Monday, 19 October 2015

Never let a warmist ‘crisis’ go to waste?

Naomi Klein spills the beans on what warmism is all about: Embedded image permalink“Better” meaning, by her standards, a world in which trade, energy, intellectual property and capitalism are all expunged. Along with the undeniable historically-unprecedented worldwide prosperity it has brought. Naomi Klein: using an alleged warmist crisis to end global trade.

In that context, consider Dim Post’s dim suggestion this morning that NZ should shun a free-trade deal with the world’s largest trading bloc because the deal doesn’t recycle the warmist mantra. :

One thing we should have learned from the TPP [he says] is that we’re entering a period of diminishing returns from free trade deals.

Well, yes, But a positive return is a positive return. Duh.

But there’s also an opportunity cost here [he says].

Oh really?

While all of our diplomats are trying to negotiate lower dairy tariffs to grow our economy they’re not doing anything about climate change…

Ah. Of course.

    Droughts and extreme weather events are expensive things. The 2008 drought cost the country about $2.8 billion in one year (the TPPA is supposed to bring in $2 billion over ten years). To avoid entering a period of catastrophic droughts and storms we have to agree on a global reduction of carbon emissions. So that’s something need to be negotiated between states. Y’know – diplomatically. It is so, so stupid that we have all of these diplomats running around trying to eke out trivial gains from trade agreements while ignoring this massive looming crisis that is going to devastate our economy.

He calls this the opportunity cost of free trade myopia. You can see why the adjective describing his posts is “dim.”

First, the 2008 drought—the worst since 1978--had nothing to do with global warming. Dim Post’s post is cunningly written to suggest a link, but of direct links there are none. Droughts have been endured for centuries, and will be endured for centuries more. Worse have been recorded (as “worst since 1978” clearly shows), and will probably be recorded again, but the fact is that the attempt to link droughts to human production of CO2 is fatally flawed. Droughts, floods, storms, hurricanes … none have shown any increase as atmospheric CO2 has risen (although both plant growth and plant tolerance to drought have), and global temperatures themselves have stopped rising for 18 years.

Second, it’s impossible to quantify the gains from free(er) trade, and only bureaucrats would try to. The greatest gain from freer trade is being more closely a part of the worldwide network of division of labour—in which by definition almost literally anything can happen, one result of which is having moved around 138,000 people out of poverty every day for the last 25 years as global markets have become more free.

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Third, even if catastrophic global warming were even a thing, why would anyone think that if socialism and severely hampered markets were a disaster at fifteen degrees they would somehow become the world’s saviour at seventeen?  Even efforts at fifteen degrees to fight the alleged warming have done more harm than good. But if  there really were a catastrophic rise in sea levels and temperatures and more areas were exposed to drought because human beings were producing what they need to stay alive and prosperous, wouldn’t you want the nimblest possible system imaginable to respond to all the unexpected outcomes that would emerge from that? As former Czech president Vaclav Klaus once pointed out, even by their own standards their "apocalypse that isn't" requires not enormous state intervention but intelligent adaptation, and in that a bigger more controlling state can only hinder rather than help.

Human adaptation, he says, is not the province of either the state or of climatologists; it's carried out by individuals with the freedom to act.

Sea-level, for example,

has been relatively stable for the past 5,000 years or more.. It is extremely unlikely that the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps could melt in less than thousands of years. It took millions of years for them to accumulate. And we are quite capable of adapting to sea level rise, look at what the Dutch have done, reclaiming the seabed for farmland. After devastating wars whole cities are rebuilt in a matter of a few years. And if the warming is natural, it seems we would be better served by focusing on adaptation rather than holding back natural trends which are inevitable


what best enables "adaptation to climate both now and in the future" is the "universal adoption of the institutions of the free society." That is, free and open debate and inquiry, the free and unrestricted operation of resources and of the pricing system and of land use, and the free and open use of technology and science to inquire into and adopt new technologies.
George Reisman has been saying all along, rather than loud and long calls for government "action" -- "action" that consists only on bans or restrictions on private action -- we should let human ingenuity and the price system of the free market work out solutions to whatever problems do arise, in exactly the same way as human ingenuity and the price system of the free market has done in the past. Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek says simply enough that when it comes to what governments should do about global warming we should "shrug."

For a species -- us -- whose means of survival consists not in adapting ourselves to nature but by adapting nature to ourselves, it's almost a truism, or should be, that the more control humanity is able to exercise over nature, and the larger the ‘footprint’ we make on the planet, then the better the future is likely to be. Or at least it becomes a truism when you accept that fact about human nature.

In other words, if global warmism were a thing, in contradiction to both Dim and Klein, we would need more capitalism and free trade, not less.

So unless you’re the sort of person who likes to help manufacture a crisis to make a point, let’s try to embrace that freer trade with the EU, eh?

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