Thursday, May 29, 2014

Climate change: do we really need 'radical' action?

As well as being a pain in the arse for the people of Edinburgh and endangering people's lives, one of the punchy slogans on view at yesterday's climate chaos protests was 'RBS funds & profits from climate chaos'. Of course, none of the protesters benefit from 'climate chaos', eh? Most of them sounded like they came from England, I suppose they all got to Edinburgh by yoghurt-powered scooter?

I'm always open to new evidence on climate change but I generally lean towards the view that it is happening and carbon emissions are a big factor. In my early days tweeting I was told because I believed this I wasn't a 'true' libertarian, but I don't see how having a particular political view of the world should cloud your view of scientific evidence. Of course green socialists are also guilty of this, climate change provides a great opportunity for more state control of the economy and our lives, so will seize upon any single weather event as proof of climate armageddon. Meanwhile, it seems more convenient for libertarians to refute any evidence of warming (and there is plenty, honest!) rather than face the more difficult task of providing solutions to the problem that don't involve nationalising the economy!

However, it is nearly always people, and not governments, that improve the world, so we shouldn't just see this as a left-wing issue. We should start by asking the question - do we need to do anything at all? There is already a certain amount of warming built in, and the consequences certainly won't all be negative. Areas previously too cold for large population settlements would become more inhabitable and fertile for agriculture. Also, there really is no substitute for oil, and the consequences of de-carbonising economies would be catastrophic for living standards and people's lives. It's not really surprising that the 'caring' left seek to deny emerging countries the opportunities we have had in industrialised nations. There are possible solutions such as geo-engineering that I think we should do more research into, rather than trying to hold back the tide of human advancement.

We can't just change to a low-carbon economy by the flick of a switch, and the costs of this never seem to be taken into account. You would certainly never see this on the greenies' flippant banners.

No comments:

Post a Comment