November 4, 2022 Reading Time: 4 minutes
Reprinted from RealClearMarkets

In 2008 Nigel Lawson published An Appeal To Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming. The Tory radical who served as Margaret Thatcher’s Chancellor of the Exchequer was promptly attacked for having the temerity to write about the theory of global warming absent scientific credentials.

Lawson thankfully didn’t cower amid the arrows directed his way. Instead, Lawson responded that he would cease talking about global warming as soon as other non-scientists like Al Gore, Tony Blair, and other self-serious hysterics did the same. Brilliant!

As readers surely know, the Al Gores of the world never took Lawson up on his offer. The non-scientist in Gore continues to express alarm about “global warming,” and he continues to attack those who disagree with him.

Indeed, Gore recently went after David Malpass, president of the World Bank. Gore described Malpass as a “climate denier,” only for the World Bank head to be asked his views on whether or not human progress is the cause of a warming planet. Malpass’s response was, “I’m not a scientist.”

Please think about Malpass’s response, along with the vitriol directed at Lawson fourteen years ago. For writing a book about so-called “global warming” without scientific credentials, Lawson was demonized.

In which case, Malpass’s response to the question was seemingly the correct one for the warming nail-biters in our midst. Not a scientist, Malpass would leave the question of warming to the scientists. Gore et al should have been thrilled, except that Malpass’s response actually brought on more frothing at the mouth from warming’s religionists.

Applied to Lawson, it’s all a reminder that warmists really don’t care about one’s scientific credentials so long as the individual being asked about a warming planet is answering the questions the right way. Translated, you can be a dog-catcher and comment about global warming so long as you conclude that human progress born of fossil fuel consumption is the cause.

It’s all a reminder of how very surface is the embrace of “science” by warmists. Call “science” their shield. In contending that “97% of scientists believe” life defined by much greater health and exponentially greater living standards has a “warming” downside, the warmists in their delusional minds feel as though they have immunity from reasonable discussion. They’re twice incorrect.

For one, arguably the surest sign you’re in the presence of “scientists” is if they’re arguing. In which case this laughable notion that scientists near monolithically believe as warming mouth breathers do near totally ignores just how much scientists debate everything. The previous truth further reminds us that it’s not science without the doubt.

From there, we just have to be reasonable. We have to stop and think about what life was like before the discovery that planet earth had immense and seemingly endless amounts of oil, coal and surely other commodities that provide us with power. Life before uses were discovered for the earth’s plenty was nothing short of brutal.

As Alex Epstein reminds us in Fossil Future, death from extreme cold was the annual norm, and actually much greater than deaths that resulted from extreme heat. There was also the problem of highly limited drinking water that was actually potable. After which, much of life was defined by an endless pursuit of food in quantities never sufficient to feed us. An “extra mouth to feed” used to be a very real worry, versus today when eating is taken for granted.

How did we get here? Fossil fuels, plain and simple. That’s the case because the fuels powered the various machines that freed us humans to increasingly specialize our work. Thanks to the mechanization of so much that was formerly done by human hands, the human beings that populate the world were more and more able to fulfill their specialized potential. In other words, a local and eventually global division of labor revealed itself on the way to staggering abundance that those who lived in a pre-fossil fuel past could never imagine.

In the words of Epstein, “climate mastery” born of incredibly sophisticated global symmetry meant that people had the means to heat their surroundings when it was bitterly cold, and cool their surroundings when it was brutally hot. Clean water was plentiful such that the world’s population could – yes – greatly reduce consumption of liquids with alcohol in it. And then houses and buildings could be built in rapid fashion that would similarly protect us from an “environment” that wasn’t always kind.

Crucial about these advances that were and are a direct consequence of machines, the ever-widening global division of labor that I write about in my new book The Money “Confusion has given the world both the means to care about planet earth along with more and more specialized time to pursue the energy of the future. Will tomorrow’s energy replace oil and coal? It’s impossible to say. But what can be said with certainty is that without an advanced society that’s a direct consequence of fossil-fuel consumption, we would never have the means to pursue oil’s replacement; assuming there is one.

Back to Malpass, it’s not just that his knuckle-dragging critics want it both ways in criticizing his true admission that he’s not a scientist. That’s just politics. What’s really sad is that global warming fanatics can’t see that the very human progress they disdain (and that they couldn’t live happily without) is what sets the stage for even better care of the planet they claim to want to save. And it doesn’t take a scientist to understand what the warmists do not.

John Tamny


John Tamny, research fellow of AIER, is editor of RealClearMarkets.

His book on current ideological trends is: They Are Both Wrong (AIER, 2019)

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