Sorry About the Cold, It’s for the Planet

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Humans go without heat in the quest for energy efficiency

As China has rapidly industrialized in the last few decades, it’s taken no small amount of abuse from environmentalists and climate change activists over the amount of energy it has consumed and the consequent carbon emissions it has produced. But apparently the cries of Western intellectuals for reduced energy consumption have not gone completely unheeded in China.

In the past year, the Chinese government has closed numerous small coal-fired power plants around the country in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately for the people of the small city of Linzhou, one of these power plants was used to heat their homes. “It’s all for a good cause,” their local Communist party official reassures them.

At a time of year when temperatures are consistently “around -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit),” this lack of heating has led to no small amount of hardship, with many people relying on small electric heaters to stave off the cold.

But such things do not concern climate crusaders. Projections of widespread human suffering due to global warming are the chief justification for nearly every political action to limit CO2, increase energy efficiency, or encourage alternative energy. But when these actions fill a city with shivering people, it is deemed either irrelevant or an acceptable sacrifice.

This example illustrates the rarely-identified motive of the environmentalist campaign for government-mandated climate change restrictions: to achieve an arbitrarily-defined “good of the planet,” no matter the cost to individual people.

In a Fox News article, Alex Epstein draws the apt comparison of the green movement to another prominent ideology of the last century, one that devastated an entire hemisphere for decades:

Just as 20th-century socialists savaged capitalism for all the world’s ills and offered worthless “five-year plans” as a replacement, so today’s environmentalists savage industrial energy and offer us “green energy plans” that they assure us will work—once we give them the power to forbid everything else that has already been proven to work.

Soviet central planning demonstrated the end result of an ideology that declared the well-being of an individual to be subordinate to that of his neighbors and future generations. Likewise, we’re now witnessing the end result of an ideology that declares that human well-being as such is subordinate to that of the planet.

Posted by on February 21, 2011. Filed under Culture, Winter 2010-11. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry