The Global Warming Guilt Trip - Been Through This Before

Despite the constant media blitz on the evils mankind is creating in the way of Global Warming most folks are refusing to accept the guilt the media and the Green crowd are attempting to enter into their consciousness.  Everyone older than generation X has been through similar guilt exercises in the past, the Ozone Hole in the 80's and The Energy Crisis in the 70's.

There is little mention of the traumatic effects of the Energy Crisis mentioned today but a significant proportion of the population lived through this crisis and it affected the way they lived their life at the time. 

Prior to 1971 energy prices were too cheap as the oil companies had managed control the supply situation.  The Arab countries started to exercise some control in the early 70's.  They used the Israeli Arab war of 1973 as an excuse to raise prices and restrict supply as punishment for the West’s support of Israel.  This started the Energy Crisis of the 70's.

People were convinced non-renewable fossil fuels supplies were finite and were quickly disappearing.  People were led to believe they must change their lifestyle and their patterns of energy use were too high and changes were necessary.  Most people bought into the hype and changed their expectations and lifestyles. 

In the 60's and early 70's automobiles were a major component in Western lifestyle.   In this same time frame the government starting enforcing vehicle exhaust emission standards which severely impacted vehicle performance.  When the Energy Crisis developed people abandoned their large domestic cars and bought foreign cars which delivered better gas mileage.  Even though these foreign cars were in reality junk mass delusion set in and people believed they were better cars.  They got better gas mileage which was probably the only better quality in these cars.

The government stepped in and decided lowering highway speed limits to 55 MPH (90 Km/H) was a strategic necessity to lower dependence on foreign energy supplies.  Combined with new domestic cars with emission controlled engines and foreign cars with small engines 55 MPH was almost as high a speed that these vehicles could maintain.  As a side point here these new cars were so gutless that they were incapable of passing another vehicle at or around 55 MPH.  The highway people took this opportunity to add double lines to many sections of highway in which passing was previously allowed and possible with older cars but not with the new cars.

People changed their driving habits and forgot how to pass another vehicle without the aid of a passing lane.  The government told people that the 55 MPH was in the national interest and speeding was a sin in which energy was wasted.  Many people believed in this hype and of course the police started calling driving the previous speed limit a dangerous activity.  With the foreign cars of the time it probably was dangerous.

Automobiles were only part of the energy consumption footprint and the government worked the other angles with the same intensity as the national highway speed limit.  People looked at their homes and upgraded insulation and siding, double glazed windows and window coverings which minimized heat loss, more energy efficient furnaces and for a short time people decided on smaller homes with smaller windows. 

By the early 80's energy consumption had dropped so much that oil prices collapsed.  Many of the Arab energy producing states developed fears that they might not sell all their oil before it becomes obsolete, just look at the history of coal use.  Energy prices were no longer maintained at an artificial high level and were allowed to drop to a low level.  The energy producing states realized that if they maintained the myth of finite energy supplies conservation would limit their ability to sell what they were able to produce at what they would consider a reasonable price.  Future income was at stake.

The energy producers, both domestic and foreign, realized society swallowing this story hook line and sinker was bad for business and attempted to change societal attitudes toward energy in an effort to improve business.  To combat conservation efforts energy prices were kept low for years to promote greater consumption and get people to change their habits. 

At some point people figured out what was really going on and stopped feeling bad about energy consumption.  People responded by buying bigger cars and houses and not feeling guilty about higher energy consumption.  A very healthy dose of cynicism against government and media hype was the lesson learned.

People responded to the Ozone Hole crisis as they had still not shred all the guilt from the Energy Crisis.  In all likelihood the Ozone Hole crisis is probably more a function of a weakening planetary magnetic field and solar activity than the so called releasing of gases used in refrigeration.  While the Ozone Hole has decreased in recent years the reality is the release of CFCs has probably increased as more cars with air conditioning were produced in the 80's and 90's with Ozone depleting CFCs have accidentally or deliberately released their CFC gas.  The use of refrigerators in the under-developed world has increased dramatically as would the accidental release of CFCs.

Maybe in Canada and the USA plus Western Europe CFC release have decreased but in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America they have probably increased.  You will never know the real numbers in any country as no one is going to admit releasing a so-called potentially dangerous gas.  In many countries they can’t afford CFC replacements and nor do they bother with CFC recovery.  We pay a higher cost here in Canada but no one else bothers.  But still the Ozone Hole has decreased in size in recent years.

Most people who experienced the Energy Crisis of the 70's and early 80's now have a healthy cynical attitude to the hype dished out by the media.  The best leaders are those that lead by example.  Who is really going to listen to one who attempts to lead but doesn’t practice what they preach.  Al Gore is a good example of a poor leader, he has a massive energy use footprint in his home and lifestyle of private jets and chauffeur driven limos.  If he was really concerned about the environment he would minimize his energy use footprint and try to lead by example.  Basically here is a guy telling you to use public transport who has never experienced the joys and frustrations of taking a crowded bus.

The problem with the Global Warming hype we are being fed is that it is based on junk science.  The Earth’s climate has been warming for the last 500,000 years and particularly very quickly in the last 15,000 years.  Ocean levels have been rising for the last 100,000 years and particularly fast in the last 10,000 years.  Why should we be surprised climate and ocean levels are still changing?  The current hype on Global Warming is being used as the excuse to make you pay more for energy and taxes.

While we are bombarded in the media on a daily basis on Global Warming but few do anything about it.  I believe many people who experienced the Energy Crisis of the 70's are not going to buy into the Global Warming hype as they see it for what it is, an excuse to make you feel guilty and not complain when you asked to pay more money for energy, taxes and to pay a carbon tax.  In all likelihood it doesn’t matter what we do as the climate is going to continue to warm as it has for the last 500,000 years and the ocean is going to continue to rise as it has in the last 10,000 years.

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Revised June 24, 2007