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Over 31,000 U.S. scientists believe freedom -- not restriction -- is the answer.

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Human Rights, Science and the Energy Emergency

Over 31,000 U.S. scientists believe freedom — not restriction — is the answer.

More than 31,000 U.S. scientists have signed a petition rejecting the claims that human release of greenhouse gases is damaging our climate — see www.petitionproject.org 

This petition states:

“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

Millions of Americans are being battered by an economic crisis caused largely by energy shortages and rapidly increasing prices for energy.

Yet, the United Nations and other vocal political interests say the U.S. must enact new laws that will sharply reduce domestic energy production and raise energy prices even higher. These special interests claim that continued use of hydrocarbon fuels will destroy the Earth’s climate and cause many environmental catastrophes. Hydrocarbon fuels account for 85% of current United States energy supplies.

What should the U.S government do in response to this situation? The answer is provided by science, economics, and the basic principles of human rights.

The inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness include the right of access to life-giving and life-enhancing technology. This is especially true of access to the most basic of all technologies: energy. These human rights have been extensively and wrongly abridged.

During the past two generations in the U.S., a system of high taxation, extensive regulation, and ubiquitous litigation has arisen that prevents the accumulation of sufficient capital and the exercise of sufficient freedom to build and preserve needed modern technology.

These unfavorable political trends have severely damaged our energy production, where lack of industrial progress has left our country dependent upon foreign sources for 30% of the energy required to maintain our current level of prosperity.

Moreover, the transfer of other U.S. industries abroad as a result of these same trends has left U.S. citizens with too few goods and services to trade for the energy that they do not produce. A huge and unsustainable trade deficit and rapidly rising energy prices have been the result.

These difficulties are entirely unnecessary. The hydrocarbon resources — coal, oil, natural gas, and other hydrocarbon reserves — and the nuclear energy resources of the United States can provide abundant fuel for low-cost energy in the U.S. for many future centuries. Moreover, the necessary hydrocarbon and nuclear energy production technologies have been available to U.S. engineers for many decades. We can develop these resources without harm to people or the environment. There is absolutely no technical, resource, or environmental reason for the U.S. to be a net importer of energy. The U.S. should, in fact, be a net exporter of energy.

Now, new laws are being proposed that will further infringe on our human rights by severely restricting access to hydrocarbon energy. These proposals are being justified by claims that release of carbon dioxide from continued hydrocarbon energy production will destroy the climate of the Earth and cause catastrophic disasters. These claims are based upon the publications of the United Nations, whose power, prestige, and revenues would be greatly increased by world taxation and rationing of hydrocarbon energy.

However, the scientific hypothesis known as “human-caused global warming” — which is the basis of these United Nations claims — has been discredited and invalidated by unequivocal experimental research data and sound scientific interpretations of that data. This is attested to by the more than 31,000 U.S. scientists in relevant scientific fields — over 9,000 of whom hold PhD degrees — who have signed this petition.

It is tragic for industries, workers, and families that this shortage of low cost energy has occurred. In order to correct this problem and to ensure that it does not recur, the current high level of taxation, regulation, and litigation of U.S. energy industries must be reduced, so that free enterprise — working with private capital and without tax funds or subsidies — can build new U.S. hydrocarbon and nuclear power capacity as quickly as possible.

It has been suggested that technologies other than hydrocarbon and nuclear are also abundant, reliable, and affordable sources of energy. This is best determined in the free market. Elimination of all tax subsidies and marked reduction of taxation, regulation, and litigation of all energy-production industries will allow economically healthy competition. This will ease the current energy crisis and provide abundant energy for future prosperity.

In order to alleviate the current energy emergency and prevent future emergencies, we need to remove the governmental restrictions that have caused this problem. Fundamental human rights require that U.S. citizens and their industries be free to produce and use the low cost, abundant energy that they need. As the 31,000 signatories of this petition emphasize, environmental science supports this freedom.

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Written By

Dr. Arthur Robinson is President and Research Professor of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

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