In Defense of Air Conditioning! and Other Important Matters
July 6, 2021 (EIRNS)—Environmental activist Michael Shellenberger, who opposes the “climate emergency,” turns on its head the argument of “journalists, experts, and elected officials” who blaming anthropogenic climate change for heat wave deaths, forest fires, and electricity shortages in New York, California, and Texas. The “underlying cause of those events is lack of air conditioning, lack of electricity, and the failure to properly manage forests, not marginal changes to temperatures,” he asserts.
Take the case of air conditioning. Access to air conditioning, or the lack thereof, is what determines if people die in heat waves or not, Shellenberger points out. “Proof of that comes from the fact that heat-related deaths declined in the U.S. by 50% to 75% since 1960 thanks entirely to air conditioning, even as heat waves grew in frequency and length.”
Schellenberger cites two examples of the climate maenads’ war against air conditioning: a 2018 New York Times article whose headline threatens: “The World Wants Air-Conditioning. That Could Warm the World,” and the piece of royal sophistry issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in March 2021, which screeches that “skyrocketing cooling demand in India may also worsen the country’s health risks from dangerous air pollution, extreme heat, and climate change.” Indians who fought back were told that India would be allowed air conditioning, provided it relies on more on “renewables” (better called “interruptibles”), the trick identified by Shellenberger as the way the NRDC and its ilk “seek to slow the spread and use of air conditioning ... by making electricity more expensive, either directly, through energy taxes or carbon taxes, or indirectly, through regulations or subsidies for the use of renewables.”
His conclusion: “Apocalyptic environmentalists may be right that human civilization is unsustainable. But if they are, it won’t be because we can’t generate cheap and reliable electricity, manage our forests, or adapt to climate change. Rather, if human civilization turns out to be unsustainable, it will be because apocalyptic environmentalists didn’t want it to be.”