Redistributive policy

Open Forum: Human flourishing — the gold standard of climate policy | Winchester star


There are currently two polarized positions (uniquely also politically polarized) regarding climate science. I will describe the progressive position and introduce an alternative concept – human flourishing.

Progressive Anti-Capitalist Coalition

Hosted by elite progressive billionaires from the World Economic Forum and United Nations leaders.

Objectives: Political power, global governance, redistribution of wealth. Personally indifferent to climate change, but have exploited this politically manufactured climate crisis to their advantage. Industrialized countries must deindustrialize. Developing countries must be prevented from industrializing by depriving them of fossil fuels. Penance payments totaling $100 billion pledged by rich countries to appease poor countries. Rapid grid transition to renewables. Fossil fuels phased out. Net zero carbon by 2050.

Rest of the Coalition—True, well-meaning believers. Save the planet!

Radical environmentalists, liberals/progressives, the Democratic Party, mainstream media, Pope Francis.

Beliefs: Environment more important than humans. FFCO2 is a pollutant causing catastrophic warming. Climate science has taken hold because 97% of consensus scientists agree. Oppose nuclear and hydroelectric.

Human flourishing

Moral philosopher Alex Epstein’s 2014 “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” and 2022 “Fossil Future” asserts that we need to use more, not less, fossil fuels for human flourishing.

The Industrial Revolution replaced low-productivity human labor with high-productivity machines powered by fossil fuels. Human flourishing followed with a marked decrease in poverty, an increase in life expectancy, income, clean water, medical care and population from 1 billion in 1804 to 8 billion today. .

Mechanization has given creative minds more time to create, innovate, conduct research and produce technological advances. More importantly, our constitutional republic guaranteed individual political liberty and freedom, and the economic environment of capitalism encouraged entrepreneurship, which was not possible in collective anti-capitalist regimes.

Flawed Progressive Anti-Human Stance

Untouched nature is depicted as a garden of Eden, friendly and delicately balanced.

Human impact is immoral and must be minimized to maintain balance. In reality, nature is violent and ruthless, “red-toothed and clawed”, deficient in resources to survive and constantly changing. Our goal is not to save the planet from humans, but to improve the planet for human flourishing.

A significant productive impact is needed to make the planet human-friendly. It requires energy. Fortunately, nature has provided abundant deposits of reliable, concentrated and naturally stored fossil energy. The cost of energy determines the habitability of the world. A billion people are without electricity. Four billion have limited access. It is immoral to deny developing countries access to reliable, low-cost energy.

We are told there is a climate crisis, yet human flourishing has never been better.

Climate-related deaths have fallen by 98% over the past 100 years. One hundred million people live safely below sea level. We have experienced a warming of 1.1°C in the past 170 years.

Continued use of fossil fuels will have a mild and manageable CO2 warming effect. The benefits of fossil fuels far outweigh the side effects. It is not unwise to increase the C02. It is unwise to phase out fossil fuels and force a rapid transition to renewables without any reliable safeguards in place.

Bernard Swope is a resident of Winchester.