This is a rather cautious riposte to the noisy consensus that seems to get all the publicity. Bradley follows Lomborg in pointing out that programs like Kyoto will make so little difference that the money notionally saved might just as well be spent elsewhere – dealing with poverty will do more to clean up the environment that instituting measures that will bear down more on the poor than on anyone else. Since their effect on climate will be minimal anyway, further, even more difficult negotiations must follow.
The free market has done more to solve problems of resource shortages and pollution than the activities of governments; a broad hint that these, defined as statism by Bradley, will be incorrect when applied to climate control. Perhaps unfortunately, he also coins the term stasism, to define the radical environmental position, basically “a wish to return to an idealised stable past” (p. 109).
He sees the current consensus as discounting the benign effects of greater warmth, which occur more in winter than in summer, at night rather than by day and where it is cold rather than hot. Also not taken into account has been the beneficent effect on plant growth of higher levels of carbon dioxide, the optimum for which is 800-1200 ppm, about two to three times what it is now (375) and twice what is forecast for the end of the century (522). He also notes that increased melting of the Antarctic ice sheet at one edge is balanced by thickening at another and by more precipitation onto its land-mass.
His non-polemical language makes it difficult to grasp his most salient arguments, and to some extent I feel that he assumes that the current fuss will die down and that it will become another scare to look back on.
There are three appendices, the first quoting forecasts that, over the years, have been falsified by events, the Ehrlichs being prominent here; the second, positive features half-buried in the latest Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published by the CUP in 2001; the third, extracts from Jevons, the first doomsayer on the subject of resources, in 1865.
I note that Bradley has written a book entitled Julian Simon and the Triumph of Energy Sustainability (2000).