International Man: Western countries are leading the charge in restructuring their economies around the issue of climate change. They’re committed to a comprehensive agenda to “decarbonize” their economies by 2050.
What’s your take on this?
Doug Casey: To sum it up in one word, it’s insane. In two words, it’s criminally insane.
Before the Industrial Revolution, the overwhelmingly major fuel source was wood. After that, we went to coal, which was a big improvement in density of energy and economics. Then, we went to oil, another huge improvement in energy density and economics.
These things happened not because of any government mandates but simply because they made both economic and technological sense. If the market had been left alone, the world would undoubtedly be running on nuclear. Nuclear is unquestionably the safest, cheapest, and cleanest type of mass power generation. This isn’t the time to go into the numerous reasons that’s true. But if nuclear had been left unregulated, we’d already be using small, self-contained, fifth-generation thorium reactors, generating power almost too cheap to meter. The world would already be running on truly clean green electricity.
Instead, time, capital, and brainpower have been massively diverted to so-called “ecological” power sources—mainly wind and solar—strictly for ideological reasons. The powers that be want to transition the whole world to phony green energy, like it or not.
I’m all for green energy in principle. There’s no question that solar and wind are worthwhile and effective for select applications—generally small, isolated, special locations where conventional fuel is inconvenient or too costly. The efficiency of solar has been tremendously improved over the last few decades, as has wind efficiency. But neither make any sense for mass base-load power in industrial economies.
With further technological advances, they may become more economic someday. Perhaps people will eventually put large collectors in high Earth orbit and microwave the power down to the surface. There are all kinds of sci-fi possibilities. But right now, “green” is just a nice word for “stupid,” “ideological,” or “government-sponsored.”
Doing things the green way takes power away from the markets, which is where people vote with their dollars. It instead places power in the hands of ideologues and bureaucrats.
In brief, wind and solar are being promoted at the very time, nuclear and fossil fuels are being damned. It’s the opposite of what should be happening and a very bad trend from every point of view.
Put me down as liking the birds and the bunnies as much as anyone else, but I’m anti-green. Anyway, ecofreaks don’t really care about the birds and the bunnies so much. That’s just a veneer. They actually just hate people and really want them to disappear. At a minimum, they want to control them. And the great global warming/anti-fossil-fuel hysteria is a great way to do it.
International Man: As a part of this agenda, the US, the EU, and OECD countries plan to phase out oil, gas, and other fuels, replacing them with zero or low carbon sources of energy.
What kind of disruptions could we see as the transition is made to energy sources that may not be as reliable?
Doug Casey: Lots of disruptions, many of them both huge and currently unanticipated. The US has 330 million people. Why should decisions for hundreds of millions be made by bureaucrats and political hacks in Washington, DC?
Why should they be the ones who decide what kind of power should or should not be used? That’s a question that nobody asks. People simply assume that that’s the way it should be and largely do as they’re told. They never stop and consider that governments have set progress back immeasurably over history. The main products of government are wars, pogroms, confiscations, taxes, regulations, and the like.
Oil companies like Shell and BP are talking about getting out of the oil business. Oil companies and their employees and investors are looked down upon as the destroyers of the world. Nobody in polite society wants to admit that they’re in the oil business.
Before you drill an oil well anywhere in the world, it’s necessary to ask permission from one or more government entities. In the Western world, where the public has been captured by the notions of PC and ESG, governments are loath to issue drilling permits. Drillers don’t want to drill because costs are artificially high, and any profits will be subject to discouraging taxes.
Expect oil production to drop in the West. Throughout the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, more oil was discovered than was being used. Reserves went up. But that’s no longer the case. It’s not because the oil isn’t there; it’s because it’s too politically incorrect to look for it and exploit it.
Futhermore, scientists, engineers, and investors are staying away from anything to do with fossil fuels. You can plan on both fuel shortages and much higher costs. Markets are being subverted and are becoming ever more politicized.
In addition, so-called “green technologies” aren’t really green. They just seem green on the surface. Giant windmills and solar farms rely on massive amounts of fossil fuels and metals to be manufactured and installed. They have limited lifespans, and they must be disposed of. Not only can’t they provide mass quantities of power consistently, but they all show losses, even after-tax benefits disguise them. That destroys capital. They’re not signs of progress but monuments to waste and destruction. We’re going to have huge disruptions in the energy markets in the years to come, and since the whole world runs on energy, it’s really serious.
International Man: Broadly speaking, is the new climate change “crisis” an invitation for more government intervention in the world?
Doug Casey: Yes. It’s like inviting a vampire into your house.
For many decades, kids have been indoctrinated with ideas about counterproductive conservation and Greenism. Comic books, schoolbooks, teacher’s lectures, television—you name it—present the earth as being under attack from the forces of darkness. Mankind—especially the scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs—are shown exploiting and raping Mother Nature and her natural resources. They’re presented as evil.
Bronowski’s Ascent of Man has been subverted into a battle of good versus evil, where all the values have been turned upside down. The problem has permeated society, and it’s even worse in the education system.
St. Ignatius Loyola, who founded the Jesuits, and Vladimir Lenin, who founded the USSR, both said words to the effect of “If you can indoctrinate a child during his early years, you’ve basically set his direction of thinking for life.” They were right.
Government is always presented as noble, wise, and forward-thinking. It’s presented as the savior stepping in to stop the evil producers.
It is one of a number of false and horribly destructive memes stalking the earth today like spectres. The increasing belief in government as a magic solution to problems decreases the average person’s standard of living tremendously and creates all kinds of distortions throughout society. It’s turned the study of economics into a pseudoscience, and its incursions into science are discrediting the idea of science itself.
In fact, the two big hysterias plaguing the world right now both center on the State involving itself in science—or at least scientism. One is COVID, a relatively trivial flu blown out of all proportion. The other is AGW, anthropogenic global warming, which was relatively recently rechristened as climate change.
In my view, both will eventually be completely debunked and discredited. But if you run counter to the narrative on either of them right now, you’ll be canceled, fired, and/or ostracized.
It’s very much like what happened to Galileo when he ran counter to the prevailing wisdom of the Middle Ages. They don’t actually burn books anymore, but only because books today are mostly electronic. But they do the equivalent of that on places like Google and Twitter.
There’s an excellent chance that these people will discredit the very idea of science because they’ve wrapped themselves in the veil of science. Or, more precisely, what’s become known as “The Science.” They’re creating something much more serious than just another economic disaster.
International Man: This trend seems to be growing in momentum.
For example, Google Flights now prominently displays the carbon emissions of each flight it lists.
Is that a small first step toward charging individuals for the carbon they emit?
Doug Casey: I can assure you that I pay no attention whatsoever to the amount of carbon that I may be burning on a plane or anywhere else. It’s part of a psychological war the Left is waging, using guilt and shame as weapons. It’s another indication of the lockstep, the groupthink, that people are subjected to today.
Life on this planet is based on carbon. The element itself is indestructible and essential, but it’s been transformed into a deadly enemy in the mind of the public. But if you deny that it’s destroying the earth, then you’re committing heresy. It’s like denying the existence of God in the Middle Ages. Hating carbon and worshipping “The Ecology” have become tenets of a secular religion.
A new carbon tax will be implemented. It’s definitely in the cards. Most people will stupidly roll over and say, “Yes, this is for the good of the planet. It’s a tax we should all pay.”
Of course, governments and the powers that be always want more resources directed towards themselves. In a time when governments are bankrupt and can only generate more money for themselves by printing it, it’s an absolute certainty that the next tax will have a patina of righteousness. A carbon tax on individuals, as well as companies, checks all the boxes.
International Man: Will carbon credits become a new government-created “commodity” that corporations and individuals will be forced to purchase?
Doug Casey: Without question, it’s a clever way to turn a tax into something that looks like an asset, an investment.
Look, this is all about politics and money, but disguised as a religious movement, which is quite clever. There’s no question that Greenism is being promoted as a new religion.
Christianity is a dead duck in Europe, and it’s dying in North America. But people need some type of religion, a replacement for Christianity, to hold on to.
People will be encouraged to treat their taxes as tithes to wash away their sins against Mother Nature—much the way they tithed the church to expunge their sins in the Middle Ages. It’s an exact analogy. They’ll buy “carbon credits” as an analog for building cathedrals and monasteries.
As an economist, as well as someone who reads a lot of science, I think it’s ridiculous and destructive. The whole anti-carbon, carbon sequestration, and Greenism thing is a political hysteria promoted by people who like to control other people. I’m completely opposed to carbon credits or carbon taxes from that point of view.
But when I put on my speculator’s hat, I’m all for it. There are companies being formed to cleverly capitalize on all this destructive nonsense. It’s still very early days, and the public will pile into the space with a combination of religious fervor and fin de siècle greed. I expect a massive bubble in the space. I’m all for bubbles—if I can buy in early.
A speculator is a cynic, not a philanthropist—although I hasten to add that most philanthropists are hypocrites. It’s a pity that the vast majority of people have been totally brainwashed by Greenism, and carbon stocks are a great way to turn the lemon into lemonade.
Reprinted with permission from International Man.