Steve G.

Wake Up and Smell the Hysteria

In Environment, Global Warming, Science, Socialism on March 11, 2007 at 5:20 pm

I preface this by saying that I consider myself an environmentalist. I see crap in streams, smell what comes out the end of cars, and it annoys me. I also believe the free market to be the best solution to this. Then I see the crap spewing out of the faces of those who latch onto anything they can to justify their hate for development, growth, and freedom. This documentary is interesting and probably different from anything you’ve seen before on the subject, especially if you’re an anthropogenic global warming fence-sitter like me.

  1. On this topic, I’ve been fairly skeptical about the global warming agenda for awhile now and this article justifies my skepticism even more:

    I’ll try to get around to watching the video link when I can since it’s a bit long (75 minutes).

  2. I haven’t watched the video yet, but I have found this post from Roderick Long to be generally accurate on the subject of global warming:

    I suspect I’m one of the few political bloggers who has no opinion about global warming. My problem is that I know too many intelligent and sincere people, with way more scientific expertise than mine, on both sides of the issue. Many on the left seem to assume that anyone who’s skeptical about the cause and/or extent of global warming must be in the pay of the corporations; and many on the right seem to assume that anyone who thinks global warming is serious and manmade is just a shill for big government. I know from personal experience that both of those assumptions are just plain false.

    But I suspect the stereotypes – both stereotypes – are largely true of all too many of the politicians and lobbyists involved in the debate. As I’ve written elsewhere:

    We might compare the alliance between government and big business to the alliance between church and state in the Middle Ages. Of course it’s in the interest of both parties to maintain the alliance – but all the same, each side would like to be the dominant partner, so it’s no surprise that the history of such alliances will often look like a history of conflict and antipathy, as each side struggles to get the upper hand. But this struggle must be read against a common background framework of cooperation to maintain the system of control.

    Now the main difference, insofar as there is one, between the Establishment Left and the Establishment Right in this country is that while both are the running-dog lackeys of the neofascist government-business alliance, the Establishment Left somewhat favours a shift in power toward government, while the Establishment Right somewhat favours a shift in power toward business. Playing up the threat of global warming thus serves the interests of the statocratic faction, while playing down that threat serves the interests of the plutocratic faction – and so you’d expect to see the two sides taking the sides they’re taking, regardless of what the truth actually is. But it’s just a squabble within the ruling class.

    In fact, of course, if global warming does turn out to be serious and manmade, that shouldn’t lead us to grant more power to the state; the more serious the problem, the more disastrous any centralised, bureaucratic solution is likely to be. And if on the other hand global warming turns out to have been overhyped, that shouldn’t lead us into complacency about the plutocracy either. Both halves of the ruling-class machine need to be dismantled, whatever the weather may bring.

    I talked about people who take the sides they do primarily on the basis of scientific evidence, and about people who take the sides they do primarily on the basis of political calculation. But I don’t think either of those groups is the majority. Most people with positions on global warming don’t have sufficient scientific expertise to belong to the first group, and aren’t dishonest enough to belong to the second group.

    I suspect most people take whatever position they take on global warming because people are generally more likely to read, and/or to believe, whichever scientific case best fits in with their worldview. If you’re conventionally left-wing, then you’re probably accustomed to thinking of business interests as selfish and irresponsible forces that need to be reined in by public-spirited civil servants, and so you’re going to view claims that seem to support the business community with heightened suspicion. If, on the other hand, you’re conventionally right-wing, then you’re probably accustomed to thinking of business interests as decent hard-working folks who are constantly being demonized and micromanaged by rapacious regulators, and so you’re going to view claims that seem to support government regulation with heightened suspicion.

    Even if these respective value-judgments were correct, one should be cautious about allowing them to influence one’s view of the evidence. But I don’t think they’re even correct; one should avoid putting too much faith in either the bosses or the bureaucrats.


    I think everyone here ought to read this article. CLS is good stuff.

  4. This is from a discussion that posting Roderick Long’s comments started on the LPArizona Yahoo group.

    — In, “Craig Bolton” wrote:
    > Paul, I think that you’re missing a point.

    Paul) Not at all.

    >The “global warming debate” has less to do with whether or not the Earth is heating up marginally, than it does with the notion that this would be a “catastrophe,” if true, and that governments should THEREFORE “do something major and now.” It is not too difficult to notice that odor of a religious crusade that was also present, e.g., when the Bush administration was whipping up public opinion to invade Iraq.

    Paul) Certainly among some people, which is why I though I would bring a different opinion than the standard ones to the debate.

    Global warming is a bit of a misnomer.

    Global climate destabilization is a better term. This includes more extreme cold events, as well as stronger storms, not just warming.

    The climate is very complicated and there are a lot of feedback loops which cause one factor to overcompensate for another.

    By rapidly changing the mix of gases which make up composition of the atmosphere, changing ocean and atmospheric currents can cause all sorts of chain reactions which can be catastrophic, gradual or even beneficial.

    One proposed solution to this has been increased government regulation, or even a planned economy designed to reduce human impact on the environment.

    The problem with that is the calculation problem in planned or partially planned economies, and the practical result is that planned economies are an unmitigated environmental disaster of tremendous proportions.

    We can see that in the US, with the government – particularly the military – being by far the worst polluter.

    Much as with the environment, left-brained attempts to plan the economy have unintended (if we want to avoid grand conspiracy theories) consequences which far outweigh their stated good intentions.

    In fact the two are closely related, as can be seen by the terms: ECOnomy and ECOlogy.

    Limited liability and corporate personhood are a big part of the problem here.

    Since corporations are prevented from being held responsible for the costs and risks they externalize, by regime fiat, their profit/cost/risk calculation is skewed severely.

    This is then “remedied” by government regulation, which only makes things worse; the combined burden of taxes and regulations make it a lot harder to become an entrepreneur and easier to remain a corporate or government employee. Big businesses are far more easily able to comply with the tax/regulatory burden than small businesses, or even – through undue influence over legislators, lobbyists and regulators – be de facto exempt, largely or entirely.

    >Questions such as the following are never addressed:

    > (1) What, exactly, will be the effects of global warming on specific matters that may in fact effect human beings – matters such as rainfall, weather disturbances, sea level, IN EACH AREA? Are the estimated adverse effects for some people in some places offset by the benefits to other people in other places such that “winners” from the change can subsidize “loosers” at less expense than the change can be prevented?

    Paul) This is not something which can be answered, much less easily, given our current state of knowledge – if at all.

    I don’t think the evidence on global warming is nearly as conclusive as some think.

    It may indeed be a myth, non-anthropogenic, or not a problem; then again, it might. It’s a complicated issue, and it’s been ten years since I was current on all the lastest scientific literature in the field (i.e. actually reading the journal articles and books from
    various sides of the debate), but I’ve kept up with the layman news on the issue and I don’t think anything is nearly as conclusive as some people would like to believe.

    But, if we take the global warming theory to be factual, Steve Kubby has some solutions:

    So, if global warming does turn out to be correct, there are in fact some libertarian political approaches to take on this issue.

    > (2) What are not likely effects of the change? Presumably all of the Hollywood scenarios – global submergence of most land, glacerization, the atmosphere catching fire, etc., are not likely, but, strangely enough, I don’t hear the proponents of the “emergency” mentioning that they are not likely.

    Paul) Of course not. Hollywood’s job is to make money. Alarming, unlikely scenarios have long been Hollywood bread and butter.

    > (3) Whether anything can likely be done even if “we all” recognize that there is a problem. There are these matters called “national sovereignity” in politics and “free riders” in Economics. Hence, the fact that the U.S. and Britian, say, divert $100 trillion dollars to their “public sectors” over the next decade for the purported reasons of reducing carbon emission [that’s the latest cure all, right?] doesn’t mean that the PRC and some major South American nations aren’t going to make up the difference during that same time period as their economies continue to develop. It also doesn’t mean that most of that $100 trillion won’t in fact end up in the pockets of politicians and bureaucrats and will have zero impact on global warming.

    Paul) Fully agreed, as Dr. Long pointed out, I do believe.

    > People some times say that I am cynical for not buying into each new craze as it comes along, but somehow I’ve noticed overtime that we haven’t yet been burned to a crisp by a nuclear holocaust, engulfed by so many people that most of us starve or can’t walk around, run out of fossil fuels, had our lands and bodies poisoned by toxic chemicals, or many of the other catastrophes that we were scientifically assured would end civilization and the human race many decades ago. I have, however, also noticed a number of people making big bucks “solving” those problems while declaring that they were becoming worse and worse. [Somehow, a problem which is profitable never gets better.]

    paul) True.

    Upon closer examination cases of “market failure” tend to be cases of government propping up bad business.

    Limited liability is a big part of this problem. Companies’ owners and managers are not responsible personally for the damage they cause.

    If that were done away with, along with the fiction of corporate personhood, all of a sudden all kinds of polluting activities become less profitable, more costly and more risky.

    What the government gives with one hand it takes away with the other.

    All these regulations mainly serve to stifle small business.

    Some of the businesses being killed off or prevented from forming might have been providing innovative solutions to environmental problems.

    Big business can write custom loopholes into the law through lobbying; it can have its own compliance bureaucrats making sure the letter of the law is followed while breaking its spirit; it can employ past and future legislators and regulators; if worst comes to worst, it can afford occassional fines or restructure and keep on tickin’.

    But are we better off with a system which provides incentives for people to be corporate employees rather than entrepreneurs, and whose economic growth is stifled by taxes and regulations?

    Historically, people start to care more about the environment as they become more prosperous: environmental protection is a luxury good.

    By stifling the economy, regulations reduce prosperity, an effect which is cumulative over time.

    So, indirectly, regulations may be hurting the environment more than they are helping.

    It’s a case of what is seen and what is not seen: the help they provide is visible, the damage – which is mostly opportunity cost – is harder to see or calculate.

    Government breaks your leg, hands you a crutch, and expects you to thank it for making it possible for you to walk (paraphrasing Harry Browne).

    So it is with the environment.

    Environmental regulations embody values that society comes to accept naturally as it becomes more prosperous through economic development, but its practical effect is to slow down the pace of the actual environmental benefits those changing values could be providing in the free market.

  5. Y’know, Paulie, both you & Craig Bolton are newcomers to the LPAZ-discuss yahoogroup. So I find it hilarious that this has wound up here. 🙂

    That being said… all discussion of global warming “predictions” is really rather facetious considering the following: There is no model for predicting jetstream variability; furthermore, there is no work being done to create one.

    I find this… very interesting; how can one predict what the world is going to be like if one of the key factors for meteorological prediction (especially over time) isn’t even accounted for? (Let alone more: the temperature regulation effect of precipitation hasn’t been attempted to be “predicted”. It’s more strongly acknowledged, however.)

  6. Very true. GCMs are getting better, but they still have a long way to go.

  7. All they’re doing is improving the pixellation rate. The fundamental modeling mechanisms haven’t changed since the ’70’s.

    Back to the topic at hand, however; the movie does do at least one *FUNDAMENTALLY VITAL* thing: it demonstrates the fact that the IPCC is nothing more than an extremely politicized body whose leadership is pushing a specific agenda regardless of the actual input.

    I mean, seriously; where else could you get away with this statement: “Per the results of the study we haven’t finished yet, new laws regulating X, Y, and Z ought to be established. The study will be edited to reflect these requirements.”

    Somehow this is seen as a legitimate scientific body still. I’m left thinking, “What the hell happened?”

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