The Merchants of Misery — a.k.a., climate scientists — are working overtime to shame you about all the pleasures you’re enjoying this summer and how your selfish indulgences will cause the planet’s demise. Grilling your favorite cheeseburger? Glutton! Packing up your brood for a drive to the lake house? Monster! Hoping vacation sex will result in a new baby to add to the family? Hedonist! Even mowing your lawn earns a tsk-tsk.
A study from Sweden’s Lund University published July 12 lists many of the sacrifices you should make to reduce your carbon footprint. Most of the media coverage — and criticism — focused on the study’s recommendation to have one fewer child (as the mother of two teen girls, I have my own irrational reasons for sharing that same advice right now, but I digress).
Not only did the researchers consider more than three dozen scientific papers to compile their list, they also reviewed a handful of school textbooks and government publications to see whether the ruling class in Canada, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. was appropriately indoctrinating the masses, particularly young people, about which “high-impact actions” will most effectively reverse global warming. But apparently, public authorities are falling short of that goal. (This will come as a surprise to anyone with school-age children, who are routinely admonished, in every subject from science to health class, about the dangers of manmade climate change.) “Textbooks overwhelmingly focused on moderate or low-impact actions, with our recommended actions mostly presented in a less effective form, or not at all,” the researchers found. “No textbook suggested having fewer children as a way to reduce emissions.” *Hint hint, McGraw-Hill*
The one-less-child policy was just one example of the study’s absurdity. Other suggestions include eating a plant-based diet, living car-free, and avoiding air travel. The paper also ranks other “low-impact” recommendations made in government guides and textbooks, such as keeping backyard chickens, letting your lawn grow longer, and hanging your clothes outside to dry. Thankfully, pet owners get a pass for now: “We originally hypothesized that two additional actions, not owning a dog and purchasing green energy, would also fit our criteria for recommended high-impact actions, but found both to be of questionable merit.”
So your life, according to the Merchants of Misery, should look something like this: stuck at home without a car, washing laundry in cold water and then clipping it on a clothesline while chasing down chickens and preparing locally grown vegetables for dinner. It’ll be just like Little House on the Prairie!
As if on cue, another study issued the following week warns about the price that extra child will pay should you be foolish and selfish enough to have one. James Hansen, known as the “father of climate-change awareness,” is the lead author of a paper published July 18 entitled, “Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions.” It’s not now sufficient to just limit CO2, we now need to remove it from the atmosphere: “Such targets now require ‘negative emissions,’ i.e., extraction of CO2 from the air.” “Continued high fossil-fuel emissions today place a burden on young people to undertake massive technological CO2 extraction if they are to limit climate change and its consequences,” the study’s authors conclude.
Hansen et al. claim that if we don’t proceed with a “phasedown” of fossil-fuel use, our children will need technologies to extract CO2 from the atmosphere. That will “have minimal estimated costs of $89–$535 trillion this century and also have large risks and uncertain feasibility,” they say. “Continued high fossil-fuel emissions unarguably sentences young people to either a massive, implausible cleanup or growing deleterious climate impacts or both.”
Your life should look something like this: stuck at home without a car, washing laundry in cold water then clipping it on a clothesline while chasing down chickens and preparing locally grown vegetables for dinner. It’ll be just like Little House on the Prairie!
Hansen’s continued activism on climate and his growing hysteria about the future have nothing to do with staying relevant and everything to do with the children, of course. His latest study is intended to support a lawsuit he enjoined that was filed in 2015 by nearly two dozen young people, including his granddaughter, to sue the federal government over climate change. The lawsuit, Juliana et al. v. U.S. et al., claims that due to “the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.” A trial date has been set for February 2018.
During a hearing last fall, Hansen told a U.S. district-court judge that “this lawsuit is made necessary by the at-best schizophrenic, if not suicidal nature of U.S. climate and energy policy.”
If you think that the Merchants of Misery have a preoccupation with death, you might be right. Now a few of them are just waiting (hoping?) for so-called climate deniers to die so they can get on with their misery message unchallenged. Here’s what climate catastrophist Bill Nye, aka The Science Guy, told the L.A. Times last week:
Climate-change deniers, by way of example, are older. It’s generational. So we’re just going to have to wait for those people to “age out,” as they say. “Age out” is a euphemism for “die.” But it’ll happen, I guarantee you — that’ll happen.
People are guaranteed to die — hey, science!
So while most of us are enjoying the fleeting delights of summer, the Merchants of Misery are ratcheting up their message of death, doom, and sacrifice. No wonder people are tuning them out.
— Julie Kelly is a writer from Orland Park, Ill.