Monday, 23 September 2019

I don't think that the Alarmists believe the horror scenarios

Most people who have jumped on the Alarmist band-wagon are arguing for things that they would have argued for anyway, which have little to do with reducing CO2 emissions, for example Ed Miliband calls for 'wartime' mobilisation to tackle climate crisis. The militant vegans say we should stop eating meat. The NIMBYs say we should stop fracking. The 'climate scientists' are holding out for more government grants. Authors can get on the best-seller lists with titles like Life After Warming. You're not going to sell many books saying that everything will sort itself out just fine. The solar panel people want subsidies for solar panels. Large landowners want subsidies for windmills. Etcetera.

They also jumble in a lot of common sense stuff that has little to do with CO2 levels in the narrow sense, like reducing air pollution in town centres; plastic waste in the oceans; deforestation etc.

Then there are the Useful Idiots who probably do believe it and really enjoy the attention, but that's a group think thing, to paraphrase Harry Enfield, "I am considerably more Alarmist than you." I'm sure it's the same in any sub-culture, be that followers of a particular football club; fans of a particular pop group; racists, vegans, even Georgists. You want to attend every away game and own every replica kit; own every CD and attend every concert; be more racist than the others; wear plastic shoes; decry corporation tax or higher rate income tax (which are largely taxes on 'rents', so fit in with general Georgist principles IMHO).

If any of these Alarmists seriously believed a fraction of their own propaganda, you'd expect them to buy a log cabin in the wilds of Canada or Scandinavia, become self-sufficient and arm themselves with a shotgun. You wouldn't expect them to be buying beach front villas or cheerfully flying from one international climate change conference to another.

And if they don't really believe it, I don't see why I should.

15 comments:

A K Haart said...

I agree, very few seem to take it seriously. It's a pity the common sense stuff has become associated with loons - makes it seem less sensible than it is. Wasted money and effort is the big loss.

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, the common sense stuff just makes sense. Pollution is clearly very bad thing.

hreward2 said...

St GRETA might like this !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=665&v=8455KEDitpU

Mark Wadsworth said...

H2, she won't.

Sobers said...

The climate change/global warming shtick is the ultimate 'watch what I do, not what I say' lesson in life.................

James Higham said...

Yep, we’re all going to be dead one day.

L fairfax said...

I think this a prime example of double think - believing two contradictory things at once.
As people cause more climate change, you would think that everyone is in favour of child benefit being limited to the first two children. Sadly this is not true.
Despite the fact that having less children is meant to be the best thing you can do for the planet.

Bayard said...

LF, there's literally hundreds of things that the government could do like that that would be good for the planet and most of them involve making energy derived from fossil fuels (i.e. most energy) more expensive, but no-one wants them to do it, despite this being the only thing that has been proved to make people consume less energy, because it would "hurt the poorest in our society". Most of the climate change nonsense is thinly disguised class warfare aimed where it will be least effective at actually addressing any of society's ills.

George Carty said...

Bayard, the more fundamental problem is that fossil fuels are fungible, so if one country uses less fossil fuel (due to government intervention, greater non-fossil-fuel energy generation or even just more efficient use of energy) then that just reduces the global market price and leads to more fossil fuel use in other countries.

The only way out of this trap would be to somehow make clean energy cheaper than fossil-fuel energy.

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, ta.

JH, true, not sure it's relevant.

LF, B, GC, interesting points, but off topic. My question was, does anybody seriously believe the notion that we are going to Hell in handcart and 0.01% extra CO2 is to blame? Seriously?

The Stigler said...

I don't really believe much of it any longer.

At a fundamental science level, yes, raising levels of CO2 will raise the temperature. That's solid, testable science. But the models aren't just about that, they're about things like feedback effects.

It's not just about being "considerably more Alarmist than you", although there is some social status around that. One thing to remember about global warming is that it swiftly took off after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The communists had spent decades arguing that communism would make people richer and the argument was already fading, but that was the death blow. So they changed the argument. It was no longer that communism would make us richer. Capitalism might have made us richer, but that was at the cost of the planet and would kill us all. So, communism, government doing a whole load of things, providing jobs for the boys, was necessary to make sure we don't kill the planet.

One of the reasons I go with the Pigou tax line is that it reveals what the communists really want. I can't argue the science, but market based solutions solve the problem, if there is one. The communists hate that because there's no jobs for the boys.

And your beach house example is the other thing. Name a business that has changed how or where they operate because of global warming or the forthcoming threat from it. Is the marginal wine growing land in Spain and Lebanon falling in value because it'll be too dry in 20 years? Are the houses of the Margaux buying land in the Charente-Maritime to produce wine in future, in a sort of Lex Luthor way? Are insurance premiums changing anywhere? There's a lot of stuff like companies sticking solar panels in the car park, but it's clearly just green PR.

Bayard said...

"That's solid, testable science."

Actually, if you look into it and have a basic knowledge of physics, even that claim is a bit dubious.

L fairfax said...

According to the Guardian - not always reliable, it was accused by its own correspondent of suppressing his reports of the Ukrainian famine
French wine companies have been buying land in the UK because of climate change concerns.
https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/vineyards-climate-change-threat

(I think other newspapers did report this).
So this is an example of business investing on the belief that climate change will happen.

It is certainly true that CO2 does absorb IR - the effect on temperature is far too complicated for me to prove.

Bayard said...

LF, no-one is denying that the climate is changing (well a few loonies are, but there are always people like that). It would be very surprising if it wasn't, considering that it always has done. In the C13th, all the white wine drunk in England was grown in England. The Romans had vineyards outside York. So again we know we can grow wine in this country, given the correct conditions. So do the French.

It is an easily observable fact that CO2 absorbs and re-emits IR radiation, but whether this is responsible for warming up the planet is not so easy to determine, given the relatively tiny amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, compared to the most important "greenhouse gas", water vapour.

George Carty said...

"One thing to remember about global warming is that it swiftly took off after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The communists had spent decades arguing that communism would make people richer and the argument was already fading, but that was the death blow. So they changed the argument. It was no longer that communism would make us richer. Capitalism might have made us richer, but that was at the cost of the planet and would kill us all. So, communism, government doing a whole load of things, providing jobs for the boys, was necessary to make sure we don't kill the planet."

I don't think that's quite right, at least not where the communist left is concerned. I think it's more likely that their route to reactionary environmentalism was more indirect, going from Leninism (which argued that the non-collapse of capitalism in the West was because part of its working class were actually a "labour aristocracy" bought off with imperialist plunder: note that before Lenin, Marxism was not markedly anti-imperialist in rhetoric) via Maoism/Third-Worldism (which wrote off the Western working class altogether, seeing essentially all of it as labour aristocracy).

Once far-left sects had decided to write off Western workers in favour of Third World workers, it wasn't such a big shift to change the focus from Third World workers to Third World nature.