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The green movement seems to be finally well entrenched in the U.S. political system.  For CMC’s Environmental Crusaders and like-minded people such as myself , this is undoubtedly a good thing.  climateOn the top of the environmental agenda, of course, is mitigating global warming by reducing carbon emissions in developed countries and slowing the rate of carbon emissions growth in developing countries.  The United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is set to negotiate the successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen this December and observers are cautiously optimistic that the summit will produce a treaty that is serious about carbon emissions reductions.

As much as I would like the United States and the world at large to emphasize the reduction of carbon emissions, I fear the political winds are increasingly turning against mitigation efforts.  First, seriously disruptive climate change looks all but inevitable at this point, which is breeding fatalism.  Global carbon emissions have exploded at a faster rate than even the previously most pessimistic forecasts by the United Nations.  Furthermore, global warming is a classic tragedy of the commons problem where every country wants to keep polluting and free ride off other countries costly carbon reduction programs.  In fact, America’s decision to remain outside of the Kyoto Protocol has made many European governments fear that they are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage by continuing their carbon reduction programs.

Due to all of these factors, the logic of spending resources on adaptation to climate change (such as relocating coastal communities, genetically engineering drought-resistant crops, etc.) rather than on carbon reduction grows ever more appealing.  Adaptation is particularly appealing for governments because adaptation measures directly help taxpaying and voting citizens, while the rewards of mitigation are diffusely shared by everyone.  Environmentalists support both mitigation and adaptation of course, but in a world of finite economic and political resources to spend on combating climate change, I think we expect an increasing prioritization of adaptation at the expense of mitigation.

Although the idea is still only slowly spreading into mainstream public discussion, I believe geoengineering will pose a serious alternative to carbon reduction in the coming years.  For those unfamiliar, geoengineering describes proposals to deliberately manipulate the Earth’s climate to counteract the effects of global warming.  Here is a fascinating video of the climate scientist David Keith describing an incredibly cheap, effective means to address climate change: inject a huge cloud of ash into the atmosphere to deflect sunlight and heat (this also counts as another plug for TED).  As the idea of geoengineering spreads, it will further weaken mitigation efforts by creating a moral hazard problem: as people increasingly believe that a low-cost technological solution to global warming exists, they will feel less pressure to reduce carbon emissions.

Let me be clear: I strongly support carbon reduction efforts in addition to funding adaptation programs now and investigating geoengineering options for the future.  With the future of our planet at stake, I don’t think we can take the risk of not reducing carbon emissions.  However, I fear the relevant actors will increasingly embrace adaptation and geoengineering as alternatives to mitigation.  Adaptation and geoengineering are the relatively cheap, easy, and technical solutions to global warming, while mitigation will require dramatic restructuring of the economy and sustained lifestyle changes.  Guess which type of solution us flawed creatures are likely to prefer?

29 COMMENTS

  1. No patriotic and informed American can support the ACES Act (global warming/cap and trade scam), a huge Ponzy scheme that will kill the U.S. economy.

    Cap and Trade “would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the U.S. economy—all without any scientific justification,” says famed climatologist Dr. S. Fred Singer. It would significantly increase taxes and the cost of energy, forcing many companies to close, thus increasing unemployment, poverty and dependence.

    Cap and trade represents huge taxes and cost increases, which will hurt mostly the poor and the middle class. Cap and trade will give dictatorial powers to Obama and will further enrich his billionaire friends (Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, GE, the United Nations, etc.) — all at our expense and at the expense of our children and grandchildren.

    Those brainwashed to the point of wanting to destroy the economy to “prevent global warming” are behaving like the most primitive human beings who were duped into believing that human sacrifices would ensure them good weather. Human beings don’t have the power to control climate! And killing the economy will not help the environment. Poor countries can’t protect the environment. Just look at Haiti!

    More and more scientists and thinking people all over the world are realizing that man-made global warming is a hoax that threatens our future and the future of our children. More than 700 international scientists dissent over man-made global warming claims. They are now more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers. http://www.climatechangefraud.com/content/view/3562/218/

    Additionally, more than 30,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” http://www.petitionproject.org

    We pray that honest leaders – both Democrat and Republican – are able to save us from Obama’s criminal ACES Act (cap-and-trade) scam.

  2. No patriotic and informed American can support the ACES Act (global warming/cap and trade scam), a huge Ponzy scheme that will kill the U.S. economy.

    Cap and Trade “would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the U.S. economy—all without any scientific justification,” says famed climatologist Dr. S. Fred Singer. It would significantly increase taxes and the cost of energy, forcing many companies to close, thus increasing unemployment, poverty and dependence.

    Cap and trade represents huge taxes and cost increases, which will hurt mostly the poor and the middle class. Cap and trade will give dictatorial powers to Obama and will further enrich his billionaire friends (Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, GE, the United Nations, etc.) — all at our expense and at the expense of our children and grandchildren.

    Those brainwashed to the point of wanting to destroy the economy to “prevent global warming” are behaving like the most primitive human beings who were duped into believing that human sacrifices would ensure them good weather. Human beings don’t have the power to control climate! And killing the economy will not help the environment. Poor countries can’t protect the environment. Just look at Haiti!

    More and more scientists and thinking people all over the world are realizing that man-made global warming is a hoax that threatens our future and the future of our children. More than 700 international scientists dissent over man-made global warming claims. They are now more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers. http://www.climatechangefraud.com/content/view/3562/218/

    Additionally, more than 30,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” http://www.petitionproject.org

    We pray that honest leaders – both Democrat and Republican – are able to save us from Obama’s criminal ACES Act (cap-and-trade) scam.

  3. “Cap and trade will give dictatorial powers to Obama”

    Why are people on the internet so crazy?

    • Maybe they have thought about the incentives that goes along with granting the president or congress the ability to tinker with our economy.

      I’m with the so-called crazy, because unlike Mr. Sprague, I have thought about the issue and find that his anti-growth policy would keep millions of people in poverty, force American jobs overseas, and reduce U.S. manufacturing still more, all the while engaged in a quixotic and utterly unfounded notion that a warmer planet is worse for human civilization. Indeed any historian can tell you that the warmer it is, the more we’re able to cultivate, travel, etc.

      Please don’t dismiss people as loons who differ from your views. If I were so inclined, I would call you a racist for your affirmative action piece, a eugenicist for your old people must die so that the economy might live argument, and hopelessly naive for this post.

      • charlie, I commend you for resisting the urge to respond to this pudgy trolls attack.

        Charles, reframe your arguments as less “personal” if you want them to be addressed. That last paragraph was unneccesary. Also, when making your substantive arguments, please explain. It is not obvious to everyone why Charlie’s policy is inherently anti growth, leads to extended poverty, ships jobs overseas (which as a cosmopolitan capitalist, is a good thing in my opinion), and reduces manufacturing. Also please explain how a warmer planet leads to better cultivation, travel, etc. For whatever reason, I think a huge ozone hole which increases skin cancer and allows the sun to burn anyone not blessed with dark skin a third degree burn after 5 minutes of being outside, would lead to less travel, cultivation, etc.

      • @debate coach

        1. Neither pudgy, nor a troll.
        2. Here’s my full explanation from my blog. http://www.claremontconservative.com/2009/06/first-things-blog-examines-spragues-pro.html
        3. You lose all serious credibility when you talk about the ozone layer and global warming. The two aren’t connected at all. And by the way, the hole over the ozone is actually diminishing every year. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0209/30/lol.07.html
        As for the fact that warmer periods have been better for human development, I direct you here. http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/que2.html
        4. The last paragraph was completely necessary and if it goes unaddressed, I’ll assume it’s been conceded.
        5. Maybe you haven’t realized that Obama’s doing his whole so-called stimulus to save jobs, not send them overseas. Might I suggest you examine the schizophrenic nature of his policies?

        In the future, if you wouldn’t mind googling the claims I make rather than dismissing them out of hand, I would appreciate it. There are only so many hours in the day to explain things to people.

      • Um, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that a warmer earth isn’t going to be good for our economy, much less the world’s.

        Your claim supported by a libertarian newsmagazine that a warmer planet is good for civilization relies on economic analysis based on flawed assumptions. There’s more compelling evidence from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (a scientific agency under the Department of Commerce) that outlines how climate changes negatively impacts the United States.

        To summarize what the report is saying: higher temperatures are not only bad for cool-temperature produce like lettuce and spinach, but grains (a huge part of the US produce production) have less time to mature in warmer temperatures. In 2002, $4.8 billion was lost in maize, wheat and barley production worldwide because of this mythological global warming. I’m pro-growth too, but I realize that ignoring climate change in the long run will lose us billions of dollars.

        P.S. Debate coach is right. Ad hominem attacks not only reflect poorly on you. They are also logical fallacies that most high school students recognize. They do little to advance your argument.

      • @Kim,

        Are you really going to cite a government report as evidence of global warming? Don’t you think that a government agency has more of a vested interest in climate change being a reality than say, a libertarian magazine that cites an independent scientific study, especially compared to a government agency that seeks more funds for its research? As you did not likely read my comment where I said that Think it through, please.

        As for logical fallacies, I would just point out that one data point does not a trend line make. So what if there was a loss of $4.8 or $400 billion in wheat? How can that be directly attributed to global warming? Again, you cannot and it is the essence of hubris to believe that there is an ideal climate. I can cite examples of forest growth in Russia (and hence more carbon sequestration) due to warmer temperatures, to better rainfall patterns in Southeast Asia and parts of Africa, etc. Human civilization relocates to where there are opportunities. Better to let us use fossil fuels to grow richer, faster.

        How will ignoring climate change — again, assuming that there is anything we can do — be harmful for our long term economic growth? How do you know what we’ll be consuming, eating, doing, thinking, reading, working in the future? The problem, of course, is that you cannot know for the same reason that weathermen have such a hard time predicting the future: the variables. Climate is something that’s measured in tens of thousands of years and much of our data doesn’t even go back that far.

        Like many of you on this blog, I saw an Inconvenient Truth and read the books of Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Jeffrey Sachs, and Tom Friedman on the topic of global warming. I’ve seen the other side and I’m sorry, but I just don’t find that their evidence is compelling enough to warrant a total restructuring of 1) our entire world economy 2) that even if global warming were happening, which I concede it probably is, that it’s that much of a threat to the world economy.

        Kim says she’s pro-growth but is she really? For many people, having access to fossil fuels is the difference between A/C in your workplace (and hence fewer workplace related deaths) and no jobs at all. In the past, the same well-intentioned folks as Kim argued that we were facing a huge, growing, Malthusian overpopulation problem and that governments need to do its best to tamp down the great unwashed from having children. We also heard arguments about global cooling, in reverse that we’re hearing about global warming.

        As for Mr. Sprague being in support of racism and eugenicist things, I have only to point to what he’s written on this website. I thank him for his candor and exercise my right to point out that evil consequences of what I’m sure are noble intentions. I have given him multiple opportunities to explain in good faith why his positions would not lead to 1) the killing of old people (with the hopes of rationing care) 2) a racist paradigm that focuses on well-rounded students at the expense of hard-working, studious Asians. He has declined to address either argument and so I must assume that he concedes them.

        If that is an “attack” (read: reasoned calling of A as A) as far as many of you are concerned, than I am the greatest assailant on campus. I suggest I be immediately taken before a J-Board. Until then, I’m going to be doing work. Ciao.

      • @ Charlie Sprague: Sorry for hijacking your thread again. I’m leaving for the weekend, so no more from me. Thanks for the TED recommendation. Keep sneaking those subtle plugs while we’re all away from the Athenaeum.

        Re: government conspiracies.
        Nowhere in your article are hard figures cited. It’s all based off assumptions, which is my main issue in the article. The fact that it’s funded by an organization that has been clearly labeled as anti-environmental and ideological just adds to my doubts. I have thought it through and I’m sticking with the scientists. Because I know if I spent years of my life getting a PhD and doing a post-doc, I know I would want a career in fabricating studies. I suppose linking to articles on PubMed and published in science journals wouldn’t convince you since they’re partially government-funded. I doubt that this is some expensive conspiracy to give the U.S. government rights to issue carbon licenses, but I guess we’re not going to agree on this.

        Re: one point of data doesn’t make a trendline. Dude. Read the report.
        Also, developing countries have the most to lose from climate change. India depends on the delicate monsoon season which brings a majority of rains. Dry years or massive rains ruin harvest. And it’s been found that climate change has been making extreme weather patterns more likely. Africa has suffered problems from the effects of climate change. Do you know anything about agriculture? It’s more complicated than warm=good.

        P.S. Nice strawman with the fossil fuels. I didn’t realize I was arguing for a complete ban of fossil fuels. Oh, wait. I’m not. I’m just saying that that you can’t just assume that warmer temperatures are better for growth.

        Re: ad hominem. You really just don’t get it. We’re all your classmates, not your enemies. Some of us disagree with you, but that’s no reason to demonize someone with semi-libelous accusations. It’s obvious that Charlie isn’t a racist. No one’s going to take you to the J-Board for it, but you aren’t going to convince anyone by calling them names and talking in such a condescending tone. Before you started attacking people online, I took your arguments much more seriously.

      • @Kim,

        It’s not a conspiracy, but it is reason. Think about it logically. Which group would get more funding? The scientist who says “hey, this is interesting, but probably not going to kill us all” or the one who says, “We’re all going to die!!!” The argument really is that simple. It also goes to the media as well. How many scares have there been in your lifetime alone that the media has trumpeted without critical examination? Unless, of course, you have mad cow disease, swine flu, West Nile, etc., I think you’re still doing OK.

        I agree with you that developing countries have the most to lose from so-called global warming. No one in India or China calls for emissions standards because they recognize that at the margins it is a choice between life and death. It’s not a straw man to argue that increasing the price of fuel will have harmful effects on the world’s prospects for growth. It’s a straw man to imply that we can magically use tax subsidies to get all of our energy from wind, solar, geothermal, etc. (Of course, nuclear is always left out.)

        I could direct you to dozens of studies that argue, “hey, maybe we ought to wait on this”, including a panel of preeminent climatologists who refused to sign off on the IPCC. The idea that the scientific consensus is settled is laughable, at best, or that there is a “side” that scientists are on.

        Again, we’re talking about climate measured in thousands of years. The peak temperature has actually declined in recent years from a high of in the 90s. Do you see that reported in the government-financed and alarmist because it sells BBC report? Record breaking isn’t that much of a big deal because maybe, just maybe we don’t have records that go far enough back. Just ask the people who failed to buy flood insurance.

        As for your final point, I don’t attack people. I call ’em like I see ’em. It’s not semi-libelous to criticize someone for having racist and eugenicist views when they actually advocate them in print. I’m just making sure I’m on the right side of history critiquing these policies that I know will fail. You’ll forgive me if I say I told you so on global warming in a couple decades.

  4. I am not sure, Charlie, but they sure are. I thought you might get a few responses from students, but you earned yourself a response from an internet crazy. Well done.

  5. I am not sure, Charlie, but they sure are. I thought you might get a few responses from students, but you earned yourself a response from an internet crazy. Well done.

  6. It will take more than a century to make the final massive shift to zero carbon energy, but the world doesn’t have a century of time and will need geo-engineering technologies to cool the climate within the next 25 years, says one of the country’s leading thinkers Thomas Homer-Dixon.” –“Canada has to tackle peak oil and climate change as one big carbon problem,” The Hill Times, 1 Jun ’09

    Any carbon diet strategy would be dependent upon clean coal:

    “The vast majority of new power stations in China and India will be coal-fired; not “may be coal-fired”; will be. So developing carbon capture and storage technology is not optional, it is literally of the essence.” –“Breaking the Climate Deadlock,” Tony Blair, June 26, 2008

    But, Vaclav Smil, an energy expert at the University of Manitoba, has estimated that capturing and burying just 10 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted over a year from coal-fire plants at current rates would require moving volumes of compressed carbon d ioxide greater than the total annual flow of oil worldwide — a massive undertaking requiring decades and trillions of dollars. “Beware of the scale,” he stressed.”

    “I’m going to tell you something I probably shouldn’t: we may not be able to stop global warming. We need to begin curbing global greenhouse emissions right now, but more than a decade after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, the world has utterly failed to do so. Unless the geopolitics of global warming change soon, the Hail Mary pass of geoengineering might become our best shot.” –Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, 17 March 2008

    “The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state.” –Dr James Lovelock, August 2008

  7. It will take more than a century to make the final massive shift to zero carbon energy, but the world doesn’t have a century of time and will need geo-engineering technologies to cool the climate within the next 25 years, says one of the country’s leading thinkers Thomas Homer-Dixon.” –“Canada has to tackle peak oil and climate change as one big carbon problem,” The Hill Times, 1 Jun ’09

    Any carbon diet strategy would be dependent upon clean coal:

    “The vast majority of new power stations in China and India will be coal-fired; not “may be coal-fired”; will be. So developing carbon capture and storage technology is not optional, it is literally of the essence.” –“Breaking the Climate Deadlock,” Tony Blair, June 26, 2008

    But, Vaclav Smil, an energy expert at the University of Manitoba, has estimated that capturing and burying just 10 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted over a year from coal-fire plants at current rates would require moving volumes of compressed carbon d ioxide greater than the total annual flow of oil worldwide — a massive undertaking requiring decades and trillions of dollars. “Beware of the scale,” he stressed.”

    “I’m going to tell you something I probably shouldn’t: we may not be able to stop global warming. We need to begin curbing global greenhouse emissions right now, but more than a decade after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, the world has utterly failed to do so. Unless the geopolitics of global warming change soon, the Hail Mary pass of geoengineering might become our best shot.” –Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, 17 March 2008

    “The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state.” –Dr James Lovelock, August 2008

  8. Dishonest coercion and enslaving the American people with unnecessary environmental shackles that will force companies to close and multiply unemployment and poverty is behavior becoming of a dictator rather than an American president.

    Obama and his accomplices are hoping that the uninformed (or “dumbed down” Americans who voted for Obama, as per Pravda) will help Obama place the Marxist noose on their necks.

    Obama’s cap and trade would be another giant step towards Marxism — and the corruption, poverty, enslavement, destruction and despair that Marxism entails.

    Obama is working much faster than Hugo Chavez at imposing socialism/communism/Marxism (or whatever you want to call the government taking over, enslaving people, and destroying the economy). No wonder the Russians are gloating:

    From Pravda: “…the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people…” http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

  9. Dishonest coercion and enslaving the American people with unnecessary environmental shackles that will force companies to close and multiply unemployment and poverty is behavior becoming of a dictator rather than an American president.

    Obama and his accomplices are hoping that the uninformed (or “dumbed down” Americans who voted for Obama, as per Pravda) will help Obama place the Marxist noose on their necks.

    Obama’s cap and trade would be another giant step towards Marxism — and the corruption, poverty, enslavement, destruction and despair that Marxism entails.

    Obama is working much faster than Hugo Chavez at imposing socialism/communism/Marxism (or whatever you want to call the government taking over, enslaving people, and destroying the economy). No wonder the Russians are gloating:

    From Pravda: “…the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people…” http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

  10. In 1975, when global cooling was the rage, it was suggested that soot be spread over polar ice to absorb solar heat.

    “Cooler” heads prevailed.

    Thirty four years later, global warming is now the rage. It has been suggested that we pollute our atmosphere with ash to reflect solar heat.

    Who’s buying into this?

  11. In 1975, when global cooling was the rage, it was suggested that soot be spread over polar ice to absorb solar heat.

    “Cooler” heads prevailed.

    Thirty four years later, global warming is now the rage. It has been suggested that we pollute our atmosphere with ash to reflect solar heat.

    Who’s buying into this?

  12. Maybe they have thought about the incentives that goes along with granting the president or congress the ability to tinker with our economy.

    I’m with the so-called crazy, because unlike Mr. Sprague, I have thought about the issue and find that his anti-growth policy would keep millions of people in poverty, force American jobs overseas, and reduce U.S. manufacturing still more, all the while engaged in a quixotic and utterly unfounded notion that a warmer planet is worse for human civilization. Indeed any historian can tell you that the warmer it is, the more we’re able to cultivate, travel, etc.

    Please don’t dismiss people as loons who differ from your views. If I were so inclined, I would call you a racist for your affirmative action piece, a eugenicist for your old people must die so that the economy might live argument, and hopelessly naive for this post.

    • charlie, I commend you for resisting the urge to respond to this pudgy trolls attack.

      Charles, reframe your arguments as less “personal” if you want them to be addressed. That last paragraph was unneccesary. Also, when making your substantive arguments, please explain. It is not obvious to everyone why Charlie’s policy is inherently anti growth, leads to extended poverty, ships jobs overseas (which as a cosmopolitan capitalist, is a good thing in my opinion), and reduces manufacturing. Also please explain how a warmer planet leads to better cultivation, travel, etc. For whatever reason, I think a huge ozone hole which increases skin cancer and allows the sun to burn anyone not blessed with dark skin a third degree burn after 5 minutes of being outside, would lead to less travel, cultivation, etc.

    • @debate coach

      1. Neither pudgy, nor a troll.
      2. Here’s my full explanation from my blog. http://www.claremontconservative.com/2009/06/first-things-blog-examines-spragues-pro.html
      3. You lose all serious credibility when you talk about the ozone layer and global warming. The two aren’t connected at all. And by the way, the hole over the ozone is actually diminishing every year. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0209/30/lol.07.html
      As for the fact that warmer periods have been better for human development, I direct you here. http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/que2.html
      4. The last paragraph was completely necessary and if it goes unaddressed, I’ll assume it’s been conceded.
      5. Maybe you haven’t realized that Obama’s doing his whole so-called stimulus to save jobs, not send them overseas. Might I suggest you examine the schizophrenic nature of his policies?

      In the future, if you wouldn’t mind googling the claims I make rather than dismissing them out of hand, I would appreciate it. There are only so many hours in the day to explain things to people.

    • Um, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that a warmer earth isn’t going to be good for our economy, much less the world’s.

      Your claim supported by a libertarian newsmagazine that a warmer planet is good for civilization relies on economic analysis based on flawed assumptions. There’s more compelling evidence from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (a scientific agency under the Department of Commerce) that outlines how climate changes negatively impacts the United States.

      To summarize what the report is saying: higher temperatures are not only bad for cool-temperature produce like lettuce and spinach, but grains (a huge part of the US produce production) have less time to mature in warmer temperatures. In 2002, $4.8 billion was lost in maize, wheat and barley production worldwide because of this mythological global warming. I’m pro-growth too, but I realize that ignoring climate change in the long run will lose us billions of dollars.

      P.S. Debate coach is right. Ad hominem attacks not only reflect poorly on you. They are also logical fallacies that most high school students recognize. They do little to advance your argument.

    • @Kim,

      Are you really going to cite a government report as evidence of global warming? Don’t you think that a government agency has more of a vested interest in climate change being a reality than say, a libertarian magazine that cites an independent scientific study, especially compared to a government agency that seeks more funds for its research? As you did not likely read my comment where I said that Think it through, please.

      As for logical fallacies, I would just point out that one data point does not a trend line make. So what if there was a loss of $4.8 or $400 billion in wheat? How can that be directly attributed to global warming? Again, you cannot and it is the essence of hubris to believe that there is an ideal climate. I can cite examples of forest growth in Russia (and hence more carbon sequestration) due to warmer temperatures, to better rainfall patterns in Southeast Asia and parts of Africa, etc. Human civilization relocates to where there are opportunities. Better to let us use fossil fuels to grow richer, faster.

      How will ignoring climate change — again, assuming that there is anything we can do — be harmful for our long term economic growth? How do you know what we’ll be consuming, eating, doing, thinking, reading, working in the future? The problem, of course, is that you cannot know for the same reason that weathermen have such a hard time predicting the future: the variables. Climate is something that’s measured in tens of thousands of years and much of our data doesn’t even go back that far.

      Like many of you on this blog, I saw an Inconvenient Truth and read the books of Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Jeffrey Sachs, and Tom Friedman on the topic of global warming. I’ve seen the other side and I’m sorry, but I just don’t find that their evidence is compelling enough to warrant a total restructuring of 1) our entire world economy 2) that even if global warming were happening, which I concede it probably is, that it’s that much of a threat to the world economy.

      Kim says she’s pro-growth but is she really? For many people, having access to fossil fuels is the difference between A/C in your workplace (and hence fewer workplace related deaths) and no jobs at all. In the past, the same well-intentioned folks as Kim argued that we were facing a huge, growing, Malthusian overpopulation problem and that governments need to do its best to tamp down the great unwashed from having children. We also heard arguments about global cooling, in reverse that we’re hearing about global warming.

      As for Mr. Sprague being in support of racism and eugenicist things, I have only to point to what he’s written on this website. I thank him for his candor and exercise my right to point out that evil consequences of what I’m sure are noble intentions. I have given him multiple opportunities to explain in good faith why his positions would not lead to 1) the killing of old people (with the hopes of rationing care) 2) a racist paradigm that focuses on well-rounded students at the expense of hard-working, studious Asians. He has declined to address either argument and so I must assume that he concedes them.

      If that is an “attack” (read: reasoned calling of A as A) as far as many of you are concerned, than I am the greatest assailant on campus. I suggest I be immediately taken before a J-Board. Until then, I’m going to be doing work. Ciao.

    • @ Charlie Sprague: Sorry for hijacking your thread again. I’m leaving for the weekend, so no more from me. Thanks for the TED recommendation. Keep sneaking those subtle plugs while we’re all away from the Athenaeum.

      Re: government conspiracies.
      Nowhere in your article are hard figures cited. It’s all based off assumptions, which is my main issue in the article. The fact that it’s funded by an organization that has been clearly labeled as anti-environmental and ideological just adds to my doubts. I have thought it through and I’m sticking with the scientists. Because I know if I spent years of my life getting a PhD and doing a post-doc, I know I would want a career in fabricating studies. I suppose linking to articles on PubMed and published in science journals wouldn’t convince you since they’re partially government-funded. I doubt that this is some expensive conspiracy to give the U.S. government rights to issue carbon licenses, but I guess we’re not going to agree on this.

      Re: one point of data doesn’t make a trendline. Dude. Read the report.
      Also, developing countries have the most to lose from climate change. India depends on the delicate monsoon season which brings a majority of rains. Dry years or massive rains ruin harvest. And it’s been found that climate change has been making extreme weather patterns more likely. Africa has suffered problems from the effects of climate change. Do you know anything about agriculture? It’s more complicated than warm=good.

      P.S. Nice strawman with the fossil fuels. I didn’t realize I was arguing for a complete ban of fossil fuels. Oh, wait. I’m not. I’m just saying that that you can’t just assume that warmer temperatures are better for growth.

      Re: ad hominem. You really just don’t get it. We’re all your classmates, not your enemies. Some of us disagree with you, but that’s no reason to demonize someone with semi-libelous accusations. It’s obvious that Charlie isn’t a racist. No one’s going to take you to the J-Board for it, but you aren’t going to convince anyone by calling them names and talking in such a condescending tone. Before you started attacking people online, I took your arguments much more seriously.

    • @Kim,

      It’s not a conspiracy, but it is reason. Think about it logically. Which group would get more funding? The scientist who says “hey, this is interesting, but probably not going to kill us all” or the one who says, “We’re all going to die!!!” The argument really is that simple. It also goes to the media as well. How many scares have there been in your lifetime alone that the media has trumpeted without critical examination? Unless, of course, you have mad cow disease, swine flu, West Nile, etc., I think you’re still doing OK.

      I agree with you that developing countries have the most to lose from so-called global warming. No one in India or China calls for emissions standards because they recognize that at the margins it is a choice between life and death. It’s not a straw man to argue that increasing the price of fuel will have harmful effects on the world’s prospects for growth. It’s a straw man to imply that we can magically use tax subsidies to get all of our energy from wind, solar, geothermal, etc. (Of course, nuclear is always left out.)

      I could direct you to dozens of studies that argue, “hey, maybe we ought to wait on this”, including a panel of preeminent climatologists who refused to sign off on the IPCC. The idea that the scientific consensus is settled is laughable, at best, or that there is a “side” that scientists are on.

      Again, we’re talking about climate measured in thousands of years. The peak temperature has actually declined in recent years from a high of in the 90s. Do you see that reported in the government-financed and alarmist because it sells BBC report? Record breaking isn’t that much of a big deal because maybe, just maybe we don’t have records that go far enough back. Just ask the people who failed to buy flood insurance.

      As for your final point, I don’t attack people. I call ’em like I see ’em. It’s not semi-libelous to criticize someone for having racist and eugenicist views when they actually advocate them in print. I’m just making sure I’m on the right side of history critiquing these policies that I know will fail. You’ll forgive me if I say I told you so on global warming in a couple decades.

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