Challenging the Green Tyranny

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Challenging the Green Tyranny

According to former vice-president Al Gore, “If we continue to make the climate crisis worse day after day after day without immediate and decisive action, favorable conditions on Earth could become a memory.”1

However, the truth is that while the most authoritative, mainstream scientific predictions envision some serious, undesirable changes in some places, the situation hardly represents the dystopia of Gore’s imagination.

As a result, even as the greens have yelled that “the sky is falling,” pro-market decisionmakers have plugged their ears not only to these exaggerations, but all too often to an objective assessment of the available facts.

As a result, we’ve had a political tug of war that has been bad for the economy.

As we’ve explained in Trends (and in our book, Ride the Wave), green alarmism could have been more effectively countered with fact-based arguments and with constructive policy alternatives.2

Fortunately, the “limits to growth paradigm” that emerged in the 1970s has been consistently refuted. As a result, the emerging response is to embrace scientific insights validated by available knowledge, and address them with technology-driven, market-based alternatives to the centralized planning solutions that progressives favor.


What is driving this change? Just as with communism, time has brought the failures of environmental irrationality to the forefront for everyone to see.

Consider the facts.

First, we know that greenhouse gases absorb and redirect longer wavelength radiation, but not shorter wavelength radiation. When radiation from the sun hits the Earth—some of which is absorbed by the land and the sea—it is consequently warmed by the energy.

Then, when the Earth re-emits the sun’s radiation in the form of heat, it is disproportionately the lower-energy, longer wavelength sort that the greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) trap or send back to earth. Thus, more carbon-dioxide emissions lead to a hotter planet. How much hotter is a complicated question that has been the subject of intense scientific inquiry over the past several decades.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) produced its fifth and most recent Assessment Report, known as AR5, in 2014.3 According to AR5, without significant interventions to reduce emissions, global temperatures will rise on the order of two degrees Celsius by the end of the century in moderate emissions scenarios, and closer to four degrees in the most aggressive emissions scenarios.

Notably, since 1997, all IPCC forecasts have failed miserably to correlate atmospheric CO2 with rising temperature...

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