Global Warming Is Not a Threat But the Environmentalist Response to It Is

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 01 Jun 2007 00:08:47 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

George Reisman at - as you know if you've been following this site, I believe that the earth is warming, but that it has little or nothing to do with human activity. It's caused by the sun being in the warm part of its cycle. Mr. Reisman makes it crystal clear that even if global warming were human caused, and even if the cause were CO2 levels in the atmosphere, responding by massive cuts in human CO2 output might be a really big mistake. [lew]

As the result of industrial civilization, not only do billions more people survive, but in the advanced countries they do so on a level far exceeding that of kings and emperors in all previous ages -- on a level that just a few generations ago would have been regarded as possible only in a world of science fiction. With the turn of a key, the push of a pedal, and the touch of a steering wheel, they drive along highways in wondrous machines at seventy miles an hour. With the flick of a switch, they light a room in the middle of darkness. With the touch of a button, they watch events taking place ten thousand miles away. With the touch of a few other buttons, they talk to other people across town or across the world. They even fly through the air at six hundred miles per hour, forty thousand feet up, watching movies and sipping martinis in air-conditioned comfort as they do so. In the United States, most people can have all this, and spacious homes or apartments, carpeted and fully furnished, with indoor plumbing, central heating, air-conditioning, refrigerators, freezers, and gas or electric stoves, and also personal libraries of hundreds of books, compact disks, and DVDs; they can have all this, as well as long life and good health -- as the result of working forty hours a week.

The achievement of this marvelous state of affairs has been made possible by the use of ever-improved machinery and equipment, which has been the focal point of scientific and technological progress. The use of this ever-improved machinery and equipment is what has enabled human beings to accomplish ever-greater results with the application of less and less muscular exertion.


Even if global warming is a fact, the free citizens of an industrial civilization will have no great difficulty in coping with it -- that is, of course, if their ability to use energy and to produce is not crippled by the environmental movement and by government controls otherwise inspired. The seeming difficulties of coping with global warming, or any other large-scale change, arise only when the problem is viewed from the perspective of government central planners.

It would be too great a problem for government bureaucrats to handle (as is the production even of an adequate supply of wheat or nails, as the experience of the whole socialist world has so eloquently shown). But it would certainly not be too great a problem for tens and hundreds of millions of free, thinking individuals living under capitalism to solve. It would be solved by means of each individual being free to decide how best to cope with the particular aspects of global warming that affected him.


Emissions Caps Mean Impoverishment

The environmental movement does not value industrial civilization. It fears and hates it. It does not value human life, which it regards merely as one of earth's "biota," of no greater value than any other life form, such as spotted owls or snail darters. To it, the loss of industrial civilization is of no great consequence. It is a boon.

But to everyone else, it would be an immeasurable catastrophe: the end of further economic progress and the onset of economic retrogression, with no necessary stopping point. Today's already widespread economic stagnation is the faintest harbinger of the conditions that would follow.

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