Climate and Air Conditioning

This article is by Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. and comes from An Objectivist Individualist. It was posted there on 4 August 2018.

When it is hot outside in the developed nations, we turn on our air conditioners at home, at work, and in our cars.  This includes the alarmists who claim that greenhouse gases are dangerously warming the Earth.  Insofar as the Earth should warm, we would use more air-conditioning to mitigate its troublesome effects.  But no, we are now told that the current generation of refrigerants cannot be used because they are greenhouse gases.  Those who are convinced that the Earth is catastrophically warming want to disarm many by making air-conditioning much more expensive.

Let us examine the background of this story.  The Montreal Protocol, ratified as a global environmental treaty by the U.S. Senate in 1988, restricted the production of refrigerants then in use because they were said to be destroying ozone.  Bill Clinton’s Dept. of Energy also required air-conditioners to become 30% more efficient, which required larger and more expensive air-conditioners.  I remember well because I had to replace a home air-conditioning system with a much more expensive one using the new refrigerants that replaced the restricted ones.  I also had problems with the refrigerant in the air-conditioner in my well-used and aged car.  I was not happy with my government for causing me these problems.

Now we come to the present crisis.  The Obama people decided that the Montreal Protocol should be used to force the end of the production of the supposedly ozone-friendly refrigerants developed to replace the less expensive and highly effective refrigerants that preceded the Montreal Protocol.  The new refrigerants developed by Honeywell and Chemours and others will replace refrigerants priced at $6 per pound with refrigerants priced at more than $70 per pound.  Home air-conditioner units may use 15 pounds of refrigerant at a cost of more than $1050 for the new refrigerants.  Honeywell and Chemours and other refrigerant manufacturers are lobbying hard to have the U.S. government force us to replace our current air-conditioners once again and replace them with air-conditioners using their newly developed gold-plated refrigerants.  The reason is the terrifying prospect of catastrophic man-made global warming.

Except, there is no catastrophic man-made global warming.  Carbon dioxide has a trivial effect on the Earth’s surface temperatures.  Whatever effect the present generation of refrigerants has is trivial in comparison to the trivial effect of carbon dioxide.  But, never let a potential scare tactic go unused when someone can profit from it.  And what is a government for if not to provide the means to force the People to do as some special interest group wants them to do.  In this case, we are to be forced to make it easy for the producers of the new air-conditioning units and the new refrigerants to make a killing in the air-conditioning market.

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Perhaps the added costs of air-conditioning will then reinforce the claim that global warming would be a catastrophe, making many environmentalists very happy.  That would provide them with hopes of an easier path to gaining even more power over the People.  Meanwhile, the Democrats who most further these environmentalist power games will be degrading the lives of Americans and others around the world, most especially the poor who can least afford the new gold-plated air-conditioning systems.  Once again, the Democrats have put the lie on their pretended care for the poor and the less fortunate among us.  There is no statement more terrifying than that of the Democrats saying that they are the party that cares for you.  When they do that, they really mean that they intend to subjugate you.  They are saying they have a place for you on their plantation.  In this case, a hot place with no air-conditioning.

Ayn Rand: In Her Own Words

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