07 June 2007
If one small part of the global warming debate is doubtful what about the rest of it?

At the Berlin conference last weekend Ernst Beck gave a talk on the history of CO2.  In essence what he said was that it was a crock.  CO2 concentrations haven’t gone up at all and there’s nothing to worry about.

I’ve heard this sort of thing before.  There are all sorts of dissenting scientific viewpoints out there stretching from “There is no global warming” to “There is global warming and it’ll be a good thing”.  And then the economists get going with the debate over prevention versus adaptation.  It all leaves me a bit cold.  My problem is that libertarians spend much too much time trying to deny global warming rather than engaging on the level of “What if it’s true…”  It smacks of running away from the debate which to my mind is a sure-fire way of losing it.

So, on the level of conclusions, I wasn’t all that hot on Beck’s talk.  But it did make me think.  It was how he went about his research.  He pointed out that:

  • the leading proponent of the increased CO2 concentration argument carried out his research on a volcano
  • many of the early measurements were carried out incorrectly
  • much data has been ignored
  • CO2 concentrations vary both by time of day and by lunar cycle
  • there are doubts about the accuracy of the ice core record

There were probably a few other problems with the CO2 argument that I have since forgotten.

What struck me was that it seemed that will never be able to pin this stuff down.  And this is in only one tiny part of the case.  If there are doubts here then there are bound to be similar doubts in all the other areas.

For some time I have been arguing that global warming is something that could be dealt with by the courts but I am beginning to doubt if even they would be able to come to any firm conclusions.

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  1. > My problem is that libertarians spend much too much time trying to deny global warming rather than engaging on the level of “What if it’s true…”

    Well, for what it’s worth, here’s my argument:

    The experiment about what type of politics or economics leads to the least pollution has already been done: we split Europe in half and tried Capitalism on one side and Communism on the other.  Then, circa 1989, we went into Eastern Europe and took samples of their air, their rivers, etc, which we could compare to similar from Western Europe.  The results: increased state control over the economy and over people’s behaviour leads to massively increased environmental pollution.  I cannot therefore understand why most environmentalists are socialists.

    I do also have problems with the science behind popular climate change theories, but I regard them as essentially academic.  If the worst scaremongering is true, then great: to avert disaster, we know what we have to do: more Capitalism and less statism, now!

    Posted by Squander Two on 03 July 2007 at 03:10pm

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