Former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s famous axiom is that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. It’s an even worse thing to manufacture.
Although President-elect Joe Biden obviously disagrees. Creating an unwarranted sense of drama and urgency around climate change is central to his approach, in order to catalyze action unsupported by the facts or common sense.
In announcing his climate and energy team the other day, Biden declared climate change a crisis requiring a “unified national response.” Going even further, he called it “an existential threat of our time,” a frankly preposterous claim if taken literally, or even seriously.
To maintain that increasing global temperatures are a threat to human existence itself entails believing that human beings — an endlessly adaptive species that has dramatically increased its own lifespans over the past century — will be snuffed out if the planet gets a few degrees hotter.
If the worst comes and sea levels rise significantly, we won’t move away from the coasts and find better ways to control flooding. If summers get much hotter in places unaccustomed to it, we won’t invest more in air conditioning. If droughts markedly increase, we won’t husband our water resources more intelligently. If some areas become uninhabitable, we won’t leave for more hospitable climes.
No, a humanity that is wealthier and more technologically proficient than ever will be content to expose itself to the worst depredations of nature that it has done so much to master over the past millennium.
This is a laughable account of how the world works. The globe has been getting warmer for decades now, with no adverse effects on human population or longevity. Heck, even polar bears, once held out as the pitiable victims of global warming, aren’t being driven to extinction.