Man-Made Global Warming Inhibitions Begin to Fall

Who was it that claimed that conservatives always tend to flock together? Well, the flock is breaking apart as John McCain, Newt Gingrich, and more Republicans jump on the establishment's man-made (double entendre' intended) global warming bandwagon. Hopefully, as the wagon makes its move down the highway to government hell, you will resist the urge to conform.

In much the same way as conservatives claim that liberals coddle terrorists, liberals claim that conservatives don't care much about the environment. Both claims are not very truthful. When it comes to the environment, however, conservatives temper respect for the environment with an understanding of the facts that (1) a lot of the fear of global warming is based on estimates and computer models which don't match the facts of the last 10 years, (2) human ingenuity can solve such problems if they ever really become problems, and (3) government "solutions"

Most people who are poor in the world today are poor due to government oppression. Ironically, more oppression is NRDC's "solution" to the current "problem".

to global warming will become a huge economic detriment to American (and international) society.

America's Climate Security Act (ACSA), sponsored by US Senators Joe Lieberman (Independent) and John Warner (Republican), has been around for about a year now, and will be debated in June in the Senate. Just in time to impress you with how dead you're going to be if you don't support this government takeover of the economy, the Natural Resources Defense Council released its most recent research.

ACSA, if implemented will cause a sharp increase in energy prices. It has always been relatively straightforward to indicate what the costs will be if certain governmental regulations are put in place. Now, though, not to be outdone in forecasting economic catastrophe, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Tufts University catalog the costs that would accrue if we don't do something about man-caused global warming. Interestingly (coincidentally?), the alleged costs of doing nothing, which ascribe many costs to rising sea levels, fiercer storms, and higher temperatures, are just

In much the same way as conservatives claim that liberals coddle terrorists, liberals claim that conservatives don't care much about the environment. Both claims are not very truthful.

about the same as the alleged costs of doing something.

More importantly, over half of the NRDC-alleged costs will be due to increased cost of scarce water as a result of drought conditions. None of the costs factor in the change in human behavior that would occur if these scare-tactic scenarios were to actually occur.

The timing of the NRDC/Tufts study seems suspect, coming just days before Senate debate will begin on ACSA. The report admits that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report for 2007 is
the most pessimistic of the business-as-usual climate forecasts considered “likely” by the scientific community
which pessimistic projections never seem to factor in human ingenuity. Nonetheless, to ensure that you are still scared out of your pants and will not give up your support for future, greater government domination over your life, NRDC states that the IPCC 2007 report "is still far from the worst case [global warming] scenario".

NRDC continues its gloomy forecast
Droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes have already caused multibillion-dollar losses, and these extreme weather events will likely become more frequent and more devastating as the climate continues to change.
Admitting that
Many economic models have [unsuccessfully] attempted to capture the costs of climate change for the United States
NRDC claims that it has come up with the model to end all models, a model which is completely accurate (and a model that naturally claims that the costs of not acting are much higher than we first thought). To ensure that we feel sufficiently guilty in order to believe their estimates, NRDC reminds us of the plight of the poor:
...many of the poorest countries around the world will experience damages that are much larger as a percentage of their national output. For countries that have fewer resources with which to fend off the consequences of climate change, the impacts will be devastating.
NRDC fails to point out that most people who are poor in the world today are poor due to government oppression (ironically the "solution" to the current "problem"

As more and more so-called leaders band together in support of draconian government reform, the lack of difference between the terms "Republican" and "Democrat" will become more apparent.

from NRDC's perspective), and that the poor will have absolutely no chance of pulling themselves out of poverty as government restrictions make it more costly to do so.

As more and more so-called leaders from both sides of the aisle band together in support of draconian government reform to curb global warming, the lack of difference between the terms "Republican" and "Democrat" will become more apparent. Also more apparent will be the simultaneous realignment of those who believe government can solve all problems vs. those who believe that liberty can cure a host of ills--even man-made global warming.




Comments

  1. I will at some future point be making a comprehensive post of my own about environmentalism, and so won't address all your points here. I will agree that climate modeling and prediction is far from an exact science. I would like to suggest two thoughts to consider:

    Yes, it is inaccurate to say conservatives don't care about the environment. I do believe it is fairly accurate to say that conservatives (generally speaking) are more concerned with economic considerations (or more specifically, financial benefit and modern cycles of consumption) than the health of the environment overall. Many conservative advocates and leaders seem to be more concerned with corporate profits and cultivating our culture of conspicuous consumption in the pursuit of those profits than the long-term health of our communities and planet. Consider, for instance, Cheney's "our life style is not negotiable" comment.

    Second, I suppose I'm more skeptical than you about the tendency of the free-market to solve all our problems (or, as you put it, "human ingenuity can solve such problems if they ever really become problems"). Humanity (or, if you prefer, "The Market") has a rich history of leaping headlong into projects and programs--private as much as public--without considering all the ramifications, and then suffering all sorts of social and ecological unintended consequences. In other words, human ingenuity gets us into as many messes as it solves. I do not believe that human ingenuity will ultimately provide any magic pill to solve the very real ecological problems of rampant, oft ill-considered, human economic activity. The real solution lies in embracing less materialistic/financial values and simply consuming less.

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  2. Political systems, like living organisms, work to thrive and expand. While politics is about compromise, it is all about who gets to control whom via coercive powers. The main reason you see GOP folks evangelizing about global warmism is that it is seen as a pathway to power.

    Socialists have long known that the only way to get the people to accede increasing power to the government is to create neverending crises that seem so large and immminent that only massive government action is perceived to be able to solve the problem.

    Since we have people of various political stripes in the U.S., we have the best market for your favorite flavor of crisis in the world. Check out the smorgasbord and take your pick of global warmism, terrorism, expansion in developing nations, immigration, income disparity, or any number of other matters that can be classed as crises. And voila! You have a perfect recipe for the engulf and devour style of government. And you have people clamoring for it, to boot!

    In a perfect market, people would only get something from someone else by offering them something that is truly of value at an acceptable price in a voluntary exchange. No one would be coerced into any transaction.

    In real life, we have businesses on the government bandwagon as well. They work to get government to use its coercive powers to raise barriers to entry into the market and to limit the choices of consumers.

    The answer to all of these kinds of problems is less government. The appeal to authority and the coerciveness diminish as voluntary actions increase.

    Since our system of government springs from the will of the people, the only way to get to less government is for people to actually want it. Unfortunately, my study of American history shows that Americans generally like the idea of larger government and the perception that they can exercise more control over their neighbors. They believe this creates a more orderly society than a system of voluntary interactions.

    How do we change this? Either by small government evangelism or by some significant event that naturally occurs that shows the evils of government sprawl.

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  3. Like I have said before, the greatest danger of global warming is how governments react to it not the result in any rise in temperature.

    Fear is an interesting thing. Often times the way people react to fear is what brings about the catastrophe they where fearing in the first place

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  4. Derek,

    I agree that many conservatives are concerned with profit-taking at the expense of the environment. I think that is a terrible attitude.

    I think when human ingenuity gets the market into problems, though, is when it is unfairly propped up by government, as in the case of Enron.

    But you're right that we should be less materialistic.

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  5. Derek,
    I believe I have asked you this before when you have said that government is not the way to fix things and either is the free market, what do you propose as a solution? The last time we had this discussion about government vs. free market fixes (I can't remember what the subject was) I asked this same question and I didn't get a response. I will agree that we are too materialistic and I don't agree with Cheney's comment either. I just don't see a solution that will work if it isn't the free market. It sure isn't government. I just want to know what you propose as a solution to these types of problems.

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  6. Danny,

    I think I understand Derek's concerns (feel free to chime in, Derek) after reading a book called "Free Lunch" by David Cay Johnston. When left to itself, hedge funders, stock optioners, Wal-Marts, and CEOs seem to get away with financial murder. It seems to give the free market a huge black eye--until we realize that shysters in various levels of government are the ones that are looking the other way (and are sometimes even in on the take) when the big boys screw you and me. SO in many ways, the "market" is far from "free".

    That does not still, however, make government a better solution to our environmental problems. Derek's right about human ingenuity--it won't work if it's mixed with immorality. And that (multifaceted immorality) is the kettle of fish that we find ourselves in.

    Immoral people in the market are bad, but the same people being elected to government are immensely worse.

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  7. Frank,
    Thanks for your comment. I do understand where derek is coming from in that aspect. He is very right that there is a lot of immoral, greedy shysters out there that are part of the free market. I never said it was perfect. I was just saying that he puts out these problems with both the free market and government and poses no solution. I was just wondering what he suggested as to a solution. If it isn't free market or government, then what? I think I have mentioned this before in regards to a post by derek, the free market isnt perfect, but it is the best option we have when it comes to needing solutions like these.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Danny said:

    I believe I have asked you this before when you have said that government is not the way to fix things and either is the free market, what do you propose as a solution?

    Danny, I didn’t previously respond to your question specifically because I would prefer to explain my thoughts in a venue where I have the space to do so thoroughly. The answer doesn’t lend itself to being compressed into a nutshell. I intend to explore in detail conventional free-market ideology on my own blog. As you are persistent, I’ll give a brief overview here, but I’m aware that it will seem too simplistic to some here and won’t bother defending it.

    The solution is a mixed economy; one which balances free market principles with government safeguards to protect “The Commons” (air, water, ecological diversity, etc) and the average worker (through labor/safety standards, greater empowerment of labor, etc) and bedrock safety nets for the marginalized, easily abused members of the workforce. Conservative/free market forces have deliberately and frequently successfully waged a campaign over the past thirty years to render government regulation impotent. We must stand up for aneffective system of oversight and accountability in our economic system.

    Another important part of the solution is the deconstruction of the Cult of the Market. I do indeed believe that “markets” are a very important part of our economic structure. But conventional free market theory so strongly promoted by libertarian/conservative circles presents unfettered markets as a panacea to all of the world’s solutions, that its internal mechanisms will inevitably create good outcomes irrespective of any moral compass or guidance (Friedman even insisted that corporate execs and managers shouldn’t consider anything but profit maximization in making business decisions). They neglect to recognize that an unfettered market has its own inherent weaknesses which need to be addressed, or that those very internal mechanisms, when unmoderated by moral conviction, are destructive to society. Until such time as free market advocates are more vocal in acknowledging and seeking to address those problems, I see a much greater need to point out the dangers of the unfettered market and of their free market idolatry than to talk about the self-evident advantages of market economics.

    Furthermore, Frank very correctly brought up the disingenuity of many who claim to favor free markets. I might be more willing to trust the free market theories if so many of their advocates did not so effusively praise Wal-Mart, HP, Monsanto, Halliburton, Iacocca, Murdock, Gates, Jobs, etc--turning a blind eye to the ways in which their successes are aided by government and their practices have harmed the global community. As long as I keep hearing these sorts of things from Friedman, The Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Bush administration, Utah Republicans, and many others, I will suspect that they are less interested in promoting a free market than they are in defending the rapacity of corporatism.

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  10. Thanks Derek,
    Although, it seems it does need more explaining (you said there isn't enough room to put your whole thoughts so I understand that.) I could say that I agree to a point with you. Especially on the point you made about "when unmoderated by moral conviction." That, I would have to say, is the biggest flaw of the free market and one point you and I agree. But where do we draw the line? Although you and I may feel that one thing is morally right and somebody else may think it is wrong. How do we establish the "moral accountability line" without somebody getting upset? If we did it by vote, I believe we would end up with a market very similar with what we have today or an entirely government controlled market. I don't necessarily expect you to answer that because of lack of space to answer thoroughly, just my quick thoughts in a nutshell on your nutshelled thoughts. :)

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