We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote(s) of the day

There are some libertarians who believe there may be something to AGW, and see using markets the way to mitigate the consequences. There are also libertarians (and conservatives and lefties) who think AGW is a preposterous fraud, and who naturally have no interest in finding solutions to a non-existent problem. But AGW per se is not a ‘libertarians vs. non-libertarians’ issue. You can still be a libertarian and think there is something to AGW, you are just going to see the ways of dealing with it very differently to command-and-control statists.

– Perry de Havilland

Bonus SQOTD, also from the same raucous beer and grappa fuelled discussion the other night…

Let me answer by rephrasing your question: “Do I trust a bunch of lay observers more than I trust a bunch of academics… academics whose professional acceptance and funding will be put at risk if they commit heresy against the True Faith and suggest AGW might not in fact be the indisputable truth?”

28 comments to Samizdata quote(s) of the day

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Eco-hippies generally believe their opponents adhere to a straw man version of what they actually believe.

    There are a number of questions related to AGW:

    1, Is the climate changing?
    2, Is man affecting the rate of change?
    3, Will that change produce catastrophic results?
    4, Is man the dominant factor influencing that change?
    5, Can man’s influence be mitigated?
    6, Is it better to do something about man’s influence on the climate instead of adapting to a new climate?

    Generally eco-mentalists seem to think question 1 is the only one of importance, and all of the others are automatically answered “yes” if 1 is. This of course is not the case.

    I’m of the view that 1 and 2 and definitely “yes”, and the rest are probably “no”. The Earth’s climate changes – that’s what it does. We’re probably having an impact as a species, but as soon as nature decides to turn a corner, any impact we have will immediately be overwhelmed. If the Earth wants to get hotter or colder, there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

  • PeterT

    Sadly I think for many eco-loons answering ‘yes’ to question 2 is enough to justify species self-suicide. Such is the depth of their depravity.

  • I think AGW, if true, is rather trivial, and that Catastropic and Immediate AGW is a giant bucket of metaphorical cow dung, concocted by politicians to corrupt scientists and to do politics, of a very bad sort. But, I strongly agree that such opinions as that need to be separated from libertarianism itself, even if the majority (I don’t know but guess) of libertarians think roughly as I do about these things.

    See also: religion. With that I have much less idea about how opinion slices up within the libertarian movement. It might be interesting to know, but basically, I don’t care.

  • Tedd

    JV:

    Excellent summary, and I think would answer the questions the same way you did. Also, the first 4 (possibly 5) questions are entirely technical and therefore completely unrelated to libertarianism, or any other political or philosophical orientation — except possibly ontological idealism.

  • John B

    The AGW libertarians may like to ponder this.

    In order to assess what effect using the markets has on reducing AGW requires some way of measuring AGW… but none exists.

    The climate scientists who set this hare running twenty-odd years ago insisted they could identify an anthropogenic signature in the near surface temperature record, in fact insisted the observed temperature anomaly could ONLY be explained by anthropogenic influence and could not be attributed to natural variation.

    But after 1995, that supposed anthropogenic signature disappeared, despite the greatest increase in Manmade CO2 emissions and a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration!

    The observed temperature anomaly for the last 17+ years at first flat-lined, then declined over the last six or seven years… and… the climate scientists cannot explain it.

    Since clearly, from observation, the temperature anomaly record cannot be relied upon to report an anthropogenic signature (possibly because it is so slight it is lost in the noise of natural variation), how can any reduction in CO2 emissions be monitored so it can be known if market activity is having positive, negative or no effect?

    It is like management of a supermarket trying to figure out what products to stock and best prices to attract customers and increase sales, but then having no sales data available to gauge success.

    Whether the Men of System or the free marketeers get their way how best to deal with AGW, whether real or imagined, makes little difference if there is no real time way of measuring effect, or whether there is a problem in the first place.

    Waiting 50 or 100 year intervals to see what happens to assess efficacy of action, make adjustment is not really a good plan or how markets work.

  • In order to assess what effect using the markets has on reducing AGW requires some way of measuring AGW… but none exists

    Nope. Irrelevant even :-D Although I am not one of those believes-in-AGW libertarians (I am very much in the “it is utter bollocks and moreover a great many of the proponents are wilful liars and scoundrels” camp) but I have heard enough to know many would reply thusly:

    liberalising markets, making people freer and less regulated and introducing free trade makes people richer. Richer people choose to have less children, can afford to build more dykes, dredge more rivers, improve more sea defences and build more houses on stilts, ergo freer markets will mitigate the consequences of AGW better than command-and-control systems that make people poorer and imprison people more frequently.

    This is not about “we need to convince AGW libertarians the there is no AGW”. It is about “is AGW a libertarian argument?” and I would say no, it is absolutely not, demonstrably so given that there are pukka libbos who think there is something to AGW. But if a self-described libertarian says more regulation is what is needed due to AGW, then that too is useful as they have just outed themselves as ‘not in fact a libertarian’.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    There are other positions for libertarians to take. In particular, I believe:

    1) Generally speaking, the actual science is reasonable.

    2) Generally speaking, the public popularizers of AGW make claims untenably past what the science says. For example, Al Gore’s claims in various media go astonishingly far beyond what the IPCC report says. His now ten year old “An Inconvenient Truth” included claims to the effect that sea levels might rise 20 feet (nearly seven meters) by 2100, where the IPCC report predicts a rise of perhaps half a meter over that period.

    3) Regardless, the IPCC scenarios for 2100 and beyond operate under the assumption that technology will not significantly change between now and then — an assumption that is clearly absurd on its face. Technology of all sort will be unrecognizably different. I do not see how planning over a time horizon that long is even remotely rational.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    I agree with the prevailing scientific consensus, that AGW is 1) real, 2) artificial, 3) growing, and 4) a menace. I trust the science, but I don’t trust the politics: that I should unplug my life, turn over my affairs to a load of greenie socialists, and go live in a tree. They weren’t able to seize power at the barricades or the ballot box, so I don’t want them to do it at the thermostat.

    It’ll be great if there are free market solutions, but I confess I don’t know what they could be. If we make the oil and natural gas grid more robust and less leaky, and come up with viable alternative fuels without having to turn our cities inside out, that will be all to the good.

  • Richard Thomas

    Sadly I think for many eco-loons answering ‘yes’ to question 2 is enough to justify species self-suicide.

    PeterT, I think you have it reversed. For these people, it is the urge for species self-suicide that drives the justification for answering “yes” to question 2.

  • Tedd

    There clearly is a free market “solution” to AGW: create as much market freedom as possible so that “solutions” can be discovered and implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible. The idea that, say, carbon credit trading is a free market solution is nonsense, since it depends from step one on the creation of “value” outside of markets.

    If one insists on some kind of imposed “solution,” a carbon tax makes more sense. It’s simpler and, most likely, less prone to rent seeking. (Though clearly not immune to it.)

  • Tedd: yes.
    In fact, it occurs to me that the watermelons have proved themselves wrong here. They managed to get agw into “commonly held belief” territory all by themselves without government help- politicians lept on the bandwagon quite late in the day.
    And the market is now full of companies trumpeting their low carbon credentials as an advertising tool. The whole scam (and scam I believe it is) has been an object lesson in how campaigners can convince lots of people of something and the market will find ways to sell them stuff that accords with that something, all without any need for state coercion.

  • Brad

    A libertarian, purely, should be anti-offensive Force and use defensive Force only in cases of clear and present danger. I do not see any clear and present danger in climate change whatsoever, so even defensive Force is not justifiable. One can see clear and present danger in a plague and act accordingly. Talk of rising water levels a hundred years from now is pure conjecture and is no justification for the use of any kind of Force.

  • Mr Ed

    There is probably a higher proportion of Church of England vicars who openly don’t believe in God than Climate ‘scientists’ who openly question AGW.

  • Rich Rostrom

    ISTM that CAGW is fairly close to a “silver bullet” for anti-libertarians. The conposition of earth’s atmosphere is a close to an absolute commons as one can get.

    The alleged problem is totally globalized, totally diffused. Any activity anywhere in the world that emits CO2 contributes; the effects are felt in everywhere in the world.

    Thus the problem can only be solved by collective action. No one may be allowed to choose whether to join in this action. At the very least, everyone must pay for it.

    I cannot think of a better excuse for all-out statism.

  • Chris Monckton (better known as Lord Monckton in these parts) talks about what is really behind AGW in the shorter (about 3 minutes) of two videos at this link:

    http://classicalvalues.com/2014/07/chris-monckton/

  • Rich Rostrom
    July 10, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Nails it.

  • I agree with the prevailing scientific consensus, that AGW is 1) real, 2) artificial, 3) growing, and 4) a menace. I trust the science,

    Then you have not studied it sufficiently. The “science” is tarted up non-sense.

    We are in fact headed for a little ice age. The signs may be objectively visible this year. By no later than 2020 it will be more than obvious. This little ice age is projected to last until about 2080.

    It is explained in this video how the “science” was MADE. Note: I did not say discovered.

    http://classicalvalues.com/2014/07/co2-airborne-fertilizer/

  • Ljh

    CAGW is a libertarian issue: attaching the ” catastrophic” to it legitimises the bureaucratic classes to extending their remit and intimidating the tax generators into acquiescing. AGW on its own is just an interesting idea that testing models against real world data seems to be failing.

  • Synwave

    “Do I trust a bunch of lay observers more than I trust a bunch of academics… academics whose professional acceptance and funding will be put at risk if they commit heresy against the True Faith and suggest AGW might not in fact be the indisputable truth?”

    Oh yeah. Follow the money. Too many people are on the AGW gravy train to expect “truth” to matter a damn. Too many grants, subsidies and salaries depend on repeating the AGW mantras. You wanna get tenure and have a nice secure job? You better not be a “denier”. You want to get a byline in your paper? Then cut that shit out about “Climate Gate”. Always follow the money.

    There will be a niche market who can make money by telling the truth, but once the legislation gets passed and the tax flows get directed into the trough, the Big Money is in supporting AGW. Is AGW true? Who cares! You think anyone getting paid on that basis actually gives a damn? It isn’t about truth, it’s about money. It’s always about money.

  • It isn’t about truth, it’s about money. It’s always about money.

    Actually is it about control. But yes you are still correct, because what does money buy? It buys control. When people have money they have control over their lives. That is why statists like rich states and poor people. It is just a way of measuring control.

  • PeterT

    There is probably a higher proportion of Church of England vicars who openly don’t believe in God than Climate ‘scientists’ who openly question AGW.

    Unfortunately also

    There is probably a higher proportion of Church of England vicars who openly don’t believe in God than openly question AGW.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    I addressed this a couple of years ago, when I still blogged on my own blog. My position is identical to Perry’s. I was rather pleased with the last bit, though:

    But what if the only way to prevent catastrophe is to dramatically reduce emissions immediately? Then there will be catastrophe! Governments are not able to co-ordinate the whole world into reducing emissions. They’ve been trying for long enough and not succeeding. Now, how do you want to face catastrophe? Free, or constrained?

  • Gareth

    Economics has ‘solved’ the AGW problem to the same flimsy degree that climate models have ‘proved’ AGW exists yet the solution is not being adopted. The Stern report said all we need do is put a small tax on CO2 emissions and let markets do their stuff. In the time frames considered (a century or so) the tax is small enough to not depress economic activity too much so wealth continues to grow and we can afford to adapt to climate change whether it is man made or not but, the tax is big enough to nudge us in the direction of faster improvements in efficiency.

    Political parties are going *far* further, in a far costlier and command economy fashion than the Stern report ever suggested was necessary. Why would they do this?

    Things have been presented to us in reverse – the costly command economy is the goal not reducing CO2 emissions, adapting to climate change or preventing AGW. They are just excuses.

    There is a complicating factor though, and that is the length of political careers being much shorter than the time climate models suggest AGW becomes a problem and economic models suggest it would take for us to tackle AGW in the least risky way.

    In getting former Friends of the Earth campaigner Bryony Worthington to write the Climate Change Act Ed Miliband didn’t want to set in motion a gentle and cost effective progression to some Star Trek style future of limitless clean energy and expendable red-shirted men. He doesn’t want David Cameron’s shiny faced offspring several generations hence taking credit for the UK achieving net zero CO2 emissions in a year. Ed Miliband wanted something he could crow about year after year and election after election.

  • Jacob

    It doesn’t matter if CAGW is true or not, and it is devilishly difficult to prove it one way or the other.

    But, if you examine the “mitigation” policies that have already been implemented, at a cost of about 360 billion $ per year, you cannot help but conclude that these people (the political leaders and CAGW activists) are stark mad. Utterly mad. Look at those ridiculously useless and harmful windmills, at the expensive, useless (though harmless)solar panels, at burning our food (a.k.a ethanol mandates) and at the burning of whole natural woods (a.k.a biomass). This is not science, not complicated, not debatable, it is a simple engineering issue.
    The people who do that (who have done it already, and continue) are lunatics, dangerous lunatics. This is the “settled” part of this debate.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Let us for one moment entertain the notion that the greens are right and greenhouse gases are causing catastrophic climate change and “something must be done”.

    Unfortunately, our lords and masters are not fit to do anything, in some cases they make the problem worse. So, even if the final stage of the argument is won, the fact is that the moronic idiots in charge cannot learn from history, and the climate is doomed anyway.

    Leftists have been responsible for horrendous policies leading to widespread destruction and harm, they are the last people to turn to for guidance.

  • Robbo

    It is irrelevant whether C_GW is caused by civilisation’s burning of coal and oil. The questions are, first, is there C_GW, and if so, what if anything, can we do about it, regardless of its cause – if indeed causes can be ascribed within a chaos system. The green position that we have to destroy civilisation in order to save it is illogical, but so is the position that if C_GW arises from natural causes rather than man- made, we don’t need to do anything to avert or ameliorate the C.

  • Jacob

    “we don’t need to do anything to avert or ameliorate the C” [is an illogical position]

    Man has always adapted and survived by doing what is needed to avert or ameliorate natural catastrophes.

    But, acting irrationally, though not rare for man, isn’t what will save us from catastrophes.

    The “mitigating” measures undertaken so far (as I mentioned above) will not avert or ameliorate anything, because they cannot achieve the ends they claim to seek: reduction of emissions. They are just the irrational result of the “we must do something” hysteria.

    Even if “doing something” is required, it must be done in a rational way, that can achieve the desired goals.

    When judging the validity of the whole CAGW claim, you cannot help, and should, also consider their recommended remedies. It is here that you can easily discern that they are lunatics.