Thursday, August 30, 2007

Some Thoughts on Global Warming

What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?
-- Henry David Thoreau

There are people who take a scornful view of environmentalism and of global warming in particular, with some summarily dismissing it out of hand. The rejection of global warming theory seems to take two main threads, the first that takes the view that the idea of global warming is overblown and alarmist:

“The Earth's climate has always shown natural variation … There is nothing to suggest that any warming we are seeing now is not part of that natural cycle.”
--Richard Lindzen

The second reaction is based on a fear that environmentalism might interfere with the pursuit of profit:

“Anti-global warming activism … is based on a horror of capitalism, a hatred of the 'wasteful' choice that such a system creates, and a loathing of the profits that are the engine of growth."
--Dominic Lawson

Personally, I don't know if the horrific predictions about global warming are accurate, either in whole or in part. In this instance, I really hope that those who believe global warming to be an incorrect theory are correct. But I think it's arrogant and short-sighted to stick one's fingers in one's ears and insist categorically that it doesn't exist. The prudent thing to do is to take it seriously and to back further research into it, for causes and possible solutions. If the environmentalists are wrong, and it turns out to be just a natural climate cycle, after all, all we've lost is some money, which can be made again.

But if the environmentalists are correct, making the wrong choice will mean that our descendants will not have a planet to make money on.

I'd say it's better to pay now and make money later than to make money now and pay later.


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