August 3, 2013

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD ON CLIMATE SCIENCE:

Global greens develop stupid, horrible, expensive, counterproductive climate policy agendas, and then try to use the imprimatur of “science” as a way to panic the world into adopting them. All too often, in other words, they fall prey to the temptation to make what the science says “clearer than truth” in Acheson’s phrase, in order to silence debate on their cockamamie policy fixes. A favorite tactic is to brand any dissent from the agenda as “anti-science.” It is not only a dishonest tactic; it’s a counterproductive one, generating new waves of skepticism with every exaggeration of fact.

We need a deep rethinking on the policy front. The problems of climate science need to be disaggregated. How do we help China and India move from coal to less carbon-intensive forms of energy use. How do we accelerate the US shift from coal to cleaner natural gas? How can we accelerate the shift from an industrial economy to an information economy in ways that allow the economy to grow and living standards to rise without making the environment worse off.

Environmental policy thinkers almost always begin with statist, top-down fixes, and quickly embrace crony capitalist ideas that involve subsidies for certain types of energy production, such as the ethanol abomination. Powerful economic lobbies then run with these ideas, perverting them until their environmental benefits take a back seat to their usefulness as tools of wealth capture.

This leaves environmentalists increasingly frustrated, increasingly panicked, and with increasingly little to show for it.

I dunno, quite a few of them have gotten increasingly rich along the way.

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