Climate change is an obvious fact. The threat to civilization posed by a shifting climate is only exacerbated by the demographic problems looming in the distance.

Populations are increasing at an incredible rate, while our capacity to feed the masses weakens. As our economy grows, more energy is used, and as more energy is used the coming crisis is accelerated. Our unbounded consumption continues to rule our lives and it has become clear that our current path is unsustainable. The only thing left to decide is this; from where does the greatest threat to our liberty originate, the changing climate or the government that tries to prevent it?

Regardless of the particulars of science invoked, we have a problem. Human lust for material things is seemingly infinite while the resources of this world are finite. The crisis may not be imminent, it may be hundreds of years away. It may be brought about entirely by man or it may be brought about through nature's wrath. From these simple propositions the only conclusion that can be drawn is that human beings must fundamentally alter our modern existence, or we will be forced to—and if we are forced to the transition will be very unpleasant. This idea is clear, concise and simple.

Just consider, for a moment that the worst hyperbole of Al Gore's dogma were to come true. Coastal cities all around the world are submerged in rising ocean waters and the residents now homeless. How many millions of climate refugees would flee towards the mainland? An already unsustainable society will be pushed to the breaking point and society will have to choose between despotic rule or anarchy, security or liberty. There can be no doubting that the looming crisis will bring about more authoritarian government. If we balk in the face of this challenge, the blow to human dignity and human progress will be great.

Thomas Jefferson, one of many great Republicans, etched in eternity a timeless creed regarding the existence of all men. Essential to this creed was the idea of liberty. Liberty is, however, a double edged sword. It implies not simply a right to exercise certain freedoms, but a responsibility to respect the rights of others. The principles of government outlined in the Declaration of Independence embody the only moral basis for government. Up until now these principles have guided our society and allowed it to flourish, but we have reached a point where our disregard for the challenge ahead will leave future generations less free than our own. Our concept of liberty needs some rethinking, and the solution may be found in environmentalism.

The principles of ecological wisdom distinguish between present liberty and future liberty. This distinction can be used to grow our understanding of natural rights, but it is perverted by those who placed future liberty in higher regard than present liberty. Those who believe we must sacrifice our present liberty for our future liberty are sorely mistaken. Rather than a higher, worldlier view, ecological wisdom and the protection of future liberty constitute the natural continuation of Jefferson's proposition.

Present liberty is the foundation upon which future liberty rests, and liberty today begets liberty tomorrow. Although modern environmentalists, under the guise of the green movement, believe they are the sole arbiters of future liberty, the actions they have taken on behalf of the green ideal have placed modern civilization on a course that will preserve neither the liberty of today, nor the liberty of tomorrow.

Environmentalism has certainly brought great awareness to the issue, but they have done so at great cost. Through the electric maze of pop culture, the global warming mantra left a false impression of good science on the susceptible masses. So made by these prejudices and passions, opinions are then transmitted to representative government. However, upon arriving at the door of a politician, the idea has become so convoluted, that the solution he will suggest is unlikely to fix the problem. The environmentalists along with that cousin they feel weird about—the Democratic Party—believe they are promoting awareness and proposing solutions. The problem is their solutions are suspiciously authoritarian and somewhat devious.

Every "solution" proposed by the left centralizes the administration of power over the governed. Republicans have gained a bad reputation for opposing the environmental policies of the left, not because they hate the environment, but because they love their freedom. The climate bill currently being considered in the legislature is a product of the scientific prejudices of the masses. In vain legislators covet public will, seeking to regulate something formless and fleeting, carbon dioxide. Once the government has extended the scope of its authority to include the regulation of carbon dioxide, the reach of the regulatory arm is boundless. There will be no engine too small, no activity too normal, and no cow fart too quiet, to escape the notice of government.

In the current federal legislature a climate bill, otherwise known as Cap and Trade, is currently being considered. The most extensive regulatory reform ever considered before a legislature, the bill is ripe with graft, kick-backs, and corporate giveaways. Whether or not the reform could even produce significant change in emissions is imponderable, especially considering the obvious problems with enforcement. The real problem with the bill is that it precludes any other cause of global warming but carbon. While much evidence exists supporting a relationship between temperatures and carbon levels, many studies have found other influences such as solar cycles. I do not doubt the majority of climate research, but I do consider the possibility that we are simply insignificant in the face of nature's wrath.

Call me a pessimist, but I believe the habits which contribute to the looming disaster have such great inertia that the crisis is inevitable. The prescription for our planet's fever is not more government. We cannot seek to mitigate this crisis by restraining our economy or depressing commercial activity through regulation. We can only adapt to the changing world by creating an environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs to begin creating the technology. In order to overcome the challenges presented by the climate crisis, we must accept the inevitable, and learn to live in a changing climate.

Only a strategy of active adaptation to the crisis at hand can preserve both present and future liberty. A strategy of mitigation and prevention, the strategy pursued by the green movement, will erode the liberty of the day and forsake the liberty of tomorrow.