Sometimes, the New England Journal of Medicine seems as interested in promoting politics as in educating doctors. Over the years, the NEJM has published articles supportive of inserting doctors into the gun-control side of the Second Amendment debates, and opposing religious freedom medical conscience rights for doctors, as just a couple of examples.
Now, it has published a piece that castigates natural gas in the cause of fighting global warming. Never mind that the U.S.’s increased reliance on natural gas has allowed us, pretty much alone in the world, to actually reduce our carbon emissions since it produces less carbon dioxide when burned than oil or coal. Natural gas is an evil fossil fuel that must be stopped! From “The False Promise of Natural Gas”:
As physicians deeply concerned about climate change and pollution and their consequences, we consider expansion of the natural gas infrastructure to be a grave hazard to human health. All reasonable analyses indicate that we must leave nearly all remaining fossil fuels in the ground if we are to hold the extent of global warming below 1.5°C, the target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and thus mitigate the health and environmental consequences of climate change.
Don’t Get Them Started
And don’t get them started on fracking, which has liberated us from reliance on the Middle East for our fuels
Plus, they are so upset about global warming they let out their inner authoritarianism, pushing for what would amount to a war on natural gas production and the shuttering of associated industries:
We also recommend that new residential or commercial gas hookups not be permitted, new gas appliances be removed from the market, further gas exploration on federal lands be banned, and all new or planned construction of gas infrastructure be halted. We believe an ill-conceived proposal announced recently by the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back limits on methane pollution needs to be blocked.
At the same time, we call for the creation of new tax structures, subsidies, and incentives such as carbon pricing that favor wind, solar power, and other nonpolluting, renewable energy sources and policies that support energy conservation, clean vehicles, and expansion of public transit.
Nuclear Power, Anyone?
Can we say “depression” and “economic collapse”? No, they don’t say a word about nuclear power!
The issue of global warming and the best way forward for energy production is certainly worth debating. But we don’t need to hearken to a medical journal striving to marshal the authority of doctors to promote policies that have nothing to do with the actual practice of medicine.
So, the next time you hear of the NEJM taking a position on a volatile political issue, consider the source.
Cross-posted at The Corner.