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Climate change is my top concern of 2022! OMG! Just kidding?

Are you driving a gas guzzling car? Insensitive bastard! Don't you care about the Tesla? But seriously folks, autos/trucks provide about 12% of the pollution to our atmosphere. So if every human drove an electric car it would still not move the needle. Any concrete ideas to dramatically change global warming yet? Nope. Shifting to Nuclear power generation would probably make the biggest difference, but don't hold your breath. Meanwhile China and India will determine our environmental future as they represent the largest future polluters. Expect them to move the needle? Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?

In the meantime, you might turn your gaze to something where you can move the needle?

Is Climate Change in Your Problem Top 10?

‘Limitarianism’ may prove to be as deadly as other 20th-century ‘isms.’

By Andy Kessler


Jan. 9, 2022 12:41 pm ET

At a recent dinner, I sat between two men talking past each other. “Mr. Redd” was complaining about our borders and how President Biden’s policies have led to the arrest of nearly two million illegal immigrants. “Mr. Bleu” jumped in, “First of all, they’re unauthorized migrants. Second, I can’t believe you’re worried about that. It’s not even on my top 10 list.” Not one to let a good brawl whimper out unnecessarily, I asked sheepishly, “What’s No. 1?” “Climate change,” he replied. I couldn’t resist. “Really, over failed schools? The homeless? Opioids? Structural unemployment? China?” I asked. “Yup, follow the science,” he said. Ugh. He probably thought the dim-witted eco-allegory “Don’t Look Up” on Netflix was a documentary.

Sure enough, if you check the latest Quinnipiac poll of “the most urgent issues facing the country today,” you get the same divide. For Republicans, the answer is immigration (28%), the economy (24%) and the federal debt (10%). For Democrats, it’s Covid-19 (28%), healthcare (14%) and climate change (13%).

A few years ago, my family was hiking in Point Reyes, north of San Francisco, with our Rhodesian Ridgeback off-leash. Yes, I know, a politically incorrect canine. We spotted a coyote up in the hills and quickly leashed our dog. As we approached another group with a dog, we warned them about the coyote. Instead of a “Thank you,” we got a smug “Well, they were here first.” Really? I may have wished the coyote would eat their mutt for breakfast.

To me, that exchange sums up the current state of environmental thinking. They were here first; let’s go back to the old days. I have no time for this “degrowth” movement. Progress, not retreat, solves problems. While the climate may be changing, meteorologists can’t even model snowfall in Virginia accurately this winter, let alone over decades. We should adapt to change, not slam the brakes on growth. Climate change is the latest manifestation of a tiresome throwback—shift-into-reverse thinking. It’s all back to nature, rewind the clock, fear of overpopulation, and let coyotes roam. This “limitarianism” may prove to be as deadly as other 20th-century “isms.”

Americans have plenty of other problems. Crime is on the rise, and cities are a mess. I asked a resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side what she thought about New York’s new mayor, Eric Adams, a former captain in the New York Police Department. “We hope he’s like Michael Bloomberg, ” she said. “Isn’t he more like Rudy Giuliani, law and order?” I asked. “Ick,” she replied. “So, you like crime?” I asked sarcastically, knowing that murders in New York City were up over 50% in 2021 compared with 2019. Her answer? “Hey, we live in New York City, we expect it. Plus, we don’t have much crime in our neighborhood anyway.” Right.

When was it that we gave up? San Franciscans gladly struggle to drink through paper straws but divert their gaze from brazen smash-and-grab robberies. One fall afternoon in Washington I walked past a homeless man sleeping on a bench at a bus stop. Next to him were eight cops on BMW motorcycles taking a coffee break. I don’t get it, nor do I understand why policy makers allow tent cities to proliferate. When did we defang the police?

My top 10 list starts with education. Elegant technology solutions for learning need to bloom. I’m with Sal Khan of Khan Academy, who probably has helped more students succeed than anyone in history. He told me every person can learn every subject. Period. We simply don’t try hard enough. Fixing educational outcomes will go a long way toward resolving inequality and racism. Let’s stop pushing universal basic income and diversity, equity and inclusion and Band-Aid homeless programs—let’s solve the problem at its root. Thanks in part to American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten’s teachers-first union policies, too many students escape our education system without the tools to succeed, driving up crime and homelessness.

Then I’d add cheaper healthcare, another industry that will be altered by technology. Plus, our decades-in-the-making global supply chains are crumbling. Too bad. Trade and immigration are linked. Better jobs in other countries drive rising living standards so the U.S. can export software instead of importing people. I worry about addictions to opioids, gambling and alcoholism. Mental health needs better resources. The hasty U.S. exit from Afghanistan means our international standing is in shambles. We get stronger every time we raise other countries up to our standards rather than lower ourselves to the usual model of tax, spend and go broke. China, terrorism and the joke that is wokeness eroding free speech round out my 10.

As we head into a new and hopefully more normal year, what are your priorities—your top 10 list of concerns? It’s good to start thinking about solutions so you don’t respond with the knee-jerk “They were here first.”

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