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    Op-Ed
    Thursday, July 25, 2024

    Ramaswamy’s hot debate topic

    Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to reporters in the spin room after a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by FOX News Channel Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

    “The climate change agenda is a hoax,” said Vivek Ramaswamy, causing some to gasp because the person expressing this vile attitude could the next president if Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and a few others drop out as Republican opponents. He’d also need Joe Biden to hang in there. The remark was made during a Fox News debate of eight GOP candidates, and a poll said he won it, although there are those of us who say Haley won it.

    He was still remarkable, though, this 38-year-old political newcomer from Ohio. He is a fascinating guy with a biology degree from Harvard, a law degree from Yale, American citizenship because his parents left India and a billion dollars from his work as a gifted high-tech entrepreneur. He is also gifted with a weaponized and sometimes soothing tongue, and the climate comment should have engendered more thought about what in the world our government is up to in its contest with planetary heat.

    One thing is for sure, namely what Haley said. No matter what all the other nations do, none of it will matter a whit If China and India don’t begin massive reductions in their fossil fuel consumption. Understand, too, that if the whole world reduced CO2 emissions to a scientifically preferred goal tomorrow, it would be a long, long time before any cooling was noticed, all the more reason to move intelligently.

    Ramaswamy did not say the climate threat is trivial. After all, animal species are dying out, pain is mounting in some parts of the world and much is getting worse in the United States. That’s partly because of contributions by our federal government and Biden, improperly instructed because he too often looks to his left for help.

    An obvious example of ineptitude was Biden’s initially cutting back on our energy production so we could instead warm the earth by buying fossil fuels from abroad, an act of pointless, costly sacrifice, all pain with no gain. Biden has improved some on that front but then had this idea of limiting power plant operations and thereby stifling electricity if managers didn’t follow certain expensive, unsure instructions. The Supreme Court ruled he had no such right without an emergency decree that he said he had taken care of, although he hadn’t.

    Despite all the gripes, Ramaswamy’s included, the United States is finally doing something right on climate issues, seeking out top companies to enable the removal of measured amounts of CO2 from the air, a capacity that might keep the planet safe while fossil fuels could do their CO2-emitting job without risk. On another subject, however, the government is said by some to be messing things up when it comes to electric cars. Capitalism and the auto industry could do the job if the showoffs would just leave them alone.

    Meanwhile, those most fearing the approach of climate end days, including large numbers of young people, should visit with Bjorn Lomborg, a contrarian expert from Sweden who has pointed out that a half million people die from heat waves every year while 4.5 million die from cold waves. Climate change has been increasing heat deaths each year by 116,000 while reducing cold-wave deaths by 283,000, he has written.

    Something else to keep in mind is that while natural disasters have been increasing, far fewer people have been dying as a consequence. The world has simply become a safer place, and the right policies could make it a still safer place. Among those who help the least are the sorts who rush to misinterpretation when it suits their politics -- or are maybe just carelessness. Some said Ramaswamy said in the debate that climate change itself was a hoax. He didn’t.

    Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.

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