May 13, 2009

In an effort to play the “energy efficiency” card on opponents of oppression-via-CO2-regulation, former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist concludes a piece entitled “Global Warming Skeptics Often Own Worst Enemy” with:

Is it a good idea to obsess on global warming as a threat to human life on earth? I don’t know, but as a supporter of free-market capitalism I do know that if we can produce the same or more wealth with less energy, we should do it. And if that also helps the environment, what’s the problem?

Norquist says he supports free-market capitalism yet he resorts to the collective — that is, “if we can produce the same or more wealth with less energy, we should do it.” Who is “we,” Mr. Norquist? The government? If so, count me out of we.

Has not the 20th century entirely debunked the concept of central planning? How many more people, Mr. Norquist, must suffer and/or die to prove the folly of central planning on a societal scale.

Certainly any capitalist can determine on his own and without the assistance of bureaucrats whether energy efficiency efforts make sense. As a sop to those with central planning inclinations, however, if we are going to do anything, why not act to make energy more available and more affordable, rather than act to make it less available and less affordable.

A few more points. The potential gains of energy efficiency on a societal basis have been way oversold and there is no reason to believe that will change any time soon.

Also, Mr. Norquist, perhaps you’ve heard about the problems with the compact fluorescent lightbulbs you seem to embrace? You know: they are expensive, provide inferior light, aren’t reliable, may be dangerous and are definitely a hassle if broken, come from China (as opposed to incandescent bulbs from Kentucky), pose quite a health risk to Chinese factory workers and, in all likelihood, provide no environmental benefits whatsoever.

As far as your penchant for smart growth, Mr. Norquist, you may want to live in a “compact” community, but count me and many Americans out. We like our spacious homes and yards, and the comfort, convenience and freedoms afforded by automobiles, cheap gas and roads. We don’t want our lives circumscribed and rationed by the pestilence that is meddlesome government.

Finally, how is anything that the green movement wants to do, particularly with respect to greenhouse gases, going to help the environment? I’ve worked on environmental issues for 20 years and have yet to be so enlightened. As far as I can tell, societal wealth is what makes for a clean environment. As the greens want to make us poorer, be assured that the quality of our environment will suffer if they succeed.

No stop signs. No speed limits. John Norquist would put us on the highway to:

Green Hell JACKET.indd

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