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the partisan divide

To Confront Climate Change, Progressives Are Coming for Your Lifestyle

Conservatives are having none of it

On August 1, the ban against incandescent light bulbs took effect. That LEDs (light emitting diodes) now cost little more than Thomas Edison's creation of the late 1800s, last years longer than incandescents, and require far less power such that $3 billion a year is expected to vanish from American consumers' utility bills — none of that holds weight among conservatives who were appalled that article illustration
Farewell to an historic invention
with the stroke of a pen President Biden had simply decreed the end of incandescents by executive order.

"No law was actually passed anywhere…Congress did not vote. There was no consensus for any such thing. A staple consumer item has disappeared from store shelves everywhere",

wrote David Lanza at "American Thinker". But if the progressives' green dream wins out, the loss of “that ineffable and as yet irreplaceable glow” produced by incandescent bulbs, as Tom Scocca rhapsodized in New York magazine, is only a modest beginning. The crusade to do away with fossil fuels has a long list of sacrifices planned for our future.

Foremost is the nearly-mandated conversion to electric vehicles. As with light bulbs, the Biden administration has set pollution standards for new cars and trucks so high that as soon as 2027 67% of a carmaker's production will need to be EVs for the overall gas consumption of its fleet to meet the standards. Biden's goal is net-zero emissions by 2050. article illustration
For that to happen, research outfit BloombergNEF says the last internal combustion vehicle must roll off the assembly line by 2038. California Governor Gavin Newsome is ahead of even that, having banned the sale of gasoline-powered cars in California starting in 2035.

Conservatives seethe at the notion that choice can simply be taken away from we the people. They can perhaps take heart that a multitude of logistical challenges stand in the way — primarily that we don't know how to make batteries and China largely controls the mineral resources they require even if we did. There's the Woody Allen quote, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans".

But even if the EV revolution does happen, the vast American public may be less than thrilled. They may be earnest about halting climate change but not when they discover that would affect their own lifestyle. In our article in March, we saw a consumer backlash coming:

Filling up at a gas station is quick and for the average auto will buy you close to 400 miles. But filling up (80% recommended as the last 20% takes forever) takes 20 to 30 minutes at a Level 3 fast-charger to yield something under 200 miles for a modest-size vehicle. That says the time-per-mile that we'll spend at a charging station is over 25 times what we spend at a gas pump. One easily imagines the pile-up of autos waiting at the public stations and an angry public quickly fed up with the whole idea.

Add range anxiety and Americans will come to realize that the freedom and fun of hitting the road has become an ordeal. "So no more cross-country road trips", Varad Mehta laments at the conservative publication Washington Examiner.

Take a plane instead

But wait. Batteries are too heavy for aircraft. They'll still be guzzling fossil fuels, or maybe biofuels that displace food production and deplete rapidly diminishing groundwater. Conservative commentators are increasingly ill-tempered at being told flying is bad for the planet, worse than cars, that airline travel should be a memory, and hair shirts would be appropriate penance for the past bad habit of popping onto planes. "Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change", wrote Andy Newman at – where else — The New York Times in an article titled "If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home?”

out of gas

There may be no place like home, but home will be different. A conflagration ignited when a member of the Consumer Product Safety article illustration
The steady gas flame is greatly preferred over the
alternating on/off coils of electric ranges.
Commission told Bloomberg that his agency was considering an outright ban on kitchen gas ranges to snuff out their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. You can pry the gas stove “from my cold dead hands,” fumed Texas Republican Representative Ronny Jackson. “The last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on”, said enflamed West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

"The reality here…is that when it comes to fighting climate change, attacking citizens’ lifestyles is still the Left’s preferred solution"…

…was the Washington Examiner's take. The movement to turn off the gas jets is already underway. California has banned the sale of new natural-gas-fired appliances starting in the next decade. New York state passed a law in May that bans natural gas in most new homes and buildings by as early as 2026. That ends gas water heaters and furnaces as well.

what to cook on those electric stoves

Not steak, climate activists reprimand. You will need to give that up because it comes from cattle, the world's leading source of agricultural greenhouse gases. In a year, a single cow will belch about 220 pounds of methane, a gas that dissipates more quickly than carbon dioxide but traps about 30 times more heat.

Nor dairy, for the same reason. You'll need to give up milk, cheese, butter, ice cream and switch to the synthetic protein substitutes industry is in a race to create to go with your faux burgers.

turn up the heat

With everything electrified, the demand for power might be so great as to mandate rationing, with the air conditioning that refrigerates our houses hardwired not to go below a certain temperature, if progressives get to set the rule. India, where only 10% to 12% of homes have air conditioning, surpassed China this year as the nation with the largest article illustration
Air conditioners at an upscale
apartment building in India

population. With temperatures in six Indian cities reaching 111°F or higher this April and heat records set globally, threatening survival, air conditioners have become a priority. Bloomberg estimates that the world will add a billion machines by the end of the decade. Faced with that, what sense do climate activists in the U.S. make, goes he counterargument, when they advocate setting our air conditioners to 80°F, and tell us we should switch to more efficient heat pumps?

Dishwashers of the near future will be required to “use 27% less power and 34% less water" and "no more than 3.3 gallons during their normal, default cycles.” "The likely effect of this rule would be to compel consumers to use more water by spending more time pre-washing their dishes", predicts Noah Rothman at the hard-right National Review.

Yard work will take up more of your time. California has banned the sale of gasoline-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers beginning next year. The town of San Anselmo has already instituted a ban on gas-powered landscaping equipment. The mayor says a leaf blower produces emissions equivalent to “driving from L.A. to Denver in a 2017 Toyota Camry”, but she forgot to say how long it must run to achieve that disrepute. Other blue states — New York, New Jersey, Illinois – are thinking whether to do the same. We'll be back walking behind push mowers and raking leaves in the newly quiet neighborhoods where we'll hear the birds singing again like decades ago.

Rothman summed up the libertarians' nightmare:

"Possessed of an abiding faith in the idea that you must be coerced into altruism, the activists seem to be coming for almost everything you own".

careful what you wish for

Suitable to their name tag, conservatives want to keep things just as they are and are dubious of the apocalyptic future progressives insist is coming. Libertarians are outraged that Big Government has decided on its own to diminish quality of life without proof of that future, never mind the increasing frequency of severe weather and the Great Melt, as we might call it. "Progressives’ ultimate goal is to reduce consumption — and living standards — because they believe humans are a menace to the Earth", says Allysia Finley of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.

The safe bet is that a couple of hundred million Americans will come over to their point of view when they discover how much of their comfortable way of life they'll have to give up to purportedly halt climate change, lifestyle unchanged, we will just let climate change run its course suffocated by rising heat and battered by storms. We will hear from them what we hear from Rothman about what progressives plan for us:

These campaigns against contrivances that improve the quality of daily life…are costly impositions on the time and resources of everyday Americans — downsides that their advocates apparently don’t worry about. If they find any inconvenience in their preferences, they subordinate that concern to their ideological goals…And you’re expected to bear this burden indefinitely. Or at least until you communicate your displeasure in no uncertain terms at the ballot box.

Which we expect will happen — as soon as 2025 if Republicans regain the presidency. "Project 2025", the 920-page master plan developed by the Heritage Foundation intends to transform government, reverse all of the Biden administration's climate initiatives, and promote the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

Why, maybe they'll even bring back incandescents.

1 Comment for “To Confront Climate Change, Progressives Are Coming for Your Lifestyle”

  1. David Barnett

    Keeping incandescent light bulbs available is not as luddite as most of your readers think. LEDs are indeed very efficient at converting electrical energy in to visible light. However that efficiency comes at the expense of non-visible emission. This used to be thought of as just waste heat. We now know that there are important health benefits to near infra-red exposure.

    We should not really be surprised that our hyper focus on visible light misses something important, given we have evolved in a whole environment and optimised for it.

    I can see a new generation of LEDs being engineered to include near infra-red, but this is a bit like adding a few vitamins back into highly processed foods. We don’t know what else important we may be missing.

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