Carbon to the Rescue

January 2, 2014

(WALL STREET JOURNAL) Reporting on the environmental movement has always required a certain sense of humor. And now we have an expedition launched in part to study the melting of Antarctic ice sheets that has been trapped since Christmas in ice so thick that rescue attempts have failed to reach the frozen vessel.

In an earlier age, explorers who so badly underestimated the expanse of polar ice would surely have perished. But the 74 passengers and crew of the Akademik Shokalskiy are thriving. An expedition spokesman reports that, “Surprisingly, all the passengers seem to be considering it the adventure of a lifetime.”

And why not? The rich abundance of our carbon-based economy has not only provided the means to sustain their lives, but even to post a cheerful sing-along on Youtube. And the helicopters and ships participating in the next rescue attempt aren’t powered by renewable-energy credits.

Still, some readers may be concerned about the carbon footprints these eco-tourists will leave behind. Not to worry. These hardy explorers have pledged to plant trees on another continent to offset the carbon they burn now.

In this season of new beginnings we have here a chance to appreciate the amazing technologies created by free people. For they allow us to laugh at the folly of our fellow humans, rather than having to mourn their passing.