Monday, December 7, 2009

Reader Rebuttal

A reader writes:
Whoa whoa whoa! whats happening here? Is that CO2 crow you're eating? how does it taste?You cant go from being a flaming liberal greeny and completely flop without explanation on the CO2 issue.

This caught me off guard, especially since I wasn't aware I had flip-flopped on CO2 at all. So I went back and reviewed what I had written. The sentence to which I assume the reader is referring is this one:
And really, is CO2 even that bad? Climategate has shown us that there is a very real possibility that scientists aren't completely sure about the long term effects (and cause) of rising CO2 levels.

Now I can understand how this seems a flipflop, and for that I apologize. But although I acquiesce that climate scientists have potentially not been entirely empirical with their data, that does not mean I personally think that the case for anthropogenic Earth-destruction has been weakened. As I ranted here, there are innumberable other examples of humans desecrating this globe like Godzilla in Tokyo. And personally, I think we have been belching an ignoble and sickening amount of gaseous death into our own air. All I was suggesting was that setting some sort of CO2 cap, and/or forcing reductions with no well established incentives other than idealist bullshit, limits both capitalism as well as innovation.
Better, I believe, is a world where businesses can (semi-) recklessly spew whatever they want into the air but busy and ingenius engineers have devised methods to not only capture that airborne waste, but to profitably utilize it.

Arbitrarily setting some sort of CO2 "point" above which a country cannot go does no one any favors, not even Earth.



Benjamin Dueholm said...

I've discerned four general positions on climate change:

1) Climate change is not happening; it's a UN conspiracy
2) Climate change is happening but we don't know whether/how humans are participating in it
3) Climate change is happening, we're causing/aggravating it, and the best thing to do is mitigate the effects in various ways
4) Climate change is happening, we're causing/aggravating it, and we should regulate CO2 output to blunt its long-term effects.

I think #3 and #4 actually go together pretty well; the very modest goals set by the relevant governing bodies will still leave us with plenty of climate change to mitigate in various ways. The real chasm is between these views and #1 and #2. If climate change is real and if human activity is contributing to it significantly--and on this there is still no widespread scholarly dissent, some stolen emails notwithstanding--it's very, very important to act on it now. Any carbon limit will inevitably be arbitrary, but it's important to remember that it will be an arbitrary "point" that most climate scientists will consider far too high for our long-term welfare. You need to start somewhere. You need to get the ball rolling toward a post-carbon economy somehow. %17 reductions from 2005 levels in 16 years (or whatever is being talked about) will be very doable and also, sadly, quite inadequate to the problem. But it's a start.

laffytaffy said...

The flip I was referring to was your arrogance and sarcasm based off of your first mention of climategate in your post “Deep Thought on Population Control” on Tuesday Nov 24th and your post “Quote of the Day, Climategate Edition” on the same date based off my reply.