Monday, December 14, 2009

Is AGW Being Treated as a Tool for Advancing a Failed Ideological Agenda?

I am having a hard time figuring out what to think about AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). I have no difficulty believing that the planet is going through a warming phase; after all it is always either warming or cooling because climate is never static. And throughout recorded history, warm periods have always enabled civilization to advance; global warming (eg. the Medieval Warm Period) is always good and ice ages are generally bad - both for humans and for lots of other species that go extinct in ice ages.

The cast of characters fervently advocating global warming alarmism is pretty shady and the implications of the proposed "solutions" are potentially worse that than AGW itself. Charles Krauthammer outlines some of the considerations that give one pause in an op ed piece in the National Post today.

"One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another NIEO [New International Economic Order] shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.

Politically it’s an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich-man’s guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt. But the idea of shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment thrives not just in the refined internationalist precincts of Copenhagen. It thrives on the national scale too.

On the day Copenhagen opened, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed jurisdiction over the regulation of carbon emissions by declaring them an “endangerment” to human health.

Since the U.S. operates an overwhelmingly carbon-based economy, the EPA will be regulating practically everything. No institution that emits more than 250 tons of CO2 a year will fall outside EPA control. This means over a million building complexes, hospitals, plants, schools, businesses and similar enterprises. Not since the creation of the Internal Revenue Service has a federal agency been given more intrusive power over every aspect of economic life.

This assertion of vast executive power in the name of the environment is the perfect fulfillment of the prediction of Czech President Vaclav Klaus, pictured, that environmentalism is becoming the new socialism — the totemic ideal in the name of which government seizes the commanding heights of the economy and society.

Socialism having failed spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is saving the planet."

Jonah Goldberg quotes a couple of fervent AGW promoters who admit openly that AGW is a convenient excuse for doing what they want to do on other grounds anyway:

"Indeed, some of loudest voices have a weird habit of telegraphing their priorities. Tim Wirth, a former senator and now chairman of the United Nations Foundation, once said: “We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” New York Times columnist and prominent warm-monger Thomas Friedman has repeatedly said (most recently this week) that he doesn’t care if global warming is a “hoax” because, even if it is, the fear of it will force us to do what we need to do.

And it just so happens that with the exception of nuclear power — which most greens still won’t support — global warming fuels nearly every progressive ambition. Wealth transfers from rich to poor nations: Check. The rise of “global governance” and the decline of American sovereignty: Check. A secular fatwa not only to erode capitalism but to intrude on every aspect of our lives (Greenpeace offers a guide to carbon-neutral sex): Check. Weaning us off of oil (which, don’t let the Goregonauts fool you, was a priority back when we were still worried about global cooling): Check. The checks go on for as far as the eye can see, and we will be writing them for years to come."
So here are what I consider the main reasons for suspicion of the whole AGW scheme.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

For me it comes down to this: extraordinary claims (like those of AGW) require extraordinary evidence. If we really are bringing about a global climate change which will be catastrophic to human civilization, let's by all means fix the problem. But the solutions are so drastic and costly that we better be really sure that a) the problem exists and b) the solution will actually solve or satisfactorily solve the problem.

As for governmental frameworks for global climate change solutions, I am not sure which (statist v. free market) would work best.