People Want to Fix Global Warming as Long as It’s Free

There is a difference what you learn from a poll or survey and what you learn by offering something for sale. Politicians often say they will give the people what they want–as measured by a poll. But often they are only measuring what people want for free. Even if the survey contains some questions about what people would be willing to pay for something, all you get is a speculative guess.

In the market, however, you learn not only what people want but how much they want it relative to all their other wants. In other words, you learn what people are willing to pay for an item–how much they are willing to sacrifice other things they want.

With that background in mind, consider this story at The Federalist: “Great News! Americans Don’t Really Care About Climate Change.”

So after being bombarded with this anxiety-ridden dogma for a couple of decades, it’s unsurprising that upwards of 75 percent of Americans claim to believe climate change is a problem in need of fixing. And most of them say they are willing to do absolutely anything necessary to stop this impending disaster.

Except carpool.

Or ride a bike.

Or skip a vacation.

According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the percentage of cars that run purely on gas has increased over the past three years. Fewer than three percent of all cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and light-duty vehicles run on anything other than gas or diesel. The market for heavily-subsidized alternative-fueled vehicles has fallen. After years of subsidizing unproductive sectors and constantly bolstering the idea that inefficient electric cars are the future, no one really wants them. Even the use of hybrid cars is down from 2013.

In 1980, 64 percent of Americans who commuted to work did so alone in their car. Today, even after massive publicity effort cajoling people to get out of their cars and billions of dollars spent on public transportation projects like light rail, 74 percent of Americans who commute to work do so alone in a car. The percentage of commuters who carpool has fallen by more than half. There are likely a number reasons contributing to this trend—a less-centralized workforce, for instance—but the number has significantly fallen even with the proliferation of HOV lanes and the ceaseless end-of-days rhetoric from our politicians and media.

A few years back, Obama’s transportation secretary told me that America would be transformed by an explosion of people cycling to work and to school. “Like China?” I wondered, not facetiously. Well, in 1980, 0.05 percent of Americans biked to work. Today, 0.06 percent of people do, according to Pew—though, for some unfathomable reason, there has been an explosion of intrusive and impractical bike lanes across the country.

While we can expect the government to try to coerce us to make sacrifices, we need to realize that they are a minority imposing their will on the majority. The people may be confused but they don’t believe in the sacrifices involved in allegedly fighting climate change. (Meanwhile, millennials are less confused; they are more likely to be openly skeptical of the global warming hoax.)

The takeaway from this is that conservatives must keep fighting. The majority is on their side.