Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Study In Verbal Manipulation: The Global Warming Panic

The lonely libertarian's war on "global warming" isn't so much based on any strong scientific viewpoints as it is upon the tactics used by the enviro-disaster crowd. Once again, take yet another piece from the New York Times' Andrew Revkin:New Study Warns Of Effects Of Melting Polar Ice.

Like the vast majority of the public, I am in no place to debate the science of global warming. However, there is a tremendous difference between scientific studies, and the urgent calls for action made by some journalists and climate scientists. Sea levels are rising, but as the article points out, disagreement remains over the causes of those rise in sea levels.

But significant disagreements remain over whether recent changes in sea level and ice conditions cited in the new studies could be attributed to rising concentrations of the greenhouse gases and temperatures linked by most experts to human activities.
Sea levels have been rising for thousands of years as an aftereffect of the warming and polar melting that followed the last ice age, which ended about 10,000 years ago. Discriminating between that residual effect and any new influence from human actions remains impossible for the moment, many experts say.

But still, Revkin feels compelled to end the article on this note:

Dr. Overpeck, the co-author of the paper on sea-level rise, acknowledged the uncertainties. But he said that in a world in which humans, rich and poor, increasingly cluster on coasts, the risks were great enough to justify prompt action. "People driving big old S.U.V.'s to their favorite beach or coastal golf course," he said, should "start to think twice about what they might be doing."

Assume for a minute that there was no debate, and the actions of mankind are in fact causing global warming, and are in fact going to cause sea levels to rise worldwide. As this Dr. Overpeck points out, the biggest issue is the effects such changes have on us. And doesn't this just amount to a balance of the benefits of modern technology and modern amenities with the potential problems caused by a rise in sea level and a slight rise in temperature. It actually sounds quite like an economic cost-benefit analysis. Funny though, the enviro-disaster crowd never likes to frame it that way.


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