November 4, 2006

Like a virus mutating to overcome the immune system...

I didn't get around to blogging Bjorn Lomborg's article on the Stern Report—I didn't have anything witty to say. Alan Sullivan did:

I saw news stories about the release of the Stern report in Great Britain. I didn’t bother to link them. Another climate scare — yawn. But this is rather serious. Like a virus mutating to overcome the immune system of its host, the global warming meme has a newly-written line in its DNA. A government-commissioned panel has determined — surprise! — that more government is the answer to hypothetical climate woes. Since Kyoto critics killed off the treaty by insisting it would cost too much, the counterargument is to claim climate change would cost much, much more than any system of confiscation and regulation socialists could concoct...

Climate change is probably one of the things we should be worrying about. But it's almost impossible to deal with it rationally when so many people have seized on it as a fetish-object that will magically rid them of the dynamism and rapid change that they hate.

The Global Warming cultists never want to reveal the philosophy that underlies their thoughts, preferring to don the symbolic white lab coats of scientific objectivity. (Which is ridiculous when you know how politicized the academy is, and note the venom with which it pursues heretics from its climate "consensus.") They are afraid to expose their ideas to criticism.

But I can tell you what their philosophy is. They want to go back to the world I grew up in, where it was assumed, with almost no questioning, that experts could run things with much better results than the marketplace. (This was always mostly about government running things, but I remember when it was also thought that "scientific" business management was going to give giant entities like GM and IBM and AT&T and Pan Am(!) an unbeatable advantage, thus bringing order and stability to the messy economic sphere.)

[And yes, I'm aware that arguments that run, "Here's what you think and here's why it's wrong" are often illegitimate. But this is meant as an invitation to make counter-arguments. If I'm wrong, make a case! Show why I'm wrong. I double-dare you.]

And I can tell you what my philosophy is when I approach these questions---I'm not afraid to be open...

One basic element of my thinking is, you can't go backwards. The only way out is forward. Though the fire to the other side. In the question of Climate Change this is obvious to the point of triviality when you recognize that developing countries are now contributing half of carbon emissions, and their share is rising. One can at least imagine the US or Europe hobbling their economic growth, but China? India? Malaysia? Get serious. (It is a clear indicator of how fraudulent the Gore-ites are, that their bashing is always against Bush, never Deng.)

The corollary of this is that solutions will come through economic and scientific development. The world needs to get richer and smarter and more knowledgeable fast. The crucial resource is people, and we need to have more of the world's brains working on development of all sorts. (I suspect population growth itself is a positive development.) And the best way to do that is to spread American ideas of freedom and capitalism and individual initiative far and wide. And the best way to do that is Globalization—in fact that is precisely what Globalization is. I suggest that anyone who is serious about dealing with Climate Change is in favor of Globalization. (I'm NOT saying that Globalization or development are unalloyed good things. But I suggest that for this question they are.)

More specifically, the one technology we have available right now that could make a big difference in carbon emissions is nuclear power. So I further suggest that a test of whether a person is serious on this issue is that they are openly thinking nuclear. And to get more specific yet, a good test is whether they have the simple awareness that nuclear power technology has advanced greatly in safety, reliability and efficiency over the last few decades. People who are still talking Chernobyl or Three Mile Island are flakes. They don't know what's going on.

BY BJORN LOMBORG: The report on climate change by Nicholas Stern and the U.K. government has sparked publicity and scary headlines around the world. Much attention has been devoted to Mr. Stern's core argument that the price of inaction would be extraordinary and the cost of action modest.

Unfortunately, this claim falls apart when one actually reads the 700-page tome. Despite using many good references, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is selective and its conclusion flawed. Its fear-mongering arguments have been sensationalized, which is ultimately only likely to make the world worse off...

Posted by John Weidner at November 4, 2006 8:29 AM
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