By H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
In the face of unbearable human tragedy around the world, children starving, women and children being bombed, homes and businesses without power, climate scolds continue to insist climate change is the most important danger the world faces.
With pictures streaming daily out of Africa and Ukraine showing grossly malnourished and starving children as well as leveled cities, callous Biden administration officials, environmental reporters, and researchers are more concerned about continuing the flow of research dollars than saving human lives. What’s more, they continue to insist governments focus their attention on preventing hypothetical future climate harms, rather than present humanitarian crises.
People are starving in Africa today. People are being killed by Russia’s unconscionable actions in the Ukraine as I write. Yet, misanthropic climate alarmists are concerned temperatures might be a little bit hotter 10, 30, 50 or 100 years from now—and insist working to prevent the latter should be the main focus of government efforts. They decry the fact that war and lack of food is diverting attention away from the purported climate crisis.
Proof of this heartless inattention to very real human suffering by climate obsessives arises almost daily, promoted by the corporate media no less. Just a few days before Vladimir Putin launched his deadly invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, bemoaned on BBC news the effect the war would have, not on people, but on peoples’ focus on climate change, saying:
But it [the war] could have a profound negative impact on the climate obviously. You have a war and obviously you’re going to have massive emissions consequences to the war. But equally importantly, you’re going to lose people’s focus, you’re going to lose certainly big country attention because they will be diverted and I think it could have a damaging impact. . . .”
Kerry then expressed the hope that Putin would remain focused on climate change, regardless of any actions he took in Ukraine. Kerry’s statements were both clueless and vile.
I and others at The Heartland Institute have previously detailed how Europe’s and America’s energy policies, and their dependence on Russian oil and natural gas, were contributing factors to the war in Ukraine as well as global food shortages and price hikes.
Biden surely recognized at least part of the problem and signed an agreement to ship U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe to supplant the loss of Russian gas supplies. The reaction from the progressive climate left was predictable, perhaps exemplified best by an article in The Hill, titled “LNG exports will add to climate change.” The authors of the article warn of the increased greenhouse gas emissions from the production of natural gas, and the added infrastructure, pipelines, shipping terminals, etc., from ramping up U.S. LNG production and shipping it to help Europe out of its energy crisis.
Rather than helping Europeans heat their homes, cook, and run their lights on U.S. natural gas, the academics behind this article say, in effect, let Europeans’ heat pumps, electric appliances run on wind turbines and solar panels. Of course, this call for electrifying Europe with renewable power is disingenuous, and the writers know it. Europe is far ahead of every other region on Earth in the use of wind and solar power, which, as wind and solar have failed spectacularly in recent months, has contributed to the trading bloc’s energy woes.
Never fear, climate harpies, Biden got the message. Even as he was talking the talk of helping our European allies with LNG, his administration was putting in place new rules to make the proposed expansion of gas development and shipments nearly impossible. Just a week after saying he would expand LNG exports to Europe, Biden rescinded Trump-era National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations allowing the expedited construction of critical infrastructure. Biden’s NEPA rules virtually guarantee no new gas pipelines or LNG shipping terminals or associated infrastructure can be built. So much for sticking it to Putin and helping Europe.
Then there is the food crisis. People, thousands of them, many children, are not just going hungry but starving to death daily.
“More than 13 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia already are experiencing extreme hunger, according to a recent report from humanitarian aid organization Mercy Corps,” writes the Scientific American (SA). “Humanity now is feeling the rumblings of a ‘seismic hunger crisis,’ the World Food Programme warned earlier this month.”
Based on these facts, if you thought the SA article was a clarion call for countries to do whatever was necessary to immediately reverse this humanitarian crisis, you’d be wrong. The title of the article says everything you need to know about SA’s true concern, “Responses to Rising Hunger Could Threaten Climate Goals European.” The article goes on to decry the fact that “policy makers are considering easing environmental protection measures to allow for increased crop production.” Imagine the temerity of Europe considering allowing an increase in crop production to save lives today, despite climate models projecting modestly rising sea levels in the future; the horror of it!
Never fear, in America, we are much more sensible. Despite rapidly rising food prices and often empty store shelves, the Biden administration seems unwilling to pause its inane attempt to control future weather in order to enhance food security. So far, despite pleas from members of Congress and farm groups, the U.S. Agriculture Department has thus far refused to grant waivers to allow the import of fertilizer or to allow farmers to farm on fallow fields enrolled in the Conservation and Wetlands Reserve programs. The crop season has begun, people are starving, prices are higher, and the Biden administration fiddles as the world’s food supply is figuratively burning.
Peoples around the world face many more immediate, pressing, and deadly problems than climate change. That is an indisputable fact. It’s immoral and inhumane for the media to keep giving climate alarmists a platform to claim otherwise.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.