Crippling industrial civilization will cause the deaths of billions and leave those who survive, in a state of poverty and misery, as though the Industrial Revolution had never happened.
Our only rational choice is to adapt to the forces of nature, not to prohibit the use of energy that is the foundation of our means not only of adapting to nature but of adapting nature to us.
Even if the result of industrial civilization were a warmer world and higher sea levels, it would still be an incredible bargain.
And all the more so, since the alleged price need only be paid over the course of a thousand years or more, with sea levels rising just a few feet per century, if they in fact rise at all.
Industrial civilization can easily cope with such a problem. The whole of the United States from the Appalachian Mountains to the Pacific Ocean was settled in the hundred years between 1776 and 1876.
On a timescale of centuries, the loss of many of today’s coastal areas could easily be made good by the opening up to settlement of such vast, presently largely uninhabitable areas as Alaska, central and northern Canada, Greenland, Siberia, and Antarctica.
In a free, capitalist economy, if matters actually came to this, the settlement of these vast new territories would be a great adventure, comparable to that of the settlement of the American West, but on a much greater scale.
So, stop being terrified of the future and welcome it. Just be sure that when it comes, we have the freest, most energy-intensive, industrial economy that it is possible for us to have.
In other words, stop fighting nature and adapt to it. If the threats are real, we’ll need all the man-made power we can get, including, above all, fossil fuels and atomic energy. And to get them, we’ll need the freedom of the most capitalistic economy we can have.
For more, read my essay “The Toxicity of Environmentalism,” available in Kindle format at http://amzn.to/1HZ4a0c for 99¢.
And click below to listen to the lecture version of this essay.