Political pollution: The true cost of petroleum


Despite all the well-reasoned arguments and scientific studies, the decades of debate and the disappearing ice caps, the fate of gas conservation seems to rise and falls with the thermometer. For much of the public, sweltering summers and balmy winters offer evidence of global warming, while chilly summers and frigid winters suggest that ozone depletion, greenhouse gases, and smog are not as important as various climatologists and Al Gore would have us believe.

Ironically, conservation's Achilles' heel comes from its staunchest defenders. The environmentalism movement has put most of its eggs in the global warming basket, pushing the notion that the dangers of petroleum consumption can be more or less boiled down to climate change. Of course, if global warming isn't really happening, or if climate change can be reversed -- as a recent Scientific American article suggests -- then the argument against Hummers falls apart, suggesting that humanity can continue its locust-like consumption of resources.

Originally published