[extropy-chat] The great global warming swindle.

Max More max at maxmore.com
Sat Apr 7 02:17:45 UTC 2007

A commentary I wrote yesterday on an article in Chief Executive.

Global Greenspin

Feeling chilly? Then gather round the fire and 
let me tell you a tale of global warming. And 
such a tale it is! It’s a tale of huge, evil 
corporations intent on fattening their purses as 
they destroy the world. It’s a tale of the 
messiah, the One called Gore, who comes to us 
with his message (Inconvenient but True) of 
redemption through carbon reduction. It’s a tale 
of the believers­the Kyotoists, the Ehrlichists, 
the catastrophists, the righteous hordes of 
apocalyptics, and their wicked enemies the 
“environmental skeptics.” Or, is it actually tale 
of the latest pretext to expand the power of the 
government over the economy and the power of 
established commercial powers over potential 
upstarts? Or even a little of each?

This commentator confesses considerable sympathy 
for J.P. Donlon’s concerns about the demands that 
we all kneel before a supposed “undisputed 
scientific consensus” concerning global warming. 
In fact, at least two consensus views are being 
pushed on us­and pushed hard. One is that global 
warming is not only happening but is primarily 
anthropogenic. The second is that we must 
immediately institute a set of strong global 
controls on carbon dioxide production. As Donlon 
notes, the controversy is troubling in part 
because of the “smug, moral transcendence of the 
climatologically correct.” The true believers 
have not only abandoned but actively oppose the 
Enlightenment championing of scientific vitality 
through skepticism and questioning. For those 
with short memories, Donlon reminds us similar 
pronouncement back in 1970s, except that then the 
great threat was global cooling.

Even if we buy into the idea that global warming 
is real, significant, sustained, and largely 
human-caused, too many of us are being bludgeoned 
into accepting a set of solutions as following 
automatically. Donlon cites research by Bjorn 
Lomborg (whose work, including The Skeptical 
Environmentalist, is highly worth looking into) 
who asked UN ambassadors from 24 countries 
representing 54 percent of the world’s population 
this question: If you had an extra $50 billion to 
spend to improve the world what would your 
priorities be? “Mitigating climate change came 
dead last on their list.” Similarly to Lomborg’s 
experts (as reported in depth in Global Crises, 
Global Solutions) the diplomats would prefer to 
spend limited funds on problems such as 
communicable diseases, sanitation, malnutrition, and education.

Donlon goes on to raise questions about the most 
sensible response to global warming, even if we 
accept human use of fossil fuels is the main 
cause. Apparently it’s easy to buy into an 
existing proposal like the Kyoto agreement, but 
does it really make any sense? Not to most of the 
world. It may well make sense to advocates of 
greater government control, as well as to more 
private concerns: some see this issue as an 
excuse to shovel more subsidies and protectionist 
favors to industry such as ethanol and to 
companies such as GE, DuPont, Alcoa and BP which 
cleverly support cap and trade limits on carbon dioxide.

If you follow the link above, you'll find links 
to other relevant items, including some highly practical suggested solutions.


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