Guest opinion by Robert McCarter
This is an apology to all those commentators over the years who pronounced on the underlying Marxism in the debate over climate change. I am a scientist by training and have tried my best not to sully the argument with politics, when commentary turned to ‘watermelons’ I turned to another article. Naively I thought the argument would be settled by data not dogmatism.
I recently attended a seminar given by a professor emeritus from UBC on ‘Global Population, Growth and Sustainable Development’, with an introduction by Rex Wyler co-founder of Greenpeace International. Sure that was a clue I was entering the dark lands, but my training make me want to cut out the middlemen and see things for myself.
The softening up started with the idea of social constructs that were artificial and could be replaced with ‘truer’ constructs, as an example the anthropogenic climate change construct that is ‘truer’ than the climate denial construct.
Then came the ‘ain’t is awful’ exponential population graphs, collapsing resource graphs, overflowing carrying capacity graphs and the de rigueur CO2 graph that I can summarize as ‘we’re all doomed’. Note that the population graphs only showed a global trend, and did not display how wealthy nations are getting their populations in order and limiting their growth rates such that increases are largely dependent on immigration. When reminded of this, the lecturer quickly dismissed it – ‘wealthy people are more selfish and do not want to share their wealth with their young’.
What followed was a litany of doom and gloom, how terrible things are now (longevity increasing?, health improving?, poverty decreasing?), that fracking fracking and don’t expect Elon Musk to come to the rescue (I finally agreed with something) with his electric cars and semis and emigration to more hospitable Mars – not a mention of the possible benefits of GMOs (Greenpeace after all), greenhouse greening or small modular reactors. The lecturer implied that billionaires were greedy and did little to share, ignoring that billionaires invest their money and only get a proportion of the great wealth that they create for others.
Having sufficiently depressed the audience it was time for the reveal. We are not doomed if only we change those arbitrary social constructs like capitalism. Roll back your expectations by 75%, have your governments share your wealth with the poor of the world. Hmmm he seemed to have missed the ‘give a man a fish … teach a man to fish …’ proverb. How about Cicero’s “It is human nature that what starts as gratitude, becomes dependency and ends as entitlement.”
But of course he was concerned about all of those extra resources being squandered on the hoi palloi – I get it now!
So having had doubt about climate change being a political rather than scientific problem I am now a bit wiser. Here is another guise for the Marxists, the warmunista peddling their bureaucracy controlled, idealistic sharing in a world driven by more basic motives like if ‘I work harder I gain more’. Sure capitalism has problems and has created problems but it has also created solutions. Our skies are clearer, our water safer, energy more abundant, wildlife is more protected and the future has potential for those willing to work.
ps As a Canadian I apologize for Naomi Kline.