Thursday, September 07, 2017

Wealth and Hurricanes

It was good news to hear that the Bransons were able to ride out hurricane Irma with neither injuries nor loss of life.  They survived the maelstrom by hunkering down in the family wine cellar surrounded by their Boone's Farm and MD 2020 collections.

Wealth can do that for you.

It can provide access to not only the private tropical locations that most of us can only dream about but also, in the event of an anthropologically caused climate warming event, can provide an alcohol stocked club house from which to experience the challenge.  Juan and Francoise, unfortunately living in poverty along the northern coast of Hispaniola, will spend their day clinging to a palm tree.

That is the way of the world.  Wealth enhances life while poverty lays bare its fragility.

From the Branson subterranean compound, billionaire Richard Branson's son Sam tweeted out his thankfulness for survival but also cautioned the world that it must tackle the issue of global climate change.

It is a lofty goal to be sure and many people on Earth, and perhaps an even higher percentage of the wealthy certainly counting among them the Bransons, are highly motivated to make the change.   Fossil fuels and their spewing of carbon are the targets for most of these concerns.   As a result the entire ethanol industry has been born, refinery development has been all but stopped, pipelines carrying the fuels are protested, delayed and cancelled, drilling moratoriums are put in place, punitive taxes are put in place, the evolving coal industry is shuttered in many places, all the while alternative methods of energy are being explored...which might bring us right around to ethanol again.

The designs of all of these programs is to do one thing...raise the cost of energy consumption.

As it was explained to us by President Barack Obama, "energy costs must necessarily skyrocket."  As Hillary Clinton explained during her hapless limp toward the highest office in the land, she wanted to bankrupt the coal industry.

Of course these are negative things to those who work in the coal mines, but they also have negative impacts on the users of electricity and, gasp, this includes most people who cannot afford to buy their own private islands.

Richard Branson is the kind of guy I admire for the most part.  His vision has provided tens of thousands of jobs and paid million and tens of millions of dollars in taxes.   He is not an enemy of the poor, or shouldn't be, because the wealth he has generated has paved the way for a better life for many of those who don't even know who he is.

To a point.  

However, when the Richard Branson family attempts to increase the costs of energy consumption it also without exception retards the ability of millions of those less fortunate to generate the wealth that they will need in the future to do such things as pay electric bills, generate wealth, and hopefully someday, buy private islands.  

Al Gore, owner of multiple private estates, charterer of private jets, producer of motion pictures, and perhaps the foremost proponent of AGW science, declares himself to be carbon neutral because of the carbon credits he routinely purchases.  I can't help but ask myself "wouldn't he be carbon negative if he just bought a bunch of carbon credits and left his bug butt at home?"  Maybe if he would try to be a positive influence instead of bragging about his neutrality he'd cut a more sympathetic pose.

A buddy of mine, an embracer of Al Gore's reasoning, was adamant that the wealthy can afford to pay the price necessary to make the energy switch over.  One wonders (or I did) which rich person is going to step up to the gas pump and pay the $100 it takes to fill up his truck when gas goes to $5 per gallon?   Perhaps it is Al Gore himself, or might have been before he blew his budget on all the carbon credits.  Current global warming theorists demand a reduction in energy consumption and the only way to force that result is by making that consumption punitive to every person pulling up to the gas pump.

When energy consumption falls, as it always does when prices get high, more than just gas purchases wane.   Fewer road trips are taken, fewer restaurants are visited, fewer hotel rooms are booked, fewer automobiles are purchased.   Too, fewer people work in those industries.  And then the industries that rely on those industries show weakness.  (Of course the oil companies, the number one targets of AGW warriors, get accused of gouging.)

There is no efficient way to produce wealth without readily attainable energy, and there is no more efficient energy source today than carbon based fuels.  That does not mean it will not change in the future, but these changes can only be financed by societies with sufficient capital to bridge that gap with discoveries that are yet on the horizon or beyond.  Capital, incidentally, that will get sucked out of the economy if AGW believers have their say.

More and more it appears to me as if today's climate science favors those like the Bransons while turning its back on the Francoises and Juans. Sam Branson has nothing to apologize for when it comes to his billionaire family status.

It is AGW theorists who are willing to deny wealth to those clinging to palm trees during hurricanes that should apologize.