Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ll on Global Warming

This is a little series I'd figured and try and put together for the new year, to allow readers, both new and old, to better understand the lonely libertarian's positions.

I figured I'd start with global warming because global warming has become the poster child for issues that should never have been politicized in the first place. My concern is in regards to the public's view of global warming on public perception about measures that should be taken. The notion of "scientific consensus" has been bandied about, but what that scientific consensus is is far more limited than the mainstream media would have you believe.

Yes, most scientists believe that the earth is currently undergoing a warming trend, and most scientists believe that theoretically, it is possible for man-made carbon emissions to cause increases in temperature. And that is the extent of "scientific consensus." There is no scientific consensus as to how much humans are responsible for the current warming trend, nor is there any consensus about what the effects of a warming trend would be.

When it comes to global warming, many people seem to inconveniently forget that the earth's climate is always changing- we're always going through cooling and warming cycles. If we can't completely explain the ice ages and various other climate changes, how can we be sure about what man is contributing to the current warming trend. And if all of this science is unclear, how can we possibly think there are political solutions to be had. Public policy should be based on hard science, not apocalyptic suppositions. How can we hope for rational solutions when we don't precisely know what the problem is.

And let's suppose the apocalyptic predictions are true. The real inconvenient truth about global warming is that any real solutions would adversely impact the third world poor more than anyone else. The New York Times ran a story a few weeks ago that a sulfur producing plant in China produces as much global warming pollution as all the cars in the United States. And this is common. The fact of the matter is that the cheapest technology is generally the least environmentally friendly. Strict environmental mandates can be difficult enough in the developed world- in the developing world strict mandates would not just inhibit economic growth, but condemn the third world poor to substandard living conditions.

I for one have a moral problem with dictating that the third world should remain in poverty, particularly when there is no scientific consensus when it comes to global warming solutions.


Post a Comment

<< Home