The Biden Administration has invoked the “social cost of carbon” as the guiding principle for every department in the federal bureaucracy, from the Department of Education to the State Department to Transportation. These newly deputized climate warriors are instructed to go forth and slay fossil fuels, wherever they may find them.

The Administration has demanded the fossil fuel industry to surrender – to accept the elimination of fossil fuels for transportation and electricity by 2035 – as part of its “infrastructure plan.”

This directive is more than misguided. It is insane.

How did we get here? How did it happen that fossil fuels – the one technological invention more than any other that has enabled modern society to thrive and flourish – has become hated and despised? How could the byproduct of its combustion – CO2, an odorless, colorless, tasteless, invisible gas which is essential for plant growth and therefore essential for life on earth – become a pariah? According to the woke mob, CO2 is the cause of an imminent “climate crisis.”

CO2 in the atmosphere has only been officially measured since the 1970s, and it exists in such minute amounts that it is calibrated in parts per million. If a petroleum-based CO2 molecule was sitting in a 10,000-molecule basketball stadium, it would be surrounded by 7,900 molecules of nitrogen, 2,000 molecules of oxygen and just 4 molecules of CO2, only one of which (at most) would be derived from fossil fuels. One molecule.

Climate activists tell us that if that one man made molecule of CO2 should grow to a grand total of two by 2100, some kind of climate Armageddon will occur. Isn’t it strange that in the 4.5-billion-year history of the Earth, when erupting volcanoes caused atmospheric CO2 to yo-yo up and down by thousands of parts per million, a similar Armageddon never occurred? Only now, in the year 2021 AD, in the first year of the Biden Administration, does the Earth find itself in this predicament.

The theory is more than strange and bizarre. It is complete rubbish. It is the Big Lie of our time.

The Environmental Protection Agency of the Obama Administration declared CO2 to be a “pollutant.” Think about that. If that is true, then every member the human race is a polluter. Each one of us exhales 2.5 pounds s of CO2 every day. So does every one of the 6,000 species of mammals, the 18,000 species of birds, every species of fish, a million trillion zooplankton in the ocean – every living thing that ingests oxygen on the planet “emits” CO2 as a waste product. The whole biosphere of Earth is, according to the EPA, a polluter.

All of this so-called “pollution” by the Earth’s biosphere dwarfs the tiny amounts that are emitted by the human combustion of fossil fuels. Every molecule of human based CO2 looks and behaves chemically like every other molecule of CO2. For us to believe that fossil fuel CO2 governs the climate, we must indict the whole biosphere of the Earth.

There is no science, nor facts, nor geologic history to back this theory up. But there are plenty of segments of society for whom this theory – as mad and stupid as it is – has found it to be incredibly useful in advancing their respective agendas.

International bureaucrats, such as the UN and the IPCC, find it if wonderfully convenient to justify their budgets and their very existence. Western governmental bureaucracies, like NOAA, NASA, and Hadley Center, which manufacture ever more complicated, involved, and preposterous explanations for the theory’s validity, also are enamored of its ability to justify their budgets and purpose.

Liberals, millennials, and celebrities flock to it in order to virtue signal their support for “saving the planet.” Academics climb on the bandwagon as desperate attempt to demonstrate their relevance. Lost souls, without a family or a cause, latch on to it as false god for a religion that is missing in their lives. Intellectuals are ardent advocates as a demonstration of their superior intellect.

The theory is absolute catnip for politicians, who are constantly trying to manufacture some crisis which can only be solved by voting for them. It provides the high ground for moral narcissists and ruling class elites. It has become a funding bonanza for environmental groups. China can’t stop laughing, all while it continues to build hundreds of new coal power plants.

Russia is also gleeful, as are the many other competitors and enemies of our country, which wish to see us fail and disintegrate.

Rarely has one baseless idea captured the minds and souls, and served the individual agendas, of so many diverse constituencies.

But the most blameworthy actor of all that has let us slide into this predicament is the fossil fuel industry itself, and the utilities and automobile manufacturing companies which rely on their products.

The American Petroleum Institute could have stood up at the beginning and explained how terribly wrong and anti-scientific this theory actually is. It could have launched a campaign to educate the public about the science, geologic history, and rational thinking which exposes the complete absurdity of defining CO2 as a pollutant.

Instead, they chose to appease the idealogues and zealots who support this sad and corrupt cause. They chose actually to admit that CO2 is a harmful “emission,” and therefore, having ceded the truth and the high ground to climate bullies, retreated to the defensive position that natural gas is a fuel which “helps reduce emissions.”

Perhaps they thought this was a cute and clever tactic which would earn them plaudits and “atta-boys” from the New York Times, from the UN, and from all the earnest liberals in their customer base.

“Look what nice, good, caring people we are. We, too, want to save the planet. We will be congratulated by the cognoscenti, by the political class, and by the Smartest People in the room. Right? They wouldn’t actually be so crazy as to call for the abolition of all fossil fuels, would they?”

Oh yes, they would – and they have. The sly and clever tactic has turned into a disaster. And now, fossil fuel industry, you are stuck at Dunkirk, on the beaches of Normandy, surrounded by the enemy, with no more ground left for retreat. The Biden Administration has demanded surrender – throw down your arms and get out of the transportation and electricity business.

You have no choice now. You are going to have to your fight your way out. You are going to have to tell the truth – and you know it’s the truth – and explain why CO2 is not a harmful pollutant: why it is folly to think so; why this notion of “saving the planet” is a myth; why fossil fuels will be an essential part of the next chapter in human history – eradicating poverty, pestilence, and pollution in the undeveloped world. Why abundant fossil fuels are the key to preventing the next war; why fossil fuels and nuclear energy can supply all our needs for abundant, affordable, and reliable electricity as far as the eye can see.

Forget about some silly compromise, or marginally better terms of surrender, such as “carbon capture,” carbon taxes, or extending the date of execution from 2035 to 2045. You have two choices: stand on principle – or surrender. If it is the latter, history will judge you harshly, as it should.

Is that really how you really want to be remembered?

Understand that that there will be casualties. Some of you will get picked off and crushed by the woke climate crowd. Some of you will be ridiculed, ostracized, marched down main street in tar and feathers by earnest liberals, politicians, academics, and the media. Some of you will be forced to retire to “spend more time with your families.” But if you don’t stand up now, the entire industry will be slaughtered, and the rest of the world will suffer from your cowardice.

Edmund Burke said it best: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

It is evil for idealogues to deprive the poor of the benefits of fossil fuels. If not evil, then utterly callous and inhumane.

If you choose surrender, then you deserve what you get, but it is the world that will suffer the consequences of your defeatism. Appeasement never works with idealogues and zealots. And now, after painting yourself into a corner, you have nowhere else to turn. The Biden Administration has demanded your unconditional surrender. You can either sue for peace and suffer the ignominy of defeat or fight your way out.

The whole world is watching.


  • Collister Johnson

    Johnson has spent the last four decades working in the public and private sectors in Virginia, primarily in the fields of project finance and maritime transportation. He began his career in public service as Chairman of the Board of the Virginia Port Authority. He was appointed by President George W. Bush, and confirmed by the Senate, as a member of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and most recently, as Administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. In that capacity, he became knowledgeable in the field of climate and its impact on the Great Lakes. He currently serves on CFACT's Board of Advisors. Johnson holds a B.A. degree from Yale University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.