Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thought for the day

My position on "global warming" is thus:
I think it rather likely that CO2 emissions have contributed to temperature increases in the 20th century. I don't know anybody who disagrees with that, actually. The key policy question is whether we're headed for a disaster (which could vary from losing several habitats and hundreds of endangered species or to end of civilization as we know it in the worst case) if we don't classify CO2 as a dangerous pollutant and cease and desist from creating it. I confess that I'm not all that interested in the policy question. I'm interested in a different policy question, that of political and scientific free speech. Suppose that the most extreme apologists are correct and the physics of the universe is such that doubling the CO2 levels over the next century will raise global temperatures by five degrees Celsius, on average. Suppose that this is correct. It still remains the case that the science isn't good enough to prove it. I get concerned when people talk about "Global Warming Deniers" in the same tones they use for "Holocause Deniers" (Holocaust Denial, spelled in capital letters, is a crime in Germany) and say that the climate debate is "over" and that people who disagree are by definition not real scientists and should not receive public funding--and the ones who rely on private funding are by definition stooges of the energy industry.
Persecuting or criminalizing honest differences of opinion is a more serious matter in my eyes than spending $1 trillion to prevent a catastrophe that doesn't occur. I don't say this lightly because a trillion dollars is a lot of money. Of course Niven's Law says "No cause is so noble that one cannot find a fool following it" so the viciousness of many global warming apologists does not necessarily reflect poorly on their cause, but it does reflect poorly on our nation as a whole.

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

No comments: