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Monday, Oct 20, 2014

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

Sacrificing Africa to warmist theology

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You might think, having devoted the better part of an entire page to arguments about humanity’s influence on climate change, there was nothing more to say or write on the topic. In fact, spirited and informative as it was, what Joe Henderson and I presented was only a highlight reel on AGW — anthropogenic global warming — and it wasn’t even a particularly comprehensive one at that.

Crossing The Right Stuff’s path Monday were two extremely important reads on the current state of AGW, one by lefty social scientist Caleb Rossiter, published in the Wall Street Journal, the other — which merits its own post — a recent contribution by Nigel Lawson to the UK “Standpoint,” reposted at National Review Online. Each merits the attention even of — especially of — those who worship in the Church of AGW.

Caleb Rossiter, director of the American Exceptionalism Media Project and an adjunct professor at American University, blisters warmists for giving their anti-carbon agenda precedence over economic growth policies in the developing world, principally Africa.

“[I]t is as an Africanist, rather than a statistician, that I object most strongly to ‘climate justice.’ Where is the justice for Africans when universities divest from energy companies and thus weaken their ability to explore for resources in Africa? Where is the justice when the U.S. discourages World Bank funding for electricity-generation projects in Africa that involve fossil fuels, and when the European Union places a ‘global warming’ tax on cargo flights importing perishable African goods? Even if the wildest claims about the current impact of fossil fuels on the environment and the models predicting the future impact all prove true and accurate, Africa should be exempted from global restraints as it seeks to modernize.

“With 15 percent of the world’s people, Africa produces less than 5 percent of carbon-dioxide emissions. With 4 percent of global population, America produces 25 percent of these emissions. In other words, each American accounts for 20 times the emissions of each African. We are not rationing our electricity. Why should Africa, which needs electricity for the sort of income-producing enterprises and infrastructure that help improve life expectancy? The average in Africa is 59 years — in America it’s 79. Increased access to electricity was crucial in China’s growth, which raised life expectancy to 75 today from 59 in 1968.

“According to the World Bank, 24 percent of Africans have access to electricity and the typical business loses power for 56 days each year. Faced with unreliable power, businesses turn to diesel generators, which are three times as expensive as the electricity grid. Diesel also produces black soot, a respiratory health hazard. By comparison, bringing more-reliable electricity to more Africans would power the cleaning of water in villages, where much of the population still lives, and replace wood and dung fires as the source of heat and lighting in shacks and huts, removing major sources of disease and death. In the cities, reliable electricity would encourage businesses to invest and reinvest rather than send their profits abroad.”

Rossiter slams proponents of unreliable and expensive “renewables” as being purposefully, needlessly and heartlessly hostile to Africa’s industrial ambitions, simply to satisfy their extreme policy goals, using — as John Feffer, his Institute for Policy Studies colleague, wrote for the Huffington Post on Dec. 8, 2009: The “ climate crisis [is] precisely the giant lever with which we can, following Archimedes, move the world in a greener, more equitable direction.”

Rossiter’s piece partners well with Lawson’s, both assisting the reader’s understanding of what’s at stake as we wrestle over the facts, potential outcomes and best, most reasonable responses to what, increasingly, has taken on the worst aspects of a religious movement.

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