While Extinction Rebellion is infuriating commuters by shutting down central London transit, a harrowing foretaste of the fuel-free world they envision for us all, the Russian government just dumped its proposed carbon trading system and stiff penalties for polluters to appease their industrial oligarchs. Which raises the spectre that soon the only major countries with enough energy to function in the modern world will be India and villains like Russia and China. So what’s the plan for stopping those hostile powers from taking over the global economy after we’ve virtue-signalled our way into giving up our modern energy sources?
The Russia story is an odd one in that it describes heavy pressure on the Kremlin from the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, which given the unwholesome intertwining of big business and big government under Vladimir Putin amounts to the state lobbying itself. But however weird things look in the Kremlin’s funhouse mirror, the upshot is that like China, for which Russia has unkindly but not unfairly been called a “gas station”, Russia will have a functioning transportation infrastructure, fuel for its armed forces, and food, shelter and clothing for its people.
In the West, on the other hand, Britain will have wish-powered tanks and no fracking and the German auto industry is in danger of collapsing along with a great deal else. (Including Canadian national unity, if something isn’t done about the smug political devastation of Alberta’s energy industry.) The best-case scenario is European nations will have gas when, but only when, Russia wants to let them have it through its natural gas pipelines. And what kind of world will we then be living in?
We recognize that to alarmists, everybody must stop using fossil fuels or the end comes in 11 years or so. And we grant that if you think so, you should not keep using them yourself. (Not even to fly on fancy vacations just because you founded Extinction Rebellion, or because the system made you do it.) But if you wail that continuing to use gas and oil because Russia won’t stop is no solution, we respond that ceasing to use them while Russia won’t stop is no solution either because you need a plan to stop them from destroying the planet they’re busy taking over, and if we’re going to die we’d at least like a hot last meal first.
So tell us how to solve the global problem you insist presses down on all of us. Otherwise, if you brush aside emissions from hostile states as mere wisps while calling those from your own country “evil”, we might start suspecting you’re in the grip of a malevolent dislike of your own civilization masquerading as love of all mankind.