Global Warming Statists Threaten Our Liberty
by Deneen Borelli (bio)
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - "unalienable rights" cited by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence - are now at risk as left-wing activists seek to curtail our liberties and personal choices to save the planet from supposedly man-made global warming.
No one is saying global climate change doesn't exist. We all know the hot era of the dinosaurs later gave way to the frigid Ice Age. Throughout recorded human history, with and without the presence of factories and other factors blamed for today's alleged rising temperatures, there have been many warming and cooling trends.
What is unresolved is the role man actually plays in climate change. It is easy to be skeptical of the man-made global warming hysterics when the scientific data remains inconclusive and uncontrollable events, such as volcanic eruptions, can do more harm to the atmosphere than man.
Despite all the ambiguity, our liberties are at the peril of this dubious theory.
Cars and trucks are at the top of the leftist hit list. Special interest groups' attacks, particularly on the SUV, spurred lawmakers to dictate the type of cars and trucks available for consumers in the new energy bill by mandating increased vehicle gas mileage. To meet the proposed increase in the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard of 35 miles per gallon, vehicles will inevitably become smaller and lighter. Consumers who need or prefer bigger and safer vehicles will have fewer choices as manufacturers struggle to meet new government fuel mandates. As a result, the freedom of consumer choice will be greatly diminished.
Even lighting your house is now in the crosshairs. Politicians and activists want to invade our homes and empty our wallets when they call for replacing incandescent light bulbs with more costly and energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). To remove any element of consumer choice in the matter, the recent passage of the energy bill will phase out the old bulbs and force consumers to purchase only the federally-approved CFLs. While CFLs are said to last longer and reduce power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, they have a number of drawbacks. Not only is the initial cost of a CFL bulb up to ten times higher, but they emit far less light. CFLs also contain the toxic element mercury, which means they may require special means of disposal and pose a health risk should they break.
In touting its concern for the environment, General Electric - which manufactures of both types of bulbs - is aggressively promoting CFL use. While the changeover may be profitable for GE as a company, its American workers will suffer because CFLs are not manufactured in the United States. As incandescent bulb use diminishes, so will American jobs.
What you eat is also a target. Animal rights groups want people to adopt a vegan diet because they consider farm animals a significant source of "greenhouse gases." People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is even criticizing Al Gore - who just won the Nobel Peace Prize for his global warming activism - for ignoring this alleged connection. The ads show an image of Gore holding a chicken drumstick with a tagline: "Too Chicken to Go Vegetarian? Meat Is the No. 1 Cause of Global Warming."
Despite the numerous flaws and ambiguities in trying to link human behavior and global warming, activists and their allies in government use emotion and alarmism to make their case. They are seeking to cut off any reasonable debate and silence their critics by saying these people are motivated by corporate and personal greed and don't care about pollution. That, however, is hardly the case.
Critics of the global warming agenda are motivated instead by a love of freedom and civil liberties. They want a discussion based on logic and facts that will address any problems without depriving us of liberty and personal choice. They do not want to sacrifice our way of life based on fears of an unproven theory.
After all, the loss of liberty is a greater cause of alarm than global warming.
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Deneen Borelli is a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network. Comments may be sent to DBorelli@nationalcenter.org.
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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