Free economies are clean economies

Drew Bond wrote in The Washington Examiner about the importance of economic freedom in addressing climate change.

If you buy the gloom and doom from the extreme environmentalists, you’d think that the Earth’s climate is spiraling out of control, causing everything from the border crisis to the energy crisis. On top of the alarmism, the alleged “solutions” involve elites telling you what kind of car to drive, what kind of food to eat, and what type of power we should use. It’s easy to see why so many people are turned off at the mention of climate change.

For too long, the climate discussion has been driven by extremists who have used the topic to institute top-down, central planning that hurts people for minimal, if any, benefit to the planet. The “ban fossil fuels and go all in on renewables” crowd fails to consider the many trade-offs and practical realities of our complex energy systems.

Oil, gas, and coal must be extracted, processed, and burned to create energy, which creates air pollution. Nuclear fuel must be processed, used, and disposed of very carefully. Wind and solar technologies must be manufactured in large amounts of energy and land, become a waste management challenge when they have aged out, and only produce electricity intermittently, if the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

At the same time, oil, gas, and coal have been tremendous drivers of lifting people out of poverty. Nuclear energy has the safest and cleanest track record. And harnessing the wind and sun to produce energy actually makes a lot of sense.

All of these forms of energy have their place in the world, but each comes with trade-offs.
The real question is what kind of world will it be? Will it be a world under heavy-handed government mandates, rationing, and restrictions in the name of saving the planet from changing climates? Or will it be a world that flourishes with freedom and prosperity, where people can determine their destinies, free from oppression and poverty, motivated to steward the environment in which they live?

When given the opportunity to be free, people choose freedom. The good news for the environment is that freedom has an impressive track record.

Read the full article here.

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