I keep a weblog like it's still the 90s. For commentary and dissent please visit jontaylor.ca, or various other purveyors of thought online.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

I don't think the state can/should fight climate change...

... nor should it.

Wow! That’s a great weight lifted of my chest. Now here’s a list of reasons and arguments about why you too should not be encouraging the state to fight climate change.

Climate Change will lead to increased biomass (read: food, trees and fuel).

Olivier Deschênes of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Michael Greenstone of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have written a pair of papers that assess some effects of climate change. In the first, they use long-run climatological models — year-by-year temperature and precipitation predictions from 2070 to 2099 — to examine the future of agriculture in the United States. Their findings? The expected rises in temperature and precipitation would actually increase annual agricultural production, and therefore agricultural profits, by about 4 percent, or $1.3 billion.

Climate Change affects the world’s poor most (but so would a Static Climate).
We have to come to grips with the fact that poor people will always get the shit end of the stick, always. More rainfall will hurt the poor but so will less. Acting on precautionary (i.e. non scientifically based) policy based on computer models will divert funding away from trade liberalization, food production, water sanitation and disease control. There are more projects that deserve more funding than “Fighting Climate Change” at the Copenhagen Consensus website.

Climate Change cannot be fought by taxation.

As Dubner and Levitt point out the environment does not respond to tax incentives. The beauty of weather is that it does its own thing, and whether the weather is good or bad, you can be pretty sure that it didn’t come about in response to some human desire to fix a problem. Preventing people from using industrial means to support their family could (arguably) help “Fight Climate Change”, but it would also starve or kill a number of people in the process.

Don’t get me wrong, human induced changes to the environment are usually bad. They have in the past increased our risk of skin cancer, the spread of malaria and poisoned our drinking water. But, human induced changes will occur so long as there are humans.

Here’s a quick suggestion to anyone who wants to personally make a difference: STOP EATING MEAT.

Until people (collectively) are willing to make a small personal sacrifice (like giving up meat), the state should not be willing to make a large misguided economical sacrifice (like Kyoto).