The Global Warming Monotheism

There are very few among us who is not aware that Global Warming (GW) has become one of the most talked about issues for the last few years. GW talk has reached a crescendo in the last few months, the pattern of which is not too different from the way stocks behave just before the market crashes. This article seeks to list both sides of the issues, and present a third viewpoint from an individualist perspective.

The proponents of GW theory have been saying for the last couple of decades that mankind is burning too much of fossil fuels and releasing too much Carbon-Dioxide into the air. This is increasing the greenhouse effect and melting the Greenland iceberg, thus turning the greens red. They insist that people drive too many cars, factories and business consume too much energy, and if this continues the world climate will enter a long period of instability and unpredictability. Hurricanes will blow, the oceans will rise, snowstorms in Chennai and water shortages in the Great Lakes will be commonplace and penguins of Antarctica will be extinct. The cost of not doing anything will be far greater than the costs of doing something, so there has to be a carbon tax on individuals and businesses, thus clamping down on energy usage. People will be forced to drive less, consume less and be a whole lot more frugal on energy consumptions. Yes, there could be severe economic impact for a few decades, maybe even a few generations, but that’s a price that needs to be paid for several generations of abuse. Millions of unemployed people are far better than millions of dead people, so their argument goes.

The opponents of the GW crusade point out that this is not the first time global warming has happened – indeed there is enough evidence that it has happened dozens of times in the past few thousand years itself. And the penguins have survived each and every one of them, so have humans. Moreover, volcanoes release more CO2 into the atmosphere more than any human activity, and natural cycles of Sun storms and solar blasts have a far greater effect on GW than any human action. In addition, the earth goes through its own cycles of warming and cooling, and Climatology is barely an exact science to tell us the whys, how’s and when’s of weather. Weather forecasts even a fortnight from the present are largely inaccurate – so how can once predict weather a generation from now?

Whom does one believe? Most of us are not educated enough about the science behind this to analyze claims objectively. Al Gore shows us a bunch of graphs, and those who disagree with him show a bunch of inverted graphs. For all we know, both could be cooking up statistics. People from both sides have their own agenda. Whom can we trust? Who’s telling the truth, or rather, whose views are closer to the truth?

In any issue that involves two strongly opposing viewpoints, it has been proven to be prudent to avoid the side that is more fanatical of the two. The people who refuse debate, and those who come out as control freaks who want to tell others what to do and what not to do are the ones who need to be opposed. People who demand adherence solely based on faith, and those who attack the motives of anyone who questions facts and data are the ones who need to be examined closely. People who make an issue into a religion, with death and brimstone for the heretics and atheists, have to be put in their place and made to sit at the negotiating table.

When it comes to GW, a large section of its proponents have been behaving not too differently from the Crusaders and Jihadits. While I hasten to add that many GW proponents are truly convinced about its ill effects and wish the whole world good, it does seem that the issue has been hijacked by those who want the world to follow their dictat. Another pattern that is emerging is that after the fall of Soviet Union and Communism, a large section of leftists suddenly found themselves out of a job and a goal, and they grabbed on to the GW bandwagon to push Socialism through the back door in free-market countries. There is another contingent of neo-colonialists who want to use GW as an excuse to not let the emerging market countries develop. This is the kind that is most worrisome and quite insidious. And then there is the academia, which is using Government funding of research to further its own agenda. If you ask for a grant to study electromagnetism in high altitudes, you will not get the funding. But if you word your request as a study of effect of GW on electromagnetism in high altitudes, money will be thrown at you!

So we have a cabal of communists, socialists, neo-colonialists and vested academia who refuse debate, attack the motives of detractors and doubters and physically threaten those who don’t toe the line.

To be fair, there are some on the opposite camp also who are in the pay of Big Oil companies and Auto companies, and they want to maintain the status quo regardless of the facts on GW. However, they are much smaller and weaker and largely disorganized. They pose less of a threat to the truth.

My opposition to GW is on a different front. It based on individual rights, the freedom of enterprise global equality and the notion that a few shall not tell the rest how to live.

Yes, I do believe that there is GW. The signs are inescapable. To dismiss GW as many do is simply not seeing reality as it exists. The Antarctic ice shelf is breaking, Greenland is warmer, Hurricanes are stronger and weather patters do seem to be different. Let’s not pretend that everything is hunky dory.

How much of this is man’s fault? This is where things get gray very quickly. The science is not exact, and patterns and data can be interpreted based on one’s own agenda. Maybe man has a lot to do with it, and maybe he doesn’t. That’s not where I would like to take the debate, since it invariably ends into a shouting match with both sides talking past each other.

My point is that, even if it is proven to be man’s fault, still nobody should be forced to change their individual lifestyles. The West, with a population of six hundred or so million people has enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle that is largely dependant on heavy energy consumption. China and India with a billion people each, Eastern Europe, Latin America and South East Asia with another Billion people should get a shot at the lifestyle that the West has enjoyed. Yes – this will put severe demands on energy and pollute the earth even more, but that’s a price to be paid to liberate three billion people who have spent the last few centuries in abject poverty caused by Western Colonial rule. They are just emerging from bare sustenance level, and nobody should have the right to tell them to go back to their hellhole state because of GW. They need to have good food, nice houses, cars, manicured lawns, iPods, three hundred channels of TV, A/C and internet. These things should not just be the prerogative of those who live in the West. A villager in Maharashtra and a peasant in Vietnam should have the same comforts as the person living in Munich or Cincinnati. Until then, GW should take a back seat. No government, especially those in Emerging markets should take any steps to impede businesses and individual progress. It does not matter whether the oceans rise two feet in three hundred years or twenty feet in a hundred years. Three billion people should be given a choice to cross the bridge when they come to it. A cabal of a few hundred thousand GW fanatics should not get to impose their religion on others.

Meanwhile, those of us who believe in living an energy-frugal lifestyle should do so at an individual level without telling others what to do. They could keep a cup at work instead of using paper or plastic cups for coffee. They could consume less gas by buying smaller cars and living closer to work and shopping. They could build more energy efficient small houses. They could buy local produce, reduce travel and wear a sweater in winter. There are hundreds of ways each of us could lead energy-efficient lifestyles without infringing on others. Don’t penalize the Auto and Oil companies – just use less of their product. It needs effort and dedication. This where Governments can come in – they can educate the people about energy efficient lifestyles, without taking away any choices.

At the end of the day, people need to realize that life is an energy equation. Hinduism states that life is an endless cycle of births until the individual attains Nirvana. When the Atman falls from Brahman to the fallen state of Maya, energy is released from the system. Then the Atman goes through countless cycle of rebirths, each one being a chance for the being to give back energy to the system. Once all the energy has been paid back the Atman returns to ideal state of Brahman.

Let’s use less energy – for our own ultimate goal.

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