February 20, 2008
Irvine, CA--Many people are calling for drastic political action to cope with climate change. But the authors of a new book, The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, go much further, claiming that global warming can be effectively dealt with only by "an authoritarian form of government."
In an article promoting the book, co-author David Shearman praises China's recent ban on plastic shopping bags, expressing special admiration for its authoritarian quality. "The importance of the decision," he writes, "lies in the fact that China can do it by edict and close the factories."
"Views like this reveal an ugly and ominous aspect of the political frenzy surrounding global warming," said Dr. Keith Lockitch, a resident fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute. "Though easy to dismiss as overwrought and atypical, such views expose a very real authoritarianism underlying the calls for action on climate change.
"While few global-warming activists are willing--as Shearman is--to come out in favor of openly dictatorial policies, the kinds of laws and regulations that activists do call for will hand a comparably frightening degree of control over our lives to politicians and environmentalist bureaucrats.
"In one form or another, every minute of our every day involves the emission of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas claimed to be the cause of climate change. Every moment we spend running our computers, lighting our homes, powering countless labor-saving appliances, driving to work or school or anywhere else--we are using industrial-scale energy to make our lives better.
"But global-warming activists want our use of the fossil fuels that provide the major source of that energy to be strictly controlled by the government and severely curtailed, no matter the harm that causes.
"Despite the constant assertion that global-warming science is 'settled,'" Lockitch said, "it is far from certain that we face any sort of catastrophic global emergency. But in the name of 'saving the world' from unproven threats, such activists want to impose a draconian regimen of taxes, laws, regulations and controls that would affect the minutest details of our existence. Their solution to their projected 'environmental disaster' is to impose an actual economic disaster by restricting the energy that powers our civilization and subjecting its use to severe political control.
"Let us not allow panic over the exaggerated claims of climate alarmists to deliver us into the hands of would-be carbon dictators."
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