Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beck flies his "frioconservative" flag

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frioconservative reactionary?

In his newsletter from 7/13/2010, Glenn Beck took a swipe at Stan Cox in a paragraph entitled, "The case against air conditioning?"

Yup, in the middle of one of the hottest streaks of summer, the eco-freaks are out in force arguing that it's time to unplug air conditioners. Here's a taste of the article: "In a world without air conditioning, a warmer, more flexible, more relaxed workplace helps make summer a time to slow down again. Three-digit temperatures prompt siestas." Sounds wonderful! Let's be just like Europe - even though last time they had a major heat wave, over 30,000 people needlessly died. But hey, they were martyrs for Mother EarthSTORY

The STORY, "In the heat wave, the case against air conditioning," Washington Post, July 11, 2010, was written by Stan Cox who basically pointed out that:
Cox is the author of Losing our Cool.

In a country that's among the world's highest greenhouse-gas emitters, air conditioning is one of the worst power-guzzlers. The energy required to air-condition American homes and retail spaces has doubled since the early 1990s. Turning buildings into refrigerators burns fossil fuels, which emits greenhouse gases, which raises global temperatures, which creates a need for -- you guessed it -- more air-conditioning.

He then asks:

A.C.'s obvious public-health benefits during severe heat waves do not justify its lavish use in everyday life for months on end. Less than half a century ago, America thrived with only the spottiest use of air conditioning. It could again. While central air will always be needed in facilities such as hospitals, archives and cooling centers for those who are vulnerable to heat, what would an otherwise A.C.-free Washington look like?

The Glenn Beck Review asked Stan Cox to reply to Beck's comments. The following is Cox's response to Glenn Beck:

A martyr is someone who voluntarily suffers and/or dies for a cause or principle. The tens of thousands of people who died during the European heat wave of 2003 were not "martyrs to Mother Nature", and they did not go willingly. They certainly did not die in order to assert their right to live without air-conditioning. And the nations of that region had put no "eco-freaky" anti-air-conditioning policies in place; rather, Western Europe normally enjoys a mildness of climate that is unusual on this often-harsh planet, and, except in extreme situations, most of that region has no need for air-conditioning.

In contrast, we have designed America's society and economy to be dependent on air-conditioning; as a result, it has become an important public-health last resort during severe heat waves such as the one that hit much of the eastern U.S. and Canada last week. But that doesn't constitute a sufficient rationale for the more widespread, lavish, and growing use of mechanical cooling for months each year during normal warm or hot weather. Similarly, a heavily armored Humvee is a good vehicle to have if you're going to drive through a combat zone, but it's not the best choice for everyday transportation.

The 2003 European heat wave was a freak event (freak, that is, on the planet we are accustomed to, but it could be a common occurrence on the planet that Mr. Beck and his science-impervious followers have planned for us.) The consequences were dreadful, but had Europe been as refrigerant-addicted as is this country--had its population's physical and mental heat tolerance been eroded by decades of life in a climate-controlled bubble; had its economy been confining millions of office employees in the depths of sunless, refrigerated office blocks, forcing them to bring sweaters and space heaters to work in July; had entire nations become dependent on fragile technologies rather than on resilient communities to get them through tough times--then the death toll would have climbed even higher as power failures crippled an air-conditioning-dependent infrastructure. 

The Declaration of Independence is very specific about what's important: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There is no mention of a right to twelve-month, twenty-four-hour comfort. And America's love of air-conditioning grows out of a desire for comfort, not survival. Addiction to fossil fuels has made us soft, and it is sapping the strength that we'll need to survive in the future.

Cox is the author of Losing Our Cool, Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air Conditioned World and Finding Ways to Get Through the Summer.

For reviews of the book, go to Cox's website where the book can be ordered. For more on the public reaction to his article in the Washington Post, see Cox's blog, ""Flush faced comments from frioconservatives."

"Eco-freaks" vs. "frioconservatives"

Can't we all just set aside our differences to save the Earth from the hell scape projected by Earth scientists if we don't fundamentally transform our economic system into an energy-exporting, post-fossil fuel green economy? Not if Glenn Beck gets his way.


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