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Opening Arguments

Science and politics

The climate-change debate is one of those issues we've tossed into the great polarizing kettle. Either climate change is a catastrophe just around the corner requiring massive government intervention, or it's a lot of noise about nothing, perhaps even a hoax. You might find this interesting, a piece from someone of the center-right persuasion who doesn't see things in either-or terms:

Fourth and finally, it is important to recognize that some degree of warming is already hard-wired into the system.  This means that some degree of adaptation will be necessary.  Yet as above, recognizing the reality of global warming need not justify increased federal control over the private economy.  There are many market-oriented steps that can, and should, be taken to increase the country's ability to adapt to climate change including, as I've argued here and here, increased reliance upon water markets, particularly in the western United States where the effects of climate change on water supplies are likely to be most severe.

I recognize that a relatively brief post like this is unlikely to convince many people who have set positions on climate change.  I can already anticipate a comment thread filled with charges and counter-charges over the science.  But I hope this post has helped illustrate that the embrace of limited government principles need not entail the denial of environmental claims and that a concern for environmental protection need not lead to an ever increasing mound of prescriptive regulation.  And for those who wish to explore these arguments in further detail, there's lots more in the links I've provided throughout this post.

Those of us on each side of the debate like to think it's about science, but it's really more about politics. In fact, the whole climate-change brouhaha shows the dangers of mixing science and politics. Science is fluid, always seeking answers, always willing to change its mind as new evidence unfolds. Politics wants certainty, an immediate and permanent solution to problems perceived as static and unchanging until they're fixed. Basic incompatibility.


Thu, 05/31/2012 - 2:58pm

First let me say that being a Warmist is fast becoming the unpopular side o the AGW argument .  We Skeptics are seeing more and more information that says that we have been ripped off for years by scientists who are bending their findings to support the marxist green movement. James Delingpole calls them Watermellons - green on the outside and red in the inside.

With the science now in place to explain that, historically, rises in atmospheric CO2 follow a warming climate (not the other way around), we no longer have reason to hopelessly chase solutions to unsolvable conditions.  Then there is the reinforcement by CERN that cosmic rays and the sun are the basis for our climate changes, not humans being humans. There has been no sign of global warming in 15 years and it looks like we are headed into a short cold spell based upon conditions on our sun. 


Christopher Swing
Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:34pm

Ah, James Delingpole. Again. You're certainly fond of the novelist/columnist. Whose experience is in politics, not science.

Delingpole writing in the Daily Wail isn't anything to do with science, it's just Delingpole trying to sell more books based on politics.

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:22am

Gadfly, thank you for posting the URL.  Delingpole and The Daily Mail are in part responsible for outing the inferior " science"  in the IPCC report.

If you are interested, you might want to check out  " Criegee biradicals."  This research from Sandia National Labs will perhaps lead to a resolution to the imagined CO2 contamination.

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:22pm

If you get all your information from Conservapedia, Fox News and World Net Daily, of course you think there is some sort of debate among climatologists. Likewise among biologists apropos evolution. But there is no controversy among the experts. The tiny number of skeptics among doctorates in their fields are considered crackpots by the vast majority.

As far as "fraud" is concerned, what could plausibly be the motive? Anything you can come up with is dwarfed by the motive of huge fossil fuel consumers to deny that carbon causes global warming.

The recently released "The Republican Brain" does a very nice job of explaining why conservatives so often reject science. I recommend it (realizing, of course, that no conservative will read anything he figures he won't agree with).