With Sri Lanka’s short-lived green revolution of 2021 having quickly devolved into a real revolution just one year later, complete with the ouster of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s incompetent and authoritarian government this past week, now is a good time to hammer home not only why the effort failed, but why so-called ESG (environmental, social, and governance) policies and the green energy movement more generally are hopeless and destructive wastes of time.
That modern life is totally reliant on carbon-emitting fossil fuels is no reason to lose one’s head. And even though human-caused climate change is a virtual certainty, that is no reason to mindlessly hand over power to distant technocrats who promise to fix anything if only given the authority to engage in their dubious to morally outrageous social-engineering projects. Nor is it any reason to plow money into so-called ESG funds, which are thinly veiled shams, featuring virtually the same equities as most general S&P index funds but with substantially higher fees.
Demand reliably produces supply. Already many entrepreneurs and corporations are pioneering devices that will help to mitigate or even reverse the effects of climate change. Things may get worse before they get better. I don’t know what the future holds, and neither does anyone else. Respecting the limitations of knowledge and of the human ability to control things is central to allowing free exchange, the foundation of the capitalism that has made us all richer and better off than we would otherwise have been. The alternative is looking like Sri Lanka.