STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Why “climate change deniers” are better for the environment than politicians
By Joe Jarvis - March 08, 2019

Skeptics of human-caused climate change are more environmentally conscious than people who believe climate change is undeniably caused by human action.

A study last year found that climate change skeptics were more likely than the most ardent believers to adjust personal behavior to be more environmentally conscious.

“Belief in climate change predicted support for government policies to combat climate change, but did not generally translate to individual-level, self-reported pro-environmental behavior,” said the paper.

So they want the government to step in and force people to reduce their “carbon footprint,” but they aren’t willing to simply make those changes in their own lives. It’s the selfish attitude, why should I sacrifice if everyone else isn’t going to?

Except that normal people already treat their environment well, even as they are skeptical of how big the crisis really is, and what exactly caused it.

Meanwhile, climate change zealots aren’t doing their fair share to be environmentally conscious.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proves this point.

There are few details about her “Green New Deal,” just general goals like achieving “net-zero” carbon emissions.

But when confronted with easy “green” choices, she simply didn’t care enough to walk the walk.

  • Her campaign used Ubers over 1,000 times, instead of the more efficient subway (which was a one minute walk from her apartment).
  • The campaign used Amtrak 18 times (high-speed rail is a cornerstone of the Green New Deal’s goal to cut emissions from vehicles) and airlines 66 times during the campaign.
  • Her Cheif-of-Staff still eats hamburgers, despite criticism of “cow farts” leading to greenhouse gas emissions.

In response to these criticisms, AOC said, “Living in the world as it is isn’t an argument against working towards a better future.”

And that’s true. But it doesn’t address the fact that individuals already have the power to create that better future, one decision at a time.

I work from home, which cuts my commute to zero carbon emissions. AOC flies back and forth from DC to NYC–which also means renting, heating, and cooling two apartments.

One of the tenets of the Green New Deal is carbon capture via planting new trees. While building a food forest, I’ve planted 15 trees over the past three years (11 lived). I wonder how many AOC has planted?

And I’m not even criticizing people who don’t go out of their way to be green. I am simply saying that “living in the world,” is not an excuse to be a hypocrite.

Instead of forcing others to change, make the changes yourself. That has more impact and is more likely to catch on–leading by example.

Her solution is to use authoritarian government to force the world to become greener. (Of course, crazy aggressive government actions like that couldn’t be a cover for a simple power grab… and never have unintended consequences…)

Meanwhile, real progress is being made without government intervention:

  • Trader Joe’s will phase out plastics after a customer petition. So a boycott worked, and you didn’t need authoritarian plastic bans… just individuals choosing to vote with their dollars.
  • A man has raised millions from the private sector for ocean cleanup. He prefers to exclude government funding because entrepreneurship is faster and more effective.
  • Free market carbon sequestration, that also creates food and could allow for experiments in government, is happening via seasteading.
  • Just legalizing marijuana (and industrial hemp) could go a long way to providing cheap sustainable products like fuels, paper, plastic alternatives, and food … See what freedom can accomplish?

Meanwhile, governments often disincentivize “green” options, like North Carolina proposing to force registration of bicycles at the DMV.

Then there’s the US military being one of the single biggest polluters on earth.

Of course, like many, I have my well-founded suspicions about the true motives behind most climate change legislation. But how untrustworthy these politicians are is beside the point.

Even if they had the best intentions, this type of government overreach will have horrible effects on the economy, and severely restrict the freedom of individuals to live their lives as they see fit, without harming anyone.

Collectivization never works. It leads to the tragedy of the commons… someone else can pick up the slack… it’s someone else’s responsibility.

Meanwhile, personal responsibility WORKS. You make the changes before you try to force them on the world. You take responsibility for your own actions.

It just adds insult to injury that the very people who lecture us on environmental consciousness are not living up to their own standards.

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