Mummifying the economy to save the planet
Climate activists and government officials will gather in Scotland in November to chat about how to fight climate change, and setting aside how many tons of CO2 such a confab will generate, the bug question is how will the world ever meet the greens’ carbon reduction targets?
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bjorn Lomborg says the only way to meet those draconian reductions is through extraordinary means. In part, that’s because fossil fuels still account for the overwhelming majority of global energy production and use. And even if government promises to cut emissions in half, or more in the coming years, oil and gas will still dominate.
How to overcome this reality? It would take a lot of pain:
Cutting fossil fuels as quickly as some environmentalists want will be tremendously difficult. In 2020 pandemic lockdowns forced the world to cut carbon emissions significantly. But to fulfill the Paris climate accords completely, the United Nations says that global emissions would have to plunge even further every year for the rest of the decade. In 2021 emissions would have to drop by more than double the lockdown-induced decline. By the end of 2030, they’d have to have fallen by 11 times what they did in 2020. Not exactly realistic.
A decade of lockdown-style economics? No thanks. Instead of trying to reach government-assigned targets, let the market (which is people) do what it does best: innovate and overcome. If some insist on retreating from modernity entirely in order to save the planet (and salve their consciences), they are perfectly free do so.