A while back I did a CFACT piece on the problem that teachers who know nothing about science are actively teaching climate alarmism. The piece was based on an ever-alarmist New York Times article praising this problem as a good thing, when it is just the opposite.
Now the NYT has outdone itself, with what has got to be the nuttiest alarmist opinion piece that I have ever seen. The title sort of says it all — “The Climate Crisis? It’s Capitalism, Stupid.”
There is no climate crisis and capitalism is vastly superior to its alternatives, so there you go; no need to read further. But it is worth looking at how these wild alarmist tales are spun and who spins them, because a lot of people read this junk. And in this case the tale spinner is a teacher, at a prominent American state university school no less: The Arizona State honors college.
The author is Benjamin Fong and his field is best described as psychoanalytic anti-capitalism. I am not making this up. His ASU bio says this: “Benjamin Y. Fong received his PhD in Religion from Columbia University, where he was also an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.”
To get a feel for his psycho-thinking, read this Fong essay and try not to laugh. His claim is that pleasure is a form of subjection that is imposed upon us.
So how does Dr. Fong explain the climate crisis? In the usual way really, with a combination of bad science combined with false confidence in baseless conjectures, artful omissions and left-wing politics. Thankfully he is brief.
He begins with a sciency statement, which is a common opening move in the game of climate alarmism. The statement is that human CO2 emissions today are 10 times greater that they were at the time of one of the great mass extinctions, called the End-Permian. This cataclysmic event occurred a whopping 250 million years ago, for reasons that we do not understand.
How this is relevant is never explained, because the point is to make a vague scary suggestion. He simply slides into the idea that we are now facing a similar fate (for which there is no scientific basis).
Even worse, the statement is absurd. What is not mentioned is that natural CO2 emissions today are something like 20 times greater than our emissions. So if our tiny emissions are a problem then nature’s vast emissions are a far bigger problem, but thankfully neither is true.
The reality is that this vast flow of CO2 is the mainstream of what is called the carbon cycle, which makes life on Earth possible. Atmospheric CO2 is the global food supply. In fact today’s levels of CO2 are very low compared to some past geologic eras, when life did very well. That CO2 levels are rising along with human population is good news, as it helps to feed us. But alarmists like Fong routinely write as though our CO2 emissions were some sort of unique pollution. The very opposite is true.
So this End-Permian stuff is just carefully chosen scary hogwash. Fong then goes on to invoke the conjecture of a precise 7.2 degree warming by 2100. This is just computer model stuff, which is all there is to climate alarmism.
He then switches gears, telling us that the real problem is capitalism, especially the profit motive. There is no science here, just what is called the fallacy of argument by assertion. Anti-capitalists seem not to notice that communist countries try to do the same basic things as capitalist countries, they just don’t do it as well because of the lack of individual freedoms.
For that matter, one would think that someone named Fong would know that Communist China is by far the world’s leader in CO2 emissions, because it is burning vast amounts of coal. But then it is digging its way out of poverty by becoming more capitalist and joining the global economy.
The real reason that the world is not rushing to decarbonize is that it is a stupid idea. Capitalism has nothing to do with it. Happily democracy does. The last things we need are dictatorships out to save the world from a fantasy.
When students are taught junk like this by professors they admire you cannot be surprised that they then become alarmist activists. But there is a formula to this stuff which, once mastered, makes refutation relatively easy.
How to do this refutation is what students should be learning. CFACT’s Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow has an important role to play here. They deserve our support.
Teaching climate alarmism in non-science classes is indoctrination, not education.