A “deep and bleak” world


This entry is about one green journalist – and every green journalist.

Susan Ager is a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, who, like most in her profession, has adopted global warming as a moral cause. Unlike Sharon Begley of Newsweek or Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, she is not an ideologue. But the issue worries her, and she occasionally devotes her column to the subject. “I turned our thermostat down” and “you can measure your energy footprint” are among the green homilies she spins in a March 20 column advising her readers to see Al Gore’s movie and live green.

“The situation is not hopeless. But it is urgent. Our earth is ill and only we can save her,” she concludes. But, like most journalists, her religion is utterly at odds with the life she leads.

In her column this Sunday, Ager did not write about the environment – she wrote instead about the thing dearest to her life: Her family. But the column told more about the futility – and ignorance – of the green movement than any warming skeptic could.

“Katie lives in Nebraska. Her parents are traveling for two weeks in China. Her Michigan grandparents – I’m one of them – are baby-sitting,” writes Ager in a touching column about how modern technology can unite even the most far-flung families.

But without industrialization – and its inherent CO2 byproduct – the conveniences Ager glorifies would be so much science fiction. What Ager – and most media – fail to grasp is that cheap energy, what Julian Simon called “the master resource,” is one of man’s gifts – not something to be ridiculed and restricted and condemned as a danger to the planet.

Think of it.

Thanks to cheap jet fuel, Katie’s parents can affordably travel thousands of miles to see the wonders of China. Thanks to China’s economic miracle, fueled by cheap coal, it is a country worth seeing – a Third World nightmare no more. Thanks to carbon fuels, Ager can travel easily and cheaply to Nebraska to visit her grandchild. In a home. Fueled by a giant power plant. And thanks to cheap energy, huge computer network servers power the computer that Ager and Katie sit down to every night to keep in touch with Katie’s parents using Skype, a free Internet phone software program.

Ager is Al Gore’s worst nightmare. She just doesn’t know it.

The technologies she takes for granted are the result of extraordinary engineering backed by vast resources of affordable, carbon-based fuels. In the last 50 years, they have made the United States the most advanced nation on earth, increasing our “energy footprint” 80 percent in the process. Now, the Green Movement wants to turn back the clock – to reduce U.S. CO2 emissions by that same 80 percent in the next 40 years and bring economic progress to a screeching halt.

Like many religions, Green celebrates austerity. It celebrates a world without material things. It celebrates pre-industrial man.

“I can’t imagine how deep and bleak separation felt 150 years ago when you kissed a cheek goodbye and knew you’d know nothing of someone’s adventures for a month,” writes Ager in her column. Ironically, the green revolution Ager advocates would plunge much of the globe back to those deep and bleak days.


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