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Epstein: Climate Change Concern Due to ‘Human Racism’

Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress was on a panel discussion at CPAC about climate change and gave an absolutely bizarre diatribe claiming that concern about climate change is the result of “human racism,” which he defines as the idea that anything “man-made” must be bad.

Epstein added that if you are worried about man-made climate change, you are displaying “a prejudice against the man-made” or as he likes to put it, “human racism.”

He went on to present the straw-man argument that people who are concerned about climate change are against development and ignore the benefits of industrial advances. While greenhouse gasses might warm the planet “a little bit, and warm is generally nice,” he said, the “most important effect of fossil fuels” is to ensure that people like him can move to “the best climate we can,” in his case Southern California.

Um. What?

Comments

  1. says

    This bullshit is not at all new — libertarians have been saying since 1981 that environmental activists want to bring all of Mankind back to the Middle Ages; and that environmentalists are actually “pagans” who want to undermine good Christian progress and Manifest Destiny.

  2. eric says

    [quote]
    “most important effect of fossil fuels” is to ensure that people like him can move to “the best climate we can,” in his case Southern California.

    [Ed's response]Um. What?

    What he’s trying to say, Ed, is: “Posterity? F*ck it, I got mine.”

  3. eric says

    libertarians have been saying since 1981 that environmental activists want to bring all of Mankind back to the Middle Ages

    .

    Not that I think it will require such drastic economic measures, but if it did, I’d take a repeat Middle Ages over the human version of this.

  4. Mr Ed says

    I have to say climate change is pro-business. When habitable lands become inhabitable and farm land becomes arid the civil strife and migrations will be good business for defense contractors. Larger and larger storm is pure opportunity for the construction business. Cycles of drought and flooding will provide years of sermons for religious leaders filling the halls with those convinced this isn’t of our doing but god’s doing. Big Daddy Warbucks knows an opportunity when he sees one.

  5. Chiroptera says

    Epstein added that if you are worried about man-made climate change, you are displaying “a prejudice against the man-made” or as he likes to put it, “human racism.”

    Actually, I’m displaying a prejudice against situations where my children may be forced to eat my grandchildren for food.

  6. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    While greenhouse gasses might warm the planet “a little bit, and warm is generally nice,

    One reason why I prefer to use the term ‘Overheating’ instead. Because our planet isn’t getting warmer , its getting too hot.

    Its a semantic point (not unimportant) that warmth generally has positive connotations whereas overheating is more accurate in reflecting that we have a problem here.

    the “most important effect of fossil fuels” is to ensure that people like him can move to “the best climate we can,” in his case Southern California.

    Thing is, it won’t stay that way. The climate in southern California – or anywhere else for that matter. If it’s “nice” now – it won’t be, probably sooner than we think. Nowhere on Earth is immune to this either – that’s why its called global.

    As for “human racism”, I think he means “specieism” since Humanity by definition includes all the races – but then species-ism is something different too. So not quite that either.

    No, I think its just plain being a selfish asswipe on his part.

  7. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ 5. Mr Ed : OTOH, climate change causes a fair bit of economic damage with it too. It will probably cost businesses a helluva lot in a whole lot of ways.

  8. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I wonder if Mr. Epstein has ever been to a polluted industrial site in China or India and seen the sun shine an angry red in a yellow sky. I’m betting not.

  9. says

    Ya gotta admit, it is kind of remarkable that they can pack so much stupid-fucking-crazy into a one-day event.
    It almost deserves a grudging kind of respect — in the sense one would respect that guy in Tennessee who fathered, like, 30-plus kids by more than a dozen mothers and doesn’t rule out having more. Yeah, it’s fucked up and crazy, but the dude can’t afford the child support for one of them but can still, somehow, keep getting women to have sex with him. That is when he’s not in jail for failing to pay child support.
    And the parallel is that the Greedy Orwellian Perverts want women to keep having unprotected sex and having kids like crazy, but they don’t want to take responsibility or make sure these children are fed, have decent housing or health care.

  10. colnago80 says

    Apparently schmuck Epstein hasn’t heard about the drought in California over the past few years. Try living in Southern California with no water.

  11. colnago80 says

    Re #10

    Don’t have to visit a polluted industrial site in China. China now has the worst air pollution in the world, thanks to uncontrolled coal burning power plants and uncontrolled automobiles.

  12. says

    People always look back at what was done in previous centuries, and find things that leave them asking “What were they thinking when they decided that was a good idea?” Having 20+ million people in Southern California will be one of them.

  13. says

    What an asshole! There is no (real) debate about whether global overheating is bad. No one is hating on it because its man-made. The reason the question of whether or not it’s man-made is important (not that there is much of a question about that either) is because if it’s man-made we can fucking stop making it so damned hot!

  14. Trebuchet says

    SteveoR, #9

    OTOH, climate change causes a fair bit of economic damage with it too. It will probably cost businesses a helluva lot in a whole lot of ways.

    But that’s in the long term. They don’t think beyond next quarter’s bottom line.

  15. freehand says

    Much of the Central Valley is now desert, where it had been farmland (claimed from the original desert). Many Southern California reservoirs are at 5% capacity. The aquifer had been drained so far that the irrigation system has sunk half a meter in some areas. The irrigation canals, for those folks not familiar with them, are many kilometers long and depend on a gradual slope to deliver the water to all the farmers downstream. It is a time-consuming and expensive exercise in frustration to try to fix these. Many farmers have given up, and many others look to the near future with trepidation.
    .
    As for accusations of climate activists hating the human race, remember that with these sociopaths it is usually instructive to interpret what they are saying as conscious or unconscious projection.

  16. busterggi says

    “While greenhouse gasses might warm the planet “a little bit, and warm is generally nice,” he said, the “most important effect of fossil fuels” is to ensure that people like him can move to “the best climate we can,” in his case Southern California.”

    Maybe a drought-ridden area with almost no water reserve is the best climate for him but I agree with the late Sam Kinneson – don’t live in a desert.

  17. D. C. Sessions says

    Economic damage is not really a problem if you can get yours first and get out.

    Having California up to the Oregon border resemble the stretch between Yuma and San Diego is not really a problem when you and yours have moved to your own private tropical paradise in the Aleutians.

  18. says

    There is one point here that is… kinda true. There is a certain train of thought in certain circles that anything made by humans is automatically artificial and wrong. Which is patently absurd, we are a part of nature and much of what we produce is in fact natural. I’ve long taken the stand that human poo is no worse or better for the environment in general than deer poo. The problem isn’t that the poo is human, it’s the 7 billion people producing it, which is the problem. Most of our problems can be summed up into one simple phrase, there are too damn many of us on the planet to keep from effing it up. It’s not the green house gases produced by the burning of carbon bearing fuels that is causing the issue. 3,000 years ago our ancestors had no problem with the CO2 produced by their camp fires. It’s the fact that we have 7 billion people now burning carbon bearing fuels. We’ve over stepped the planets ability to support us without technology and the pollution that our population generates. Of course the fact that Conservative Christians are opposed to things like birth control, is not helping in the least. So we either need to reduce the carbon footprint of the average person or we need to reduce the number of average persons. I would prefer that method to be through attrition, not the right wings preferred method of dropping bombs on brown people.

  19. Johnny Vector says

    eric @ #4: And here I expected your link to be to the PETM. Another hilarious time in the Earth’s history.

  20. Johnny Vector says

    Kalli Procopio @ #20: I agree with your general point. However, there is a very important distinction between CO2 from campfires and CO2 from fossil fuels. The CO2 from campfires comes from carbon that was sequestered from the atmosphere a few decades to at most a couple centuries ago (unless you’re burning giant sequoia (in which case good luck to you) or bristlecone pine (in which case suck a bag of pinecones)). The CO2 from coal, however, was sequestered hundreds of millions of years ago, and hasn’t been part of the carbon cycle since.

    Burning trees will never lead to global warming, because either we grow more trees to replace the ones we burn (in which case the carbon just gets recycled) or we go all Easter Island and cut them all down, at which point we stop burning them, having added an inconsequential amount of CO2 to the atmosphere.

    The total amount of potential CO2 in fossil fuels, however, is enough to increase the amount of atmospheric CO2 by a large multiplier.

  21. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Idiot. Southern California is unfit for human habitation.

  22. eric says

    @5:

    I have to say climate change is pro-business.

    I’ll quibble. It’s both pro- and con, in different ways. The things you’re talking about are long-term benefits that everyone reaps if we don’t destroy the envirnoment. But in the short-term, it is anti-business to incur a cost to your business that some competitor is not incurring. We tend to discount future benefits and losses compared to immediate ones, because in order to get to the long-term benefits or costs you must first surivive the short-term costs as a business. In that respect, it’s very anti-business to implement a pollution-control measure which may cause you to lose so much market share that you go bankrupt – even if that measure is good for the environment.

    The AGW problem is, IOW, another tragedy of the commons. That’s why its such a hard problem politically.

    @8:

    our planet isn’t getting warmer , its getting too hot.

    Important to note that its getting uncomfortably too hot for us and our preferred ecosystems. But we’re still in an ice age (albeit an interglacial period), and critters like the dinosaurs did just fine when the earth was not in an ice age and was significantly hotter than it is today. If the ice caps melt completely, then it’ll be like the jurassic…which was plenty fecund in terms of ecosystem health and variety of life. It just wasn’t our ecosystem.

  23. colnago80 says

    Re #23

    As a native Angeleno, I take great exception to that statement. When I was growing up there, when the population was less then 1/2 of what it is now, it was a pretty nice place. Especially comparing the weather in January there to the weather in January in Rochester, N.Y. where I went to graduate school.

  24. says

    If the ice caps melt completely, then it’ll be like the jurassic…which was plenty fecund in terms of ecosystem health and variety of life. It just wasn’t our ecosystem.

    And with sea levels about 20 meters higher. What could possibly go wrong?

  25. says

    Actually, 70 meters, not 20.

    Come to think of it, uncertainty in the range means that we should assume that sea level rise will be zero and keep burning fossil fuels.

  26. Johnny Vector says

    Yes, the Earth will not become a barren wasteland or a lifeless steam planet with any amount of global warming. But like I started saying back around the time of the first Earth Day, I don’t actually care about The Earth. I care about people. And people will suffer a lot of distress if the temperature rises by 3°C, or the oceans rise by a meter.

  27. johnhodges says

    Re #28, J. Vector: There is a book by Peter Ward titled “Under a Green Sky” arguing that the Permian extinction included stagnant oceans that filled up with anaerobic bacteria that generated enough hydrogen sulfide to become a significant percentage of the atmosphere. He argues that sufficient warming could stop the Global Conveyor ocean current and initiate a repeat of this stagnant ocean. Another book by James Hansen argues exactly that Earth is on the inner edge of the “habitable zone” (the sun has been growing slowly brighter over the eons) and with positive feedbacks our human contribution to atmospheric CO2 could tip Earth into a runaway greenhouse. I have not heard of any serious discussion or critique of these arguments; I would appreciate links if you know of any.

  28. freehand says

    eric: If the ice caps melt completely, then it’ll be like the jurassic…which was plenty fecund in terms of ecosystem health and variety of life. It just wasn’t our ecosystem.
    .
    More than simply not ours, it takes a good ten million years or so for an ecosystem to recover comparable diversity after a disaster (e.g. the asteroid that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs). The sixth great extinction, which we have begun, is happening faster than the other great extinctions, with the exception of that asteroid.
    .

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