mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Greens Cry Wolf Once Again

Some greens don’t feel they are living unless they are crying “Wolf!”  The lastest wolfspotting call comes from the authors of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook, who warn us that the year 2017 is the deadline for radically overhauling our energy-producing infrastructure before the chance to stop harmful climate change will “be lost forever.”

Luckily, there are cooler heads watching this issue able to cut through the report’s sloppy reasoning.  Former WRM CFR colleague and good friend Michael Levi has one of the coolest heads in the environmental world. The IEA report doesn’t impress him.

The IAE thesis holds that greenhouse gas-emitting infrastructure constructed in the next 6 years will lock the world into a path towards an intolerable concentration of pollution. Yet Levi astutely points out a few major flaws in this idea: 1) it treats this “intolerable” threshold as a certainty rather than the probabilistic estimate that it is; 2) it pessimistically assumes that emission reductions in other sectors will be minimal, and 3) it assumes that, once on-line, energy infrastructure must be put to use.

Policy advocacy is understandable, and Via Meadia believes that thinking about how our actions today will impact the world we pass on to future generations is an inescapable duty for every thinking person. The problem is that alarmist proclamations often motivate initiatives that end in disaster, and repeated hysterical overcalls destroy the credibility of the institutions that make them.  Remember the boy who cried wolf.

If more greens kept that boy in mind, more people might believe their reports.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I think they are Chicken Littles constantly screaming that the sky is falling and it’s the end of the world, and not the boy who cried wolf. I mean there really was a wolf, but the sky is only falling to generate more donations and get their hand deeper into the Tax Payers pocket. Let’s face it the environmentalist movement (Enviro misanthropes) must have an existential threat or it will die, as people haters are despised by all responsible civilized people.

  • Luke Lea

    Though I don’t share his politics, string theorist and former Harvard Fellow Lubos Motl is my go-to guy for the science behind this issue. What Lubos lacks in manners (which I personally find refreshing) he more than makes up for with his knowledge and ability to explain the science in good broken English. Can be funny too.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service