Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Global Warming/Climate Change Legislation

Here's my take. I haven't had much time for blog updates lately, so I'm lifting passages from earlier Facebook posts. Enjoy the leftovers.

People spend way too much time arguing over whether global warming is happening. That simplifies things way, way too much in light of the policies that people are advocating. It's not just a question of temperature. We have to ask the following:

1. Is the Earth getting warmer?

2. If yes, can we be certain that it is getting warmer due to human activity?

3. If yes, do the negative effects of increased global temperatures outweigh the positive effects of increased temperatures?

4. If yes, can we do anything to meaningfully change this trend?

5. If yes, what will this cost, in terms of money, quality of life, and human lives?

6. Does the potential negative impact of global warming exceed the costs of No. 5 to an extent and degree of certainty that, on balance, justifies these costs?

7. If yes, can we be certain that everyone worldwide will get on board, and we won't run into a
free rider problem?

That still omits a lot of variables, such as the rate of change of temperature, etc. But even if you can answer yes to Nos. 1 - 4 and 6 - 7 with a 90% degree of confidence, that still close to a coin-flip that you're doing the right thing.

And even if you assume there is a 99% probability on items 1-4 and 7, there is absolutely no way that No. 5 can be answered with any degree of certainty, which makes No. 6 essentially impossible to answer.

While the impact of rising temperatures on humanity is difficult to predict, the impact of rising prices for essentially everything people own or use is not. The entire purpose of the proposed cap and trade, or carbon rationing plans is to artificially drive up the cost of energy, with the
hope that costs will rise so much that wind/solar/etc. power will be affordable in comparison.

Because essentially all industries rely on carbon producing forms of energy, including manufacturing, shipping, retail, restaurants, and anyone with an office, the profits, payroll, and viability of each of these industries will sink. Also, if you heat your home, run your air conditioning, drive a car, wear clothing, or eat, it will impact you, too.

No comments: