Common Sense 120 gets two posts. Mukasey’s Paradox deals with the first half of the show. This one is about the second half. Dan Carlin continues to talk about global warming, even though polls have shown that Global Warming now world’s most boring topic.
Seriously, I’ve gotten back into my forum addiction of late, and they’ve been beating the dead horse of environmentalism over at Dan Carlin’s forum for quite awhile now.
The news article that inspired show 120’s second half (the source of which Dan won’t reveal) sounds like it was written by the average socialist turned environmentalist. Anyone who can use the phrase culture of growth as a negative is someone whose opinions can be discarded. Sorry, that’s how I feel.
In Dan’s defense, he doesn’t buy into this article either. In fact, the tough question is really about global warming supplanting the real environmental concerns of the average citizen. Cleaner water, cleaner air. Out of control consumption. Let’s deal with the problems we can handle, hope that we won’t have to give up our freedom in order to save the planet. Which is what the promoters of combating global warming are really asking for.
Some examples of the arguments I’ve been in lately.
Anyway, just becasue all of these things are true, I don’t understand why this means we shouldn’t begin changes in our society to lower GHG emmissions. Not only do these contribute to climate change, but they also affect health, air quality, and visibility.
Because there isn’t any way to do it with current technologies without top down command and control type scenarios. If you take all the cars off the roadway and force everybody onto buses, the impact on pollution would not be that significant. Studies have show (in Austin, anyway) that it’s not vehicle exhaust that causes the majority of pollution these days, it’s businesses (that gets back to the EPA and the disconnection that was put in place to keep people from being able to sue polluters directly) which are given license to do so. These studies don’t stop the EPA from requiring expensive vehicle inspections, all the same. There is already too much command and control, and it’s not working.
If new technologies emerge (and if gas prices continue to climb, they will) that produce cleaner burning fuels, or transportation options that are superior (read as more convenient) for the individual, then the GHG problem becomes a moot issue. Any attempt to reduce GHG (as the study shows) with current technologies will not yield a net benefit. The developing nations are always excluded from these plans, and the majority of new emissions are going to come from those countries.
We are at a crossroads, just as civilization was at a crossroads in the late 1800’s, when whale oil drove industry, and consumption projections showed that there weren’t enough whales to provide the oil to sustain growth. Some people ran around screaming about the end of the world, proposing scenarios of doom and gloom for the world’s future. Other people went out and developed crude oil as a replacement.
Put me in the latter camp this time around as well.
One of the threads dealt with a news piece over at Fox News. I would have disregarded it, but it’s by an author that I respect that I first ran across at CATO.
And then you get these sorts of responses:
Scientific American has an excellent article entitled “The Physics of Climate Change” published about a year ago.
One way of viewing the AGW debate is to treat the problem of cost like buying insurance. If we’re incorrect about AGW and all the carbon we are dumping into the atmosphere doesn’t act as a blanket the way the laws of physics have demonstrated it does, we’ve bought insurance we haven’t used. If however, CO2 and other greenhouse gases block reflected infrared light, as is almost certainly happening, we’ll be very relieved to have stated mitigation earlier. Ounces and prevention, you know.
…except that we can never afford the cost of the insurance required. That is the point Lott is actually echoing (rather than the title of the thread) which is the main argument in Goklany’s paper. That even if global warming is occurring (which isn’t proven) and even if humans are causing AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming, which also isn’t proven) that we can’t know for certain that a fractional rise in temperature isn’t a good thing (and we don’t) and that we can’t make the kind of impact that the laymen thinks we can simply by passing laws and sacrificing comfort. That negating human impact on the climate is a pipe dream.
No one is talking about stopping innovation and not having cleaner air, water, whatever. There are too many armchair environmentalists out there who are willing to pay extra for the knowledge that they aren’t hurting the environment. Innovation in these areas will occur anyway. What Lott and Goklany are saying (and I agree with) is that let’s get the best return on investment, let’s only pay for the insurance we need, rather than bankrupt society trying to return the world to a natural state that never existed in the first place, which is the goal of the hardcore environmentalists.
Lott at CATO: http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=3996
Indur Goklany’s policy paper What to Do about Climate Change, also at CATO. These are the pieces that need to be argued against, if you are going to argue. …and businesses are innovating all the time trying to catch that elusive environmentalist dollar.
REI, anybody? How about Whole Foods? What about the fact that you can’t find a carpet, flooring or paint manufacturer these days who doesn’t push their recycled low-VOC minimal environmental impact products? Businesses follow the dollar, and the average dollar is green.
Plants indeed use carbon dioxide, but the flaw to your point is deforestation.
Here are some study findings contradicting that doom and gloom argument.
Demand for wood may lead to forest growth, not decline, study says
Increased demand for forest products was a cause of increased forest cover in India during the last three decades, according to a joint study by researchers at Brown and Harvard University in the May 2003 Quarterly Journal of Economics. The finding contradicts the idea that economic development inevitably leads to deforestation.Brown University
When I was growing up, we burned our garbage in an ash can in the back yard. The city would come by once a month to collect the ashes and metal, and dump it in a big hole just outside of town. We would go out there with our .22 rifles on occasion and shoot rats. No one ever checked their gas mileage (other than to guess when they’d need to fill up again) and emission controls were unheard of, as were seat belts.
I was a poster child of environmentalism not long after that. Recycling cans and bottles, recycling paper (which has largely proven to be a wasted effort. Paper recycling has a negative impact on the environment) I was chewed out by more than one person at my first office for being too militant about recycling.
Then the government got involved, and the socialists (or statists if you prefer) saw an inroad for their recently discredited political movement, and shifted their focus to pushing for environmental concerns, needing more government to fix the environmental problems.
Global Warming is a socialist’s wet dream, because there is no way to fix it without handing all control over to the state, and relying on the elite to tell us what we can and can’t do. Carbon footprints and consumption monitoring. I’ve refused to call myself an environmentalist since then.
If the only choice I have is between my choice and no choice, I’ll take my choice and the possible end of the world as we know it, for a thousand, Alex.
Editor’s note, 2019. I am one insufferable smartass when I think I’m right. Quips and jargon all over the place. Also? The crafting of this post exposes my earlier lack of understanding for how context relates meaning and why I need to construct longer narratives to explain concepts that aren’t included in short little soundbites. The kind of soundbites that my early writing is littered with. I have no idea what was in the various threads that I was writing rebuttals for now, and I don’t care enough to go dig up what they were because I was so seriously wrong in my arguments at the time.
…and I was completely wrong about AGW and climate change. Another Bowl of Crow that I’m working through.
The greening effect of historically unprecedented levels of CO2 does answer the objection about deforestation in more solid and in some ways frightening detail than the study that says demand for paper will spur on more tree planting. Trees growing faster raises some disturbing problems for trees and the people who live around them, as well as making reforestation something that can happen at a faster rate. I still reject the doom and gloom, but the margin for rejecting it is getting smaller.