Monday, August 27, 2007

More from the Great Global Warming Omni-Justification

The catalogue of things that the threat of climate change has been used to justify continues to lengthen. We've already had:

""China is already doing a lot," said Hu Tao, of China's State Environmental Protection Administration. He said China's one-child per couple policy introduced in the early 1980s, for instance, had a side-effect of braking global warming by limiting the population to 1.3 billion against a projected 1.6 billion without the policy."


"It's used as an argument for agricultural subsidies which take the form of ethanol subsidy (an absurd response to climate change) in the United States and an, albeit modified, continuation of the CAP subsidies in Europe.

It's used as an argument for vegetarianism. We already knew that vegetarianism usually means consuming less agricultural production but so does eating or otherwise consuming less in a range of ways; the efficiency challenge of global warming should surely be to maintain the highest level of consumption for a given level of warming? Eating less probably has more fringe benefits given obesity levels but no one proposes that as a solution to global warming, do they?

It is used as an argument for global governance instead of democratically accountable nations; the transnational elites that Steyn refers to.

It is used as an argument for 'soak the rich' socialism; most notably through the "contraction and convergence" doctrine.

It's used as an argument for greater taxation. While everyone argues the hypothetical of a neutral switch for non-green taxation it never quite seems to work out that way.

It's used as an argument against an expansion of airports and foreign travel for those on medium-low incomes; turning our back on one of the great achievements of the twentieth century in deference to narrow 'not in my backyard' opposition."

Now let's add voting for the BNP:

"The BNP claims that "immigration is creating an environmental disaster", and worries that if we let in more migrants Britain will become "a tarmac desert"."

As I've said before its simply a matter of political incentives. The hysteria of the climate change debate has allowed the green movement to pass off some truly shoddy policies. Other groups hope for a similarly easy ride.


Gracchi said...

Come on Matt any cause can be used in this way. I know Tories who are concerned about immigration- concern about immigration can be used to justify race war doesn't mean that those Tories I know advocate race war. Any concern about anything can attract bad people with bad solutions- both the Fascists and Communists were concerned about unemployment in the thirties, doesn't mean any of them had anything to do with liberals and conservatives who were also concerned.

THe question that I would like you to address is what you think of the science- do you have a peer reviewed paper on global warming that refutes it, or should we just accept this is a problem like unemployment in the thirties that will attract stupid solutions, but needs a solution.

Vino S said...

I agree with Henry on this. It does seem that average temperatures are rising. How much of this is due to humans can obviously be debated but it seems to me that there is a need for policies to cope with the consequences of this and, if possible, to halt or reverse it.

It does seem a form of guilt-by-association to accuse those who are concerned about global warming of somehow being to blame for the human rights violations caused by China's one-child policy [which pre-dates the current concern about global warming] and of somehow being to blame for the BNP now talking about the matter.

Matthew Sinclair said...

My point isn't that being a green leads one to supporting the BNP. That's obviously absurd. My point is that the green cause is being used to support just about every cause going. I think that says something about the green debate and how the unscrupulous have spotted how stunted it is, they hope to use that to their own ends.

Matthew Sinclair said...

Oh, on your question. I think there probably is anthropogenic global warming. I do not think it is a problem with a character so unique that policies designed to solve it should be absolved of proper questions about their costs and effectiveness. It may be, for example, that it is not cost effective to avoid very substantial warming and rises in global emissions over the coming years.

Dave Cole said...

I would say, though, that there 'conspicuous environmentalism' is something of a problem. There was someone on Today this morning suggesting that planning rules should be made easier to allow more people to put windmills and solar panels on their houses. All well and good, except that cavity insulation saves more carbon emissions.

The voting for the BNP argument is pretty weak, Matt. You've been reading the Daily Mail too much.

Matthew Sinclair said...

You're making something very similar to my point. Groups are trying to 'green' all sorts of issues. I'm just asking why.

You're all getting way too excited and assuming I'm making a rather greater logical leap than I actually am.

Gracchi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gracchi said...

I realised the last comment was a mite stupid. Anyway if your point is that green issues can be used by all sorts of people for all sorts of ends its one I agree with. If your argument is that that somehow discredits green ideas its something I disagree with.

Matthew Sinclair said...

Cool. This post is about the debate not the ideas or the people.

Dave Cole said...

While I disagree with the specific instance about the BNP, who I think we already knew to have a propensity towards spurious arguments, I agree that there is an awful lot of jumping on bandwagons that have been recently painted green.

I think Matt is more sceptical than I am about both the severity and possibility of remedial actions around anthropogenic carbon emissions. His point, though, stands; throwing money at the problem won't make it go away and may just about piss people off so much that they won't do anything about carbon emissions.

The case in point is the recent protest at Heathrow. There was no single, clear message (so they fail on PR, lesson one, chapter one) but the most obvious message was 'we should stop flying'. That is just silly; it is not going to happen in a month of Sundays. Had they come up with 'reduce flying by building high-speed railways' they might have had a chance.

There has also been an amount of calling people like Matt 'climate change-deniers'; Matt is entitled to be, in our view, wrong.


Gracchi said...

Of course Matt is entitled to be wrong- so are we all and I think the point of this post if I can take Matt and translate for him is that its right there should be a debate and to debate against some actions based on climate change or even climate change itself is not equivalent to holocaust denial. On that I agree.

Matthew Sinclair said...

I didn't even mention holocaust denial. I seem to have confused you all which is rather upsetting. All I was saying is that the debate over green issues is stunted (holocaust denial comparisons is certainly one reason but far from the only or most important one) and that all sorts of opportunists are jumping on the green bandwagon.

That point doesn't have much to do with my own scepticism of the green movement. If I were a green I'd feel pretty aggrieved at all the nutters weighing my wagon down.

Gracchi said...

Sorry I think I've got to cross purposes with you again- what I was meaning is that what you were saying was that it was possible to be acceptably sceptical about environmental policies. That the hysteria which does equate scepticism to holocaust denial is wrong. That green policies deserve evaluation on their merits. I think that's the main point out of this- and that some green policies are pretty awful.

Meg said...

The fact that so many people are trying to tie their own issues into environmentalism only means that "environmentalism" is a very broad issue. It's the same way everything can be tied to "family values" in the US (not sure if you guys use that particular buzzword much in the UK)-- it doesn't say anything about the issue itself except that it's related to almost everything, so everything can relate itself to being green. It's not positive or negative, it's just a result of the environment being a present factor in everything we do.