Thursday, November 19, 2009

What They Really Believe

I came home today to a column in our local newspaper by NYT columnist Thomas L. Friedman.  It was teased thus:
Don’t believe in global warming? You’re wrong, but I’ll let you enjoy it until your beach house gets washed away.
Thanks, Tom. Considerate of you to "let" me.  Two things.  One, I don't own a beach house.  And judging  by the Red/Blue political maps, I'd say that most people who do are not your "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd.  Further, unless your house is about 25 cm (IPCC number) lower than the lowest safe height above sea level, you have more to worry about from coastal storms than you do about rising sea levels.  And that's IF the IPCC is right about what's going on.  And it hasn't been so far.   The models can't seem to predict climate at all, really.  It's been quite embarrassing.  Besides, you don't seem terribly concerned about it in practice.  Take another page out of the Gore book of do as I say, not as I do?
If you follow the debate around the energy/climate bills working through Congress you will notice that the drill-baby-drill opponents of this legislation are now making two claims. One is that the globe has been cooling lately, not warming, and the other is that America simply can’t afford any kind of cap-and-trade/carbon tax. 
 And both are demonstrably true, though the cooling hasn't been much.  Then again, neither was the warming.  And I note that while you infer that these "claims" are ludicrous, you didn't take those arguments on, but went on to other things instead.  Why?  Because you can't take those claims on and win.  They're true.
But here is what they also surely believe, but are not saying: They believe the world is going to face a mass plague, like the Black Death, that will wipe out 2.5 billion people sometime between now and 2050. They believe it is much better for America that the world be dependent on oil for energy — a commodity largely controlled by countries that hate us and can only go up in price as demand increases — rather than on clean power technologies that are controlled by us and only go down in price as demand increases. And, finally, they believe that people in the developing world are very happy being poor — just give them a little running water and electricity and they’ll be fine. They’ll never want to live like us.
(What?  Black Death Panels???? They're not in the bill!!!!!)

Huh, and here I thought that they believe that as countries become developed and prosperous, their birth rates drop, and that the whole point of drilling was to tap our own domestic resources instead of buying it from countries that hate us, and that we love the idea of clean power and believe that the free market will take care of that on its own as the kinks get worked out of it.  But who am I?  Just one of those crazy people who think that when you vastly inflate your money supply, it becomes worth much less, effectively taxing your citizens by whatever percentage that devalues the dollar, ruins your credit, and puts you in a very tight position with ... oh yeah, countries that you counted on to buy the debt you printed up, exacerbated by the fact that you couldn't find buyers for all of it so you started buying it yourself.  A tactic that has never, ever, ever worked and has always ended in disaster.

And THEN you plan on putting a further drag on the economy you want to tax by making energy much more expensive, making it more expensive to employ people, and tack an additional trillion or three of money we don't have onto the national debt for a road to nationalized, single-payer health-care which will be even more expensive and give most people less access to it.  Yeah, we're freakin' idiots, aren't we Tom?

Thank God we have you here to tell us what we believe. As I recall, the Drill Baby Drill crowd was calling for an "all of the above" approach, not just "drill, baby, drill".  The "Drill, baby, drill" bit was to counter the climate/enviro Chicken Little's position of continuing to buy so much of our oil from other countries -- or doing without and guaranteeing that the economy will crater.
The first is that the world is getting crowded. According to the 2006 U.N. population report, “The world population will likely increase by 2.5 billion ... passing from the current 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion in 2050. This increase is equivalent to the total size of the world population in 1950, and it will be absorbed mostly by the less developed regions, whose population is projected to rise from 5.4 billion in 2007 to 7.9 billion in 2050."
It's just about 2010.  What was the world population supposed to be by this time by 20th century doom and gloom population bomb Chicken Littles?  I'll go look that up and update later.  Point being, why should I believe you?  Did you see Al Gore's chart?  What should global temperatures be by now?
The world keeps getting flatter — more and more people can now see how we live, aspire to our lifestyle and even take our jobs so they can live how we live. So not only are we adding 2.5 billion people by 2050, but many more will live like “Americans” — with American-size homes, American-size cars, eating American-size Big Macs.
 Academics love linear extrapolation, don't they?

First of all, there are different cultural and market forces elsewhere in the world than there are here.  Secondly, I don't know a single soul who is for abandoning clean and efficient energy development.  Third, whoever does is going to make a metric sh*t ton of money ... unless the government takes 90% of it.  In which case their incentive to do so will be significantly lower.  Third, as I mentioned before, as nations become more developed, their birthrates drop.  Fourth, market forces will force people to change their consumption habits as things become more scarce.

There is not a finite amount of wealth to "spread around".   And there is not an infinite amount of wealth in government printing presses.   Wealth is created, and it has a way of spreading itself around.  Sure, more tends to stay near those who created it -- which is what gives them the incentive to create it.

For my speal on Anthropogenic Global Warming, please see my speals starting here.

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