By Christopher Monckton
At SPPI’s blog, we are happy to answer questions from time to time about the science and public policy of climate.
Dear Lord Monckton – What is your response to the view that the combination of peak oil and the unstable cauldron of the Middle East, which is now spreading to Pakistan, is so potentially dangerous as to warrant an accelerated shift to alternative, non-oil sources of energy irrespective of climate change? – An enquirer.
Dear Enquirer, – First and foremost, one should not take public-policy decisions for reasons that are not founded in truth. Those who have (as we now know) fabricated the case for anthropogenic “global warming” have now lost the argument with the general public, notwithstanding the funding ratio of 50,000:1 in favour of alarmists. So they have a number of fall-back positions: ocean acidification (even more nonsensical than “global warming”), and the position you are inviting me to comment upon.
I should be delighted if I could be confident that our present leaders were doing as China is doing: quietly and competently going around the world securing exclusive access to valuable natural resources, while we focus on shutting down our economies and inflicting upon ourselves, selectively, the highest tax increase in human history – cap and tax – in the specious name of Saving The Planet.
China has recently secured exclusive rights over the largest iron-ore deposits in the world, in Gabon. Using nothing more than a rickety, rented drilling-rig and considerable negotiating skill, she has found a trillion barrels of oil in northern Iraq and has secured exclusive rights both from the Kurdish local administration and from the Baghdad government.
And what do we do? Ban oil-drilling off the US coast on specious environmental grounds, compelling those who want to find indigenous oil to take it from tar sands – a messy business. Also on specious environmental grounds, it has proven impossible to build a simple gas-pipeline from the North Slope of Alaska to an ice-free port such as Anchorage, so that enough natural gas to supply the whole of Western Europe is flared off daily.
Furthermore, the sour, sullen refusal of the environmental movement to countenance development of badly-needed fossil-fueled and nuclear-fueled power stations in the US and elsewhere is leading to the gradual collapse of heavy industries in the West, so that manufacturing that might have been done here, where regulation is sensible and effective, is transferred to places like China and India, where the pollution emissions per unit of production are many times higher than in the West, with the consequent loss of income and jobs. The sheer stupidity of this policy is self-evident.
Until the environmental movement disentangles itself from the international marxist Left, it will continue to resist sensible resource development. I am uneasy, therefore, at your suggestion that we should pursue the economically-destructive, climatically-irrelevant, scientifically-illiterate, mathematically-innumerate policies advocated by lavishly-funded, self-serving pressure groups closely in league with today’s worldwide governing class.
When and if the price of oil or coal or gas rises high enough to warrant the development of alternative fuels, the market will take care of the problem. The history of State intervention to try to pick future winners shows that only a lunatic would expect to succeed by going down that route.