Kansas Can’t Do Much Locally To Counter Global Greenhouse Gas Emitters

A recent op-ed piece in the Wichita Eagle (Reader View: Give up on Climate Efforts?) makes the case that it is still important to fight climate change at the local level, here in Kansas. “When millions of people act, even in small ways, it has a cumulative effect on the planet.”

The problem is that most people can act in only very small ways, and even these have a high cost that many won’t bear. The popular resistance to a reduction in the speed limit is such an example.

The stark fact of the arithmetic is that greenhouse gas emissions are rising so quickly worldwide that anything we can do locally is like a drop in the ocean. That’s not much of an exaggeration. If Kansans were to stop all emissions of greenhouse gases from all sources, our sacrifice would be negated by China’s emissions growth in about 16 months.

As it turns out, the cost of making even small reductions in greenhouse gases is quite large. To fully implement goals like the Stern Commission’s would largely mean the end of capitalism as we know it, and of our present standard of living.

The writer also uses anthropomorphism — the “strange groaning of the ice” making him believe the earth is calling out for help — as an argument. This is similar to the radical environmentalist group Earthjustice and its motto: “Because the earth needs a good lawyer.” These appeals to emotion are a common tactic of the radical left.

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