on the Bright Side of the Virus' attitude. Perhaps that is a later stage of grief. In any event, the article goes on:

The improvement [in carbon emissions] comes as demand for fossil fuels plummeted with flights grounded, factories and offices closed and people confined to their homes. Many researchers, intergovernmental organizations and activists hope the world can learn lessons from the insights the pandemic offers regarding human impact on the environment, and groups including Greenpeace, the International Energy Agency and the World Resources Institute are seizing the crisis as an opportunity to press governments to make industrial stimulus packages contingent on modernizing energy systems....

“We are asked by many governments around the world to give them advice on how they can shape the energy component of these stimulus packages in order to boost the energy resilience and accelerate the energy transition,” said Fatih Birol, executive director at the IEA.

Greenpeace U.K. signaled that it plans to press the U.K. government to be tough on companies that receive stimulus funds. “Any loans must come with strings attached to reduce emissions so that in the months to come the government can steer high-carbon industries toward the cleaner, healthier and more resilient future we all need,” said Fiona Nicholls, a climate campaigner for the group.

Which is to say, first of all, that we are being given a taste of the world of their dreams, with everyday life upended, people not driving or flying, businesses shut down, etc. They are quick to add, of course, that this is "not something to celebrate" because people's lives are at stake (as if they wouldn't be in their preferred circumstances, if less immediately) and that they would prefer that this were the result of governmental climate action.

But second, that as our collapsed economy is being rebuilt, environmental lobbyists will be working overtime to make sure that they have several seats at the table where decisions about what our future looks like are being made. Meanwhile, the blue collar guy in Pennsylvania or Alberta who depends on his job in the oil and gas industry to take care of his wife and kids, he decidedly will not.

Over at Forbes, Daniel Markind reminds us of some "basic truths" concerning why we should be grateful for the fact that the fossil fuel industry has persevered despite the war which has been waged against it over the past few decades by the organizations mentioned above and their comrades:

First among these truths is the production of surgical masks and other protective gear. Many of the best masks are made of polypropylene, clearly a fossil fuel product. With COVID-19 raging, there has been little to no discussion of going to less effective paper masks. The paper might have less climatic impact – although fewer trees also has a carbon footprint – but almost without exception, our medical personnel have determined that their health is more important to them than the abstract potential to affect climate change. Who can blame them?

Another example is the return of plastic bags at the local supermarket. Prior to the virus hitting, many markets announced they were stopping the use of plastics bags for their groceries. That didn’t last long. It turns out, of course, that single use plastic bags are far cleaner than other bags people keep in their house, then bring to the market - carrying all the germs and viruses they’ve collected along the way with them. Now, not only are stores returning to fossil fuel based plastic bags, they are banning reusable ones from being brought in.

A third use of fossil fuels is the medicines we take. While little known outside the pharmaceutical industry, fossil fuels are the foundation for between 80% to 90% of the pharmaceuticals we use. As with surgical masks, when facing the stark reality of protecting a loved one through drugs that are carbon based or letting that loved one fend for him/herself in order to fight climate change, few choose the latter.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the use of fossil fuels, however, has been the fact that we have the consistent energy supply that we need during this time to work remotely and to take care of our sick in the hospitals. As marvelous as solar, wind, and other similar technologies are, they remain intermittent. We have yet to determine how to store and transmit power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Without that consistent, reliable power supply - the overwhelming majority of which remains powered by fossil fuels - we in the west would have no chance to fight the virus.

There's been a lot of discussion about our failures of readiness in the months and years before the present crisis, from our neglecting to replenish the strategic PPE stockpile since 2005, to cities like New York belatedly closing schools and restaurants. I can't help but think that putting the Greenies in a position to strangle oil and gas as we lay the foundation of our economic future would be a Bill de Blasio level screw up.

It would be to rebuild our houses on sand at a time when, to extend the metaphor a little, the sea levels are rising.

Thanks, Wuhan Virus: 'Earth is Healing Herself'

The Catholic Church has long been in the business of caring for the sick. This is a fact which you might not have picked up in school, as most history teachers, more interested in ideology than truth, don't often mention it. But the plain fact is the Church, which is ostensibly concerned with the good of the soul, has concurrently devoted tremendous amounts of energy and resources to the care of the body. The very word "hospital" comes from the Knights Hospitaller, who came into existence in 1070 to care for pilgrims to the Holy Land. For centuries the hospitals of Europe were run by religious orders, and the saints whose reputations were built on the care of the sick -- from John of God ministering to the mentally ill in 16th Century Spain to Damien De Veuster living among the lepers in 19th century Hawaii to Rose Hawthorne Lathrop serving terminal cancer patients in early 20th century New York -- are too numerous to list.

Just recently the generally anti-Catholic New York Times published an article about the nuns who staffed sick wards during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918:

They tended to stricken men, crammed 30 to a ward, with the dirt from their factory jobs still smeared on their faces and hands. Hallucinating patients tried to climb out of windows, tore at the bedsheets, threw glass tumblers at their nurses and begged God for mercy. In private homes, the sisters found parents dead in their beds while their hungry children cried in the next room. “The windows were closed tightly, and we felt we could taste the fever,” one nun recalled later.

They washed linens, served hot soup and mixed medicine. They brought water, ice, blankets and comfort. “The call ‘Sister’ could be heard every minute during the night,” one remembered of her hectic shifts. Another spoke about her initial trepidation on her first day: “I was struck, at first, with a fearful dread, for I never came in close contact with death but once in my life. But realizing what must be done, I quickly put on my gown and mask, and being assigned to the women’s ward, I began my duties.”

One would imagine that our present pandemic might be another opportunity for modern Catholic religious to display the heroism of their forebears. And perhaps we will eventually find out that that is the case, that they are out there helping the sick beat back this virus. Unfortunately we live in a time when people -- even priests -- are increasingly catechized in the religion of environmentalism. And the religion of environmentalism seems to be rooting for the virus.

Per example, on Monday the official news service of the Vatican published a short piece by a Jesuit priest named Benedict Mayaki entitled "Coronavirus: Earth's Unlikely Ally."

The article has since been taken down (though you can still read it in multiple languages here; scroll down for English) but if you've been following some of the nutty anti-human narrative the environmentalist movement has been doubling down on lately, you won't be surprised by what it says:

The reduction in human activity is having an unintended benefit: Earth is healing herself. It Italy, fish have returned to the canals in Venice. Less tourism and water transport have allowed the murky waters to settle... China, the world's largest carbon emitter, now has a significant decrease in the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the air. NASA attributes this to the decline of economic and industrial activities during the coronavirus outbreak....

The global reduction in air, land and sea travel is yielding benefits for the planet as carbon emission sees a projected decline. Air travel alone contributes more than two percent of global carbon emissions.

Imagine an Italian-based website publishing an article like that at a time when Italy is being ravaged, when almost 100,000 Italians are infected and over 10,000 have died. And as far as China is concerned, while we don't have any idea what their numbers actually are. They do seem to be stockpiling urns, even as they claim that they've gotten the virus under control. Maybe Father Benedict should be a little more sensitive to the human cost of this crisis.

Strictly speaking, this is what the Church used to call paganism. Mother Gaia has been suffering from the human virus for too long, so she made us a bowl of bat soup and now she's "healing herself." Lots of hip publications are making a similar case. It's just a little disturbing to see the Vatican so "on trend." Then again, this is what Pope Francis had to say in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato si: "Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years."

 

After Prosperity, Whither Environmentalism?

The Climate Crowd have long argued that a society as rich as ours can easily afford to pay more for things like gas, groceries, plane tickets, electricity. What's an extra 25 cents per gallon or 50 bucks per flight to visit your Mom in Sheboygan when you live in the wealthiest society that has ever existed?

Stated that way, the activists' case sounds convincing to a lot of regular people. They consider the new 75" TV in the den and remember the one with the coat-hanger antenna they had as kids, or think back to that rusted out El Camino their dad drove at their age while they look at the new BMW they just picked up, and they say 'You know, I can stand to have things a little harder.' Conservatives joke a lot about limousine liberals and champagne socialists -- not least because they often don't consider the fact that *not everyone* can stand to have things a little harder - but for a lot of people this is where their attitude comes from: the acknowledgement that they're a lot better off than they imagined they would be when they were young, a certain pride that they haven't always lived in the lap of luxury, and even a sense of shame that they have so much stuff.

Of course, the activists relentlessly exploit that shame, while also obscuring what Having Things a Little Harder actually looks like. Once you start spelling out the details to regular people, they start pumping the breaks pretty quickly: "You want to replace our entire energy infrastructure with..... enormous bird killing windmills? Any plans for when there is no wind? Not really? How about all of the people who rely on jobs in the industries you want to destroy to feed their families? 'Learn to Code', huh?' And I'm not allowed to use plastic.... ever?" So in order for the ploy to work, they need us all to be thinking about the money in our pockets and not the size of the tab they're racking up on our behalf.

But what happens when things change? When even the people who have, until recently, had it pretty good, start having it a little harder? Or at lot harder? Well it seems that, thanks to the Wuhan coronavirus, we are about to find out. The other day we got the news that American jobless claims jumped by 3.28 million in a single week. Economists are debating whether we are looking down the barrel of a depression or just a terrible recession. Experts are asking us to put nearly all economic activity on hold for the foreseeable future. In short, to some extent or another, the prosperity which we've all come to take for granted is under serious assault.  How, one wonders, will the climate zealots respond to that?

Well, in a lot of places they'll respond by saying, "Sorry, but you've already signed the paperwork":

A European Union deadline of April 30 for firms to surrender emissions trading system (ETS) carbon allowances will stand, despite calls for extensions from some industry groups due to the coronavirus pandemic. Industry, utilities and airlines running flights in Europe must report their ETS emissions for the previous calendar year by 31 March, and surrender enough carbon permits to cover these emissions by 30 April under the bloc’s ETS rules.

The European Commission said on Thursday it recognised that the coronavirus crisis might make it difficult for companies to submit verified emissions reports by the end of March, but the existing rules provide flexibility around this deadline. National authorities can make a “conservative estimate” of emissions for firms that miss the March deadline, so long as this is done in time for the April compliance deadline, it said. “The Commission underlines the importance of the timely surrender of allowances by the mandatory deadline of 30 April 2020,” it added.

Which is to say, business as usual. At least officially. I was encouraged by this quote from someone identified as a senior EU diplomat, in a story about Poland's backing away from net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, a key component of the European Green Deal:

Maybe [the EU's environmental summit in June] will be less on Green Deal but more on trying to restart the economies.... We cannot just continue with the plans and programmes we had so far. They were developed for a world without coronavirus.

It sounds like some of them are realizing that we might be witnessing a serious paradigm shift, and that the priorities of the world of six months ago -- when we were contemplating giving the Nobel Peace Prize to a class cutting teenager -- might no longer be in effect.

It's early days yet, and no one really knows what is going to happen or what the world six months from now is going to look like. But however this virus situation plays out (not to mention the game of oil chicken between Russia and the Saudis) we're going to be extremely grateful for the jobs and the energy independence that the oil and gas industry provides.

And, what's more, having come out on the other side of all of this, we're going to have a lot less time for those who talk lightly about throwing our prosperity away on an illusion when a real crisis is right here, right now.

Hand Over the Solar Tax Credits, Or the Economy Gets It

Yesterday Michael Walsh  discussed the pressing concern among western civilization's current cultural elite -- the Twitterati (God help us). The Blue Checkmarks (long may they reign) are deeply concerned that the ongoing coronavirus freak-out is distracting us from the real civilizational catastrophe -- Anthropogenic Climate Change.

They must be greatly relieved, then, that Nancy Pelosi (D-Twitter), has come back from her little vacation to Hawaii tanned, rested, and ready to seize the reins. Before her arrival, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer confidently reported that negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over a nearly $2 trillion emergency relief bill were going well, and it would likely be passed on Monday. When asked about that comment, Pelosi replied ominously "Oh, I don’t know about Monday." She then unveiled a 1,400 page House bill which seeks to spend up to $2 trillion on really pressing pandemic related concerns such as:

It must be nice to be so certain that the media will carry water for you that you can pull this crap in a crisis. Of course, she's not wrong. Before Sunday was over, the New York Times had changed its initial headline about the Democrats' filibustering the bill the original bill (not Pelosi's) from "Democrats Block Action on $1.8 Trillion Stimulus" to "Partisan Divide Threatens Deal on Rescue Bill." Damn partisans.... whoever they are.

Climate specific items in the Pelosi bill include:

The focus on airlines is particularly underhanded, since that industry  has been especially hard hit. And yet, even just the requirement that they fully offset their carbon emissions will make firing employees and attempting to weather the storm a better bet for several airlines than accepting a bailout now.

America isn't the only place where the activist crowd are dictating the response of politicians. In Canada, Justin Trudeau's Liberal government unveiled new emergency legislation which grants the prime minister broad, unilateral authority to, among other things, bail out companies as he sees fit (uh, didn't they just have a major scandal which would call into question Trudeau's judgement on exactly this score?) and set taxation levels for the next 21 months (I wonder if that power might, at some point, be used as part of the ongoing battle over carbon taxes there). But at least if you squint, you see a justification for those measures, if not their extent (and anyway the Liberals are already beginning to back down from them). What Pelosi is attempting is much more cynical and shameless.

Though it doesn't roll off the tongue like Rahm Emanuel's "Never let a serious crisis to go to waste" in 2008, Democratic Whip James Clyburn's statement that this really is “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision” is an excellent description of what his party is doing. Thus far the Republicans aren't giving in --  Mitch McConnell was clearly pissed on the floor of the Senate:

The Democrats won't let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the Green New Deal! .... They're filibustering hospital funding and more masks because they want to argue with the airlines over their Carbon Footprint?! I'd like to see Senate Democrats tell small business employees in their states who are literally being laid off every day that they are filibustering relief that will keep people on the payroll because Democrat special interest friends want to squeeze employers while they're vulnerable.

And President Trump has sounded similar notes on Twitter:

Hopefully the GOP will stick to their guns, get the best possible deal through that they can, and we can begin the process of getting back on track after this insane historical moment.

Forget the Coronavirus: the Real Threat is 'Climate Change'

As I like to say on Twitter: they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit. I'm referring to the "progressive" Left, which firmly believes in never letting a good crisis go to waste, and never misses a chance to push its crackpot policy ideas, no matter how far the arc of history has suddenly just shifted. So, even in the midst of a world-wide panic over the coronavirus from Wuhan, China, the progs are somehow still able to find time and space to push their harum-scarum about "climate change." Herewith, a few recent examples:

Climate Point: Climate change has yet to be canceled due to coronavirus

We're in the midst of a pandemic, one that has exposed a continued hesitation to trust science and fault lines of fear that increase racist finger-pointing over the origins of the novel coronavirus. The problems are evident at the highest levels, where officials in the Trump administration have reportedly called the coronavirus the "Kung-Flu" and the "Chinese virus."

What this rhetoric completely misses, however, are the causes of deadly diseases spurred by exotic viruses. "Demand for wood, minerals and resources" clears habitat and disrupts ecological processes, presenting opportunities for pathogens ranging from ebola to coronavirus to pass from wildlife to humans, The Guardian reported this week.

Well, if Britain's notoriously left-wing The Guardian reported it, it must be true! Of course, the Wuhan virus couldn't possibly have anything to do with Chinese standards of hygiene or their culinary preferences, or the complicty of the Communist Party is making such delicacies available to the public. After all, how can eating live frog's innards, snakes, bat soup, pangolin pizza, and fricassee of civet cat possibly harm you? Not to mention boiled-alive dogs. (Where is PETA in all this, one wonders.)

But back to "global warming."

Just because our attention is on the coronavirus, that doesn't mean the elephant in the room — climate change — is going anywhere. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that this winter was the second-hottest on record, USA Today reports. Those logs extend all the way back to 1880. The most extreme cases of winter warming come from Russia, where temperatures were 12 degrees above average in some places.

Only somebody literally born yesterday could think that 1880 is "all the way back" to much of anything. Over the history of the planet -- some 4.5 billion years -- our available data accounts for an infinitesimal slice of planetary history. It would be like extrapolating the entire history of baseball statistics from a single spring-training pitch in (as it happens) 1870. And as for Russia, well... in case anybody hasn't noticed, Russia is a mighty big land mass.

One thing that provides solace to the otherwise disconsolate nutters, however, is the damage the virus is doing to the energy industry. Domestic fracking has made the U.S. energy independent, but now --

Goodbye, U.S. frackers? What the coronavirus has done, however, is to combine with an international oil price war and flawed domestic business practices to tank the U.S. fracking industry. Grist is out with a helpful explainer on how these factors are merging to expose small fossil fuel companies that are on shaky financial footing and likely to go under as prices remain in flux. The Wall Street Journal found that Texas has begun considering capping production in response.

Meanwhile...

Climate activism marches on. "Climate activists are retooling their strategy for an online existence during the coronavirus pandemic," Zack Colman with Politico reports. Instead of mass gatherings, groups led by youth activists are turning to social media and other digital tools to continue their fight.

And indeed it does. In the forefront is the United Nations, an organization originally created by the victors in World War II that has long since been hijacked by the losers, Third World thugocracies and failed states around the globe. And it's here to tell us that the planet is "way off track" in dealing with the imaginary challenge of "man-made climate change."

The planet is "way off track" in dealing with climate change, a new United Nations report says, and experts declared that climate change is a far greater threat than the coronavirus. "It is important that all the attention that needs to be given to fight this disease does not distract us from the need to defeat climate change," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, according to Agence France Presse.

Although emissions have been reduced with travel curtailed because of the virus, Guterres noted that "we will not fight climate change with a virus. Whilst the disease is expected to be temporary, climate change has been a phenomenon for many years, and and will remain with us for decades and require constant action. We count the cost in human lives and livelihoods as droughts, wildfires, floods and extreme storms take their deadly toll,” Guterres said.

The report confirmed that 2019 was the second-warmest year on record and the past decade the hottest in human history.

That last line, of course, is a lie: "human history" did not begin in 1880. But the leeches, bed-watters, and rent-seekers who have glommed onto the "anthropogenic global warming" scam in the interest of frightening the horses and lining their pockets are desperate to keep the rubes coming into the circus tent in order to be fleeced as they're shepherded toward the legendary and elusive Egress.

The Eighth Wonder of the World!

Professor Brian Hoskins of Imperial College London told the Guardian that "the report is a catalogue of weather in 2019 made more extreme by climate change, and the human misery that went with it. It points to a threat that is greater to our species than any known virus – we must not be diverted from the urgency of tackling it by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero as soon as possible."

Well, that's what all used-car salesman say -- this offer expires the minute you head for the Egress! But still, the beat goes on. One last one:

Today, all attention is on the virus. But we cannot afford to ignore another deadly threat that is upon us: the climate crisis. Time is of the essence with the climate, just as with the pandemic. Every day that we delay in taking bold action increases the seriousness of the suffering that will result. Why have nations risen to the challenge of the coronavirus so quickly, while the far more dangerous threat of climate change has failed to inspire the bold response it demands?

Possibly because rational people understand that all the hugger-mugger is bunkum, while the threat from the virus is real.

Already we face spiraling dangers from catastrophic fires, droughts, floods, storms, excessive heat, sea level rise, and huge economic losses.

Here we might note that natural disasters have always been with us -- just ask the residents of Pompeii!

There will be unprecedented mass migrations and violent conflicts following global climate disruptions.

Assuming for the moment that there are "climate disruptions," a fact not in evidence nor even defined --

On our current trajectory, our world will be terribly changed: scarred and diminished and made far less habitable. And, unlike the effects of the virus, which should lessen before too many months pass, the effects of climate change will be with us for centuries, likely growing worse with time. Even now, millions die annually just from pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, utterly dwarfing even worst-case projections of deaths from the virus.

Why haven’t we taken bold action on the climate, changing course before it is too late? Our brains simply are not wired to engage with a danger that is not acutely present. 

With that honest statement, this is as good a place to stop reading as any.

A Tale of Two Emergencies

For the last few years the peoples of the Western world have been repeatedly warned in the most frightening terms that they are facing a vast climate “emergency,” but they’ve had the greatest difficulty in keeping their eyes open when the emergency was explained to them. Worse than that, when their eyes have been opened forcibly by election campaigns, they have generally voted to reject the solution—namely, carbon taxation—proposed to them by their governments. And where there’s been a realistic choice, they’ve often rejected the governments too.

In response to this climate skepticism, Greta Thunberg, the anti-establishment protesters of Extinction Rebellion, and the woke Left have joined governments in ramping up the pressure on ordinary citizens to support extreme solutions (see below) to climate change because if we don’t, the world will end in twelve years. Even so the main public response to the protests—disrupting city centres, glueing themselves to roads, and blocking pipelines and mines—taken by the activists and tacitly supported by the authorities has been public anger and demands that they protesters be restrained and prosecuted.

It’s almost as if most of the public don’t really believe there’s a climate emergency.

Now, it’s certainly not because the public doesn’t believe in emergencies in general, or in taking them lightly when they occur, or in shrugging their shoulders and letting governments get on with coping with them. All that has become panic-shriekingly clear in the last two weeks as the Coronavirus emergency has burst into the public mind and provoked supermarket rioting across the world.  So it’s worth looking at the two emergencies and what the differences between them tell us about the politics of emergency in the wider context.

The first and most obvious difference is that whereas governments struggle to make the people care about climate change, it’s the ordinary people who are demanding faster action, more effective medical responses, and bolder intervention by governments, even limits to civil liberties, to halt the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. The former emergency has been one in which governments put pressure on the people, usually to little or no avail; the latter is one in which the people pressure the governments, sometimes having an impact either in policy or on national life.

Of course, the reason for this is not mysterious. There really is an emergency over Covid-19 (to give the virus its full official title): people are contracting the illness almost everywhere, dying in large numbers in some countries, and the numbers of both infections and deaths are increasingly daily. The Johns Hopkins Tracking Map keeps an up-to-the-minute score which currently shows 136,929 infected people and 5058 deaths worldwide. China, Italy, and Iran have suffered the most of both so far, but other countries are catching up. Europe looks like it's replacing East Asia as the worst hit region. People everywhere feel that the virus may soon come to a street near them. And as Dr. Johnson might have said, the prospect of catching a potentially fatal illness concentrates the mind wonderfully. 

That’s led in turn to a second difference: attitudes to the experts and their advice.  On climate change, experts have been elevated to a position of near-omniscience. Those who dispute the orthodox “consensus” of climate scientists, including skeptics who are themselves climate scientists, are labelled “climate deniers,” and media outlets such as the BBC and the Guardian either exclude them from the discussion or attach a “health warning” to their contributions. Debate is discouraged. Only one version of scientific truth is regarded as respectable, even though the underlying basis of science is that truth is always provisional. Something is true until it's displaced by another truth, usually one that can be demonstrated by experiment.

In the coronavirus debate, however, public concern over the imminent risks to them have led to a more skeptical attitude. Experts and the governments they advise have come under severe criticism for not seeing the warning signs of the epidemic—now classed by the World Health Organization as a pandemic—early enough and for not advising sufficiently strong measures to contain it when they realized it was happening. They cite reasons for the first failure: the Chinese government, with the World Health Organization turning a blind eye, kept the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak under wraps and allowed it to spread beneath the radars of most other nations.

The second failure—if it is one—is more complicated, and we probably won’t know the full truth about it until after the pandemic is over. There's a broad division of opinion between the experts on how to deal with a pandemic once it’s no longer “contained.” The expert view adopted by most countries (and which also sounds like commonsense to most people) is that you should pursue an active policy of “social distancing:" encouraging individual citizens to self-isolate, and banning large gatherings, closing cinemas, restaurants, and most shops, and restricting passage over borders. That will hinder the spread of the virus, even if it can't prevent it.

The other expert view, exhibited most clearly in UK policy, is that these measures won’t really work but instead will mean that mass infections are likely to "peak" all together at a particular time and to overwhelm health services when they do. We see something like that in Italy today. The UK view is that it’s better for infections to be stretched out over a time so that hospitals can cope with the several smaller “peaks” as they occur in succession. This delaying effect will also push the spread of the virus into the summer months when it’s less dangerous and a vaccine is more likely to have been developed.

Now, I don’t know which of those two theories is correct. But I do know that the UK version has been developed by expert professionals over many years of studying earlier epidemics. It wasn’t dreamed up by Dominic Cummings over lunch in Whitehall.  Other experts in the UK disagree, however, and want a more aggressive shutdown and a tougher approach to social isolation. And, understandably, they have a lot of support from a worried public.

I don't intend to decide between these two expert views. The course of the coronavirus pandemic will eventually do that. But I do conclude that when an emergency is real, experts will likely differ on how to deal with it, and the public will want to hear the arguments of both sides fairly thrashed out. If the climate emergency ever becomes real in the public mind, then the scientific consensus won’t last long. People will want answers to a lot of questions, and both climate scientists and economists who question the prevailing orthodoxy will be given a hearing.

Many other differences between these two emergencies illuminate how policy-making inevitably changes when it ceases to be theoretical and becomes a matter of hard choices. One of the important but rarely emphasized elements in the 2018 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on mitigating global warming is that it will incorporate a massive re-distribution of resources from the West to the developing world, including China. Well, a sacrifice is easy to endorse when it’s many debates away from implementation. But the hostility to China over its Chernobyl-like censorship of the rise and spread of the virus suggests that most Western countries—Trudeau's Canada perhaps excepted—won't be too keen on transferring their resources to a great power that sometimes seems to be a hostile one. Nor will they be happy to do so under the auspices of the kind of international civil servants who in WHO allowed Beijing to keep the epidemic under very non-transparent wraps. And even without these recent incentives to national self-interest, governments will be much more nervous about sending out more public money abroad when the voters are paying the kind of attention to climate policy they now give to the pandemic.

So the best question about the most important difference between the two emergencies was posed—though he thought he was answering it—by the former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, when he tweeted as follows about the coronavirus crisis:

A silver lining: Climate activists have been told again & again that people will never consent to major changes in their lifestyle. Well, Covid-19 changed all that! Once the epidemic ends, we must demonstrate that a better, green, post-capitalist lifestyle can be fun!

Good luck with that, as the saying goes. For it glosses over some very important distinctions--or perhaps I should call them inconvenient truths.  

Have people really consented to major changes in their lifestyle in the Covid-19 crisis? Sure, they’ve been prepared to accept some voluntary social isolation and to impose isolation on their reluctant neighbors because they want to be safe. And living is not a trivial part of any lifestyle. But the restrictions they accept or demand are strictly temporary. It has needed a deathly threat to persuade them to go as far as that. And the experts advising the UK government don’t think social distancing and self-isolation, either voluntary or enforced, will be fun either. In fact the reason they propose a policy depending much less on that approach is that they think people will get tired of it quite soon, after about a month, start breaking their semi-quarantine and reverse its earlier gains.

Those modest sacrifices, however, don’t begin to compare with the massive impoverishment that would follow the proposals of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to keep the rise in world temperature to 1.5 degrees between now and 2050. This would require a massive reduction in carbon emissions in the West’s economies, which in turn that would mean far higher prices of the energy that powers every aspect of our lives and working lives -- industry, agriculture, transport, communications, travel, and the kind of homes we can afford to live in. Governments have assented to this—it's an intergovernmental organization, after all—but it’s doubtful if even senior ministers have grasped what it would mean for their economies, let alone their voters.

And the IPCC report does not exactly spell it out. Advocates of Green politics and net-zero emissions policy rarely go into detail on it. And the IPCC's 2018 executive summary—turgid and verbose though it is compared to the clarity of the UK medical experts—devotes very little space to the proposed economic shutdown and none at all to what it would cost. As it writes sotto voce: “The literature on total mitigation costs of 1.5°C mitigation pathways is limited and was not assessed in this Report.”  

And that impoverished lifestyle is not for one or two months. It’s a forever thing.  If I had a more suspicious nature, I’d think Varoufakis was proposing this in revenge for what the EU, the IMF, and then ECB did to Greece.

But if not: Have fun, Yanis.

Why Is the 'Climate Change' Crew So Opposed to Clean Energy?

If you want to see how transparently phony the "environmentalist movement" is, and discern clearly what its real motives are, you need look no farther than its dedicated opposition not only to the dread "fossil fuels," but to the cleanest form of energy there is: nuclear power. Once a sign of an advanced technological civilization, and the pride of the nations that employed it -- not only the United States but France and Sweden -- nuclear power has acquired an onus that we might trace directly back to Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and the movie that cursed nuclear energy with all the power Hollywood had to muster, director James Bridges's The China Syndrome.

The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island -- the same year the movie came out -- killed nobody, and was quickly brought under control but, hyped by the American media, it caused deep unease in the American public, in part because of the word "nuclear" and its radioactive-weapons connotations.  The spectacular meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986 and the lethal accident at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, understandably exacerbated fears. But the disaster in the Ukraine was caused by typical Soviet incompetence and unreliable technology, most likely compounded by classically Soviet drunkenness; the Fukushima meltown occurred in the aftermath of a major underwater earthquake (9.0 on the Richter scale) and tsunami and had nothing to do with intrinsic technological failure or human error.

Another Three Mile Island is unlike to happen again. As the World Nuclear Association notes, citing the Department of Energy's official  report:

When the TMI-2 accident is recalled, it is often in the context of what happened on Friday and Saturday, March 30-31. The drama of the TMI-2 accident-induced fear, stress and confusion on those two days... "Because of confused telephone conversations between people uninformed about the plant's status, officials concluded that the 1,200 millirems (12 mSv) reading was an off-site reading. They also believed that another hydrogen explosion was possible, that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had ordered evacuation and that a meltdown was conceivable.

"Garbled communications reported by the media generated a debate over evacuation. Whether or not there were evacuation plans soon became academic. What happened on Friday was not a planned evacuation but a weekend exodus based not on what was actually happening at Three Mile Island but on what government officials and the media imagined might happen. On Friday confused communications created the politics of fear." (Page 50)

The Three Mile Island accident caused concerns about the possibility of radiation-induced health effects, principally cancer, in the area surrounding the plant. Because of those concerns, the Pennsylvania Department of Health for 18 years maintained a registry of more than 30,000 people who lived within five miles of Three Mile Island at the time of the accident. The state's registry was discontinued in mid 1997, without any evidence of unusual health trends in the area.

Indeed, more than a dozen major, independent health studies of the accident showed no evidence of any abnormal number of cancers around TMI years after the accident. The only detectable effect was psychological stress during and shortly after the accident.

We can see where the stress came from -- the media's garbled, confused, and inexpert early reporting, combined with its natural tendency to overhype the apocalypse at every turn. Little has changed since; indeed an irresponsible press now treats the most routine weather stories as potentially catastrophic events, for which running for the hills is the only rational response. And since all narratives need a bad guy, make Big Energy not only incompetent but malicious. As writer Andrew Tood notes in "How THE CHINA SYNDROME Brought Down The Nuclear Power Industry":

Bridges’ film doesn’t lay the blame at the foot of the technology - which, in an ideal world, would provide plentiful and accident-free energy to millions. It’s people, and institutions, that get the stick. From inspectors falsifying records to finish their job quickly, to managers reluctant to order costly repair work, to executives covering it all up to score new contracts, the nuclear industry is presented as criminally negligent at all levels. It’s even depicted as outright malicious - not entirely without cause, given foul-play theories over the death of nuclear union activist Karen Silkwood - to the extent that the company would murder multiple people to maintain its reputation.

Predictably, the nuclear industry had a fiery reaction. Westinghouse executive John Taylor described the film as “an overall character assassination of an entire industry.” Nuclear experts generally agreed that the film’s specific events were highly improbable (if not entirely impossible), but also that an inherent clash exists between earning corporate profits and spending the money required to keep reactors safe. The industry may have been correct to debate the film's finer technical points or melodramatic ending, but it’s hard to argue that unchecked capitalism doesn't encourage corner-cutting.

Those darn capitalists, who can't wait to kill their customers just because they can. But therein lies the resistance to nuclear power, carefully fanned over the ensuing decades; it's now simply assumed that nuclear = death by the climate-change activists, freeing them from having to explain their opposition to entirely clean energy. Still, the fact that the "climate change" seems not only disinterested in, but actively hostile to, clean sources of energy ought to tell you something. Maybe it's not the cleanliness, or lack therefore, of energy they object to: maybe it's energy itselfMike Shellenberger writes at Forbes:

Why is it that, from the U.S. and Canada to Spain and France, it is progressives and socialists who say they care deeply about the climate, not conservative climate skeptics, who are seeking to shut down nuclear plants? After all, the two greatest successes when it comes to nuclear energy are Sweden and France, two nations held up by democratic socialists for decades as models of the kind of societies they want. It is only nuclear energy, not solar and wind, that has radically and rapidly decarbonized energy supplies while increasing wages and growing societal wealth.

And it is only nuclear that has, by powering high-speed trains everywhere from France to Japan to China, decarbonized transportation, which is the source of about one-third of the emissions humankind creates. For many people the answer is obvious: ignorance. Few people know that nuclear is the safest source of electricity. Or that low levels of radiation are harmless. Or that nuclear waste is the best kind of waste... few things have proven worse for the climate than shutting down nuclear plants.

Ah, they say, we prefer "renewables" (boiling water, which is all nuclear power amounts to, is about as renewable as you can get). What about wind power and solar and pixie dust and unicorn farts? We might call this the pathetic fallacy, the 18th-century notion of attributing human emotions and values to inanimate objects:

Ordinary people tell pollsters they want renewables for the same reason they buy products labeled “natural”: they are in the grip of an unconscious appeal-to-nature fallacy. The appeal-to-nature fallacy is the mistaken belief that the world can be divided into “natural” and “unnatural” things, and that the former are better, safer, or cleaner than the latter.

In reality, solar farms require hundreds of times more land, an order of magnitude more mining for materials, and create hundreds of times more waste, than do nuclear plants. And wind farms kill hundreds of thousands of threatened and endangered birds, may make the hoary bat go extinct, and kill more people than nuclear plants. But because of our positive feelings toward sunlight, water and wind, which we view as more natural than uranium, many people unconsciously assume renewables are better for the environment.

But they aren't -- as investors in these chimerical solutions to a non-existent problem can attest. We're just now understanding the problems inherent in recycling wind turbines and solar panels, neither of which provide any direct power but instead simply contribute, in their meager and unreliable way, to the existing power grid. The truth is, the big-government globalists manipulating poor fools like Greta Thunberg and the members of her children's crusade are after only thing. As I wrote in this space last week, the people are the New Luddites.

Not saving the planet (George Carlin memorably skewered this absurd notion in a hilarious, scatological NSFW monologue years ago). Not creating a cleaner environment (the environment probably has never been so clean) -- because, when you get right down to it, their definition of "pollution" is... us

What they're after is simply your money, to extract it by any means necessary: by manipulating children, by frightening the next generation into thinking the End is Nigh, by trying to outlaw legal industries that have brought nothing but good things -- like heat and light! -- to humanity at a relatively small cost and with effectively zero permanent damage to an anthropomorphized planet. Using a compliant, careless, and ignorant media, they push the narrative that we and our dirty lifestyles (only in the West! The Chinese and the Indians are just... ooops) are responsible for all the ills of the world. It's time we stood up to them, and reveal them as the monsters they are to the children they are trying to frighten.

Take a good look, kids:

And have a nice day.