Climate as an Indicator of Faith in Government

The Antiplanner wrote last Friday’s post in a rush after four days of dealing with near-record low temperatures, so it was probably a bit jumbled. Yet it set off a healthy debate that was both polite and instructive. So let’s continue a bit further.

On Sunday, Chris Matthews asked his guests — Dan Rather, Kelly O’Donnell, Helene Cooper, and Andrew Ross Sorkin — why it is that roughly 80 percent of liberals believe we need climate change legislation while 80 percent of conservatives don’t. Since Matthews and all of his guests are liberals who believe we need climate change legislation, they couldn’t figure it out.

The answer, as I was trying to get across last Friday, is that liberals believe government is good and they want more of it. The climate issue is just one more excuse to justify a bigger government. Conservatives believe government is bad and they want less of it. So, even those who agree that anthropogenic climate change is real are not going to accept that government has a role to play in solving the problem.

(For what it’s worth, I don’t like the terms “liberal” and “conservative” in this context because both are too broad. In the 19th century, “liberal” meant what “libertarian” means today — someone who believed in free markets, free trade, and protection for the rights of minorities. Meanwhile, many conservatives today don’t truly believe in small government. To keep the sides straight, I’ll use the term “progressive” for those who believe in big government and “libertarian” for those who believe in small government.)

Going back to Gifford Pinchot, progressives have used environmental issues as an excuse for big government for well over a century. But most environmental issues have free-market solutions that work far better than government. Worried about declining ocean fisheries? Privatize the fish — it worked in Iceland and New Zealand. Worried about future water supplies? Privatize the water. Those who pathetically believe there is some virtue in having things owned in common — which might work if there are only a few score common owners, but on a large scale guarantees overuse — find the privatization response to every issue annoying.

That’s what makes climate change such a golden issue. What are you going to privatize to stop climate change? Where is your free-market solution now, huh? We finally gotcha! Who cares if we don’t understand the science or the models. Who cares if we are putting our faith in concepts we would absolutely reject if they gave us answers we didn’t like. Who cares if some minor scientists in East Anglia, wherever the hell that is, tried to manipulate data or suppress debate. The important thing is that climate change demands a big-government solution, and progressives like big government.

The libertarians understand the trap the global warmers have laid for them, and they act with near-desperation to avoid it. They offer at least three very different responses to the problem.

First, “global warming isn’t happening.” This depends on critiques of the computer models, the heat-island effect, the monitoring stations, and so forth. (Those who hold this view had a field day with climategate.)

Second, “the earth may be warming, but it is just a natural cycle.” This response relies on data showing both short-term (20-year), sunspot-driven cycles and long-term (millennial) cycles in temperatures. (For what it’s worth, the Antiplanner leans towards this view.)

Third, “anthropogenic global warming is happening, but it will be more efficient to adapt to it than to try to prevent it.” This response points out that, even if everyone follows the Kyoto protocol, the earth will still warm up. Moreover, the costs of trying to limit emissions today would be far greater (especially when discounting the future) than the costs of adapting tomorrow. (The Cato Institute’s Pat Michaels falls into this category.)

Of course, it is never so simple: these three views actually grade into one another. But let’s say you believe in anthropogenic global warming and you believe that, with the right taxes, incentives, and regulations, governments can minimize the damage by forcing people to reduce emissions. Would you support such taxes, incentives, and regulations?

If you are a libertarian, the answer is still a firm “no.” Why? Because you know that government screws everything up. Just look at the shenanigans going on in the health care legislation to see what I mean.

But let’s say you agree there is only a 1 percent chance that anthropogenic climate change is going to cause problems in the future. If you are a progressive, you will still demand that government take action to tax, subsidize, and regulate the economy to reduce that chance. (By the way, Dick Cheney is no libertarian and not even a very good conservative, so the fact that he originated the 1-percent doctrine is not persuasive to libertarians.)

If I could be persuaded that anthropogenic global warming were real and that we can do something about it now, I would theoretically support a revenue-neutral carbon tax (that is, a tax balanced by reductions in income and other taxes so that the government gets no net increase in revenues). But I don’t believe Congress is capable of imposing such a tax. Instead, it wants more money and more power, which means cap-and-trade. Even if Congress went for a carbon tax, it would not keep it revenue neutral.

So, to the extent that global warming might be happening, I fall into the adaptation camp. The numbers I’ve seen suggest this is the economically optimal solution anyway. This is especially true given the risk that it isn’t even happening: mitigation will cost a lot whether it is happening or not, but adaptation will only be needed if it actually does happen. But even if adaptation were not economically optimal, I don’t trust government to come up with a mitigation plan.

In short, the real issue is not, “Is anthropogenic climate change happening?” Even if they could decipher the science behind the debate, which few of them can, the answer to this question doesn’t even matter to either progressives or libertarians.

The real issue is, “What should we do about it?” Progressives want big-government solutions because they believe in such solutions with or without climate change. Libertarians oppose such solutions because they know government does far more harm than good even when the original intentions are sound.

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34 thoughts on “Climate as an Indicator of Faith in Government

  1. Dan

    Of course, fantasizing about irrational people solving for a problem that can’t be marketized because it is non-rival and non-excludable is ridiculous on its face, if you can get past the boilerplate ‘privatize everything’ trope. And American solutions that rely on markets makes the ‘the people want big gummint’ ridiculous as well.

    Ah, well. The entire planet is acting. Despite the hand-wringing of a small minority.

    DS

  2. Dan

    Yes, most of the planet understands the issue:

    Controlling tobacco use is the highest immediate priority for global health, while climate change is the biggest threat to health in the medium and long term. The longstanding efforts to control the impact of the tobacco industry have important lessons for climate control.

    Both health threats are underpinned by scientific evidence of increasing robustness. …

    There are many similarities between tobacco use and climate change. In addition to causing huge damage to population health, both cause substantial adverse social, economic, equity, and gender effects. Both have long lead times between cause and effect, and both require long-term policies and monitoring systems. The number of countries implementing the policies effectively is far too low. Negative effects are increasing over time and will have greatest effects in low-income countries and poor populations. Both issues are influenced by strong vested interests; moreover, delaying tactics and the use of “junk science” by opponents of change have impeded effective policies.

    Externalities require public policy intervention because markets cannot and will not deal with them. As with tobacco use, climate change requires local action informed by local circumstances. But in both cases, solutions ultimately depend on globally coordinated policies.

    … The effects from climate change will be global; those countries responsible for the most cumulative emissions are much less damaged than those who suffer most from the health effects.

    …The main lesson from tobacco for the Copenhagen conference is that delay in agreeing on international policy and poor implementation will cost countless lives. We must act now in the interests of future generations.[emphases added]

    DS

  3. TexanOkie

    Howdy, Randal:

    I applaud you for installing Ajax Edit Comments to your blog so we can make minor corrections. I have a further suggestion, albeit along a different topic – can you look at adding a Facebook share link to your “Spread the Word” column on the right hand side of your articles?

    Sincerely,

    TXOK

  4. t g

    Since O’Toole is addressing the issue of odds, I will take it up again.

    He writes, “let’s say you agree there is only a 1 percent chance that anthropogenic climate change is going to cause problems in the future…”

    From his dismissive parenthetical at the end of this paragraph (“the fact that he originated the 1-percent doctrine is not persuasive to libertarians“), I’ll assume O’Toole might go less than 1% (I must assume for he has not submitted his own odds – would a reading of only lead one to raise or lower the odds?).

    Let us consider what 1% odds are: that’s a 100 to 1 payout.

    Now, I’m not much of a gambling man. I bet only on chess, and only when I’m playing. And even then, even when I know I can win, I still only bet even money. 1 to 1. 50%.

    In this debate there’s no reasonable way to determine the outcome without allowing emissions to go unregulated and waiting a couple decades. So it’s easy for O’Toole and Karlock to throw out absolutes as if they meant anything. It’s easy (and meaningless) to deal in absolutes when there’s no way to establish them.

    But one can look at ancillary data to establish a party’s odds. Merely look at the average risks they take in their life and the maximum risk they’ve ever taken and you have your bounds of study. The question then is, O’Toole, Karlock, et al, what measures are you taking to hedge against the rush to curb emissions and the ultimate non-existence of AGW?

    Dan, what behavior would you expect to see from a free market, rational investor who put 100 to 1 odds against AGW?

    As if by Galileo, will the truth ultimately come out and AGW proven to be a fraud, and emission restrictions rescinded? Invest in oil then. Surely if it is a fraud, there will be some limit before the TRUTH wins?

    O’Toole, Karlock, et al, what are your odds and how are you acting (acting, not writing) in response to those odds?

  5. Dan

    tg,

    I’d call #5 a pin on the Q by the B.

    Nonetheless, the what behavior would you expect to see from a free market, rational investor who put 100 to 1 odds against AGW? is already being answered on the ground by most corporate behavior, including flooding even more lobbyists to DC to push for passage of ACES over letting EPA go to work. That is: ACES is easier to game than straight restrictions and no one is betting agin’ AGW except the hardest-core denialists.

    DS

  6. ws

    ROT: “Going back to Gifford Pinchot, progressives have used environmental issues as an excuse for big government for well over a century. But most environmental issues have free-market solutions that work far better than government. Worried about declining ocean fisheries? Privatize the fish — it worked in Iceland and New Zealand. Worried about future water supplies? Privatize the water. Those who pathetically believe there is some virtue in having things owned in common — which might work if there are only a few score common owners, but on a large scale guarantees overuse — find the privatization response to every issue annoying.”

    ws: Saying one should privatize every resource in order to “save it” is erroneous. Is a species saved if it is behind a cage? Is a water abundant if it is diverted miles from its source and creates ecological horrors along its path? This Libertarian idea that privatize everything mentality will lead to saving certain species and resources (where economically feasible), will often lead to ecologically unsound systems.

    Instead of saving the Tiger by stopping deforestation and creating a public reserve (oh the horror), the libertarian philosophy would be to capture the Tiger, but it in a zoo (to make money off of it, duh) and create a breeding program for it. Then you say that not only did people make money off the deforestation and the zoo, but the species is “saved”! A libertarian (free-market magic fairy dust) environmental success story! Yay! When I think of a wild animal, I think of a Tiger being fed by a zoo keeper behind metal bars.

    Here’s the libertard 20/20 John Stossel on the subject:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUjhZtmmAXA

    Yeah John Stoseel, let’s fence in migratory animals like elephants who’s boundaries span many miles. That makes a lot of sense. Not to mention, Bison aren’t saved, actually most of them aren’t even purebreds anymore, with junk genes in them from cattle due to farming. Oops, but hey, we’ll spin the story anyways.

    I believe in the power of free-markets for certain things, but this is one of the issues that really makes me question what libertarians are smoking.

  7. blacquejacqueshellac

    t g, a cogent analysis, and as for “Invest in oil then. Surely if it is a fraud, there will be some limit before the TRUTH wins?”, I have and I will continue to do so.

    I have available some land for sale in the Canadian North for Highwayman and DS who will no doubt wish to hedge their predictions by buying it, unless of course their noisy and offensive condemnation of those who disagree with them is a mask, a sham, a facade over a deep knowledge of the truth – that the King, he is naked.

  8. Dan

    Note how some must continue to make up sh– to have play. But it is a good indicator, no?

    Nonetheless, is it fair to trot out John Stossel to make a point? Isn’t that 15 yards for piling on? ;o)

    DS

  9. MJ

    They offer at least three very different responses to the problem

    I’d suggest a fourth, based on Bjorn Lomborg’s critique.

    He argues that climate change ranks low relative to other major world problems, but deserves some attention. His response involves spending some money now to try to lower the cost of low-carbon energy sources, with the implication that greater steps would be taken to limit emissions if/when these sources of energy become (much) less expensive.

    Potentially a fifth would be the argument advanced by Gary Becker and Richard Posner, which suggests delaying actions to reduce GHG emissions would be preferable, at least until we can get a better sense of what the risks are. When we have a better sense of what the probabilities are of zero vs. mild vs. severe consequences of climate change, we can decide how much of our resources to allocate to addressing the issue.

  10. Frank

    So “most of the planet” means one person with expertise in the field of public health interventions, health communication and policy? Not even a climate scientist? Really?

    I can’t find a scientific survey of the world, but only 51% of Americans believe emissions cause climate change. That’s a small majority, and in light of the CRU debacle, I expect it to decline to minority status.

    Regardless, Randal is right; the real issue revolves around what role government should play in mitigating real or perceived climate change. His final sentence sums it up nicely.

  11. Dan

    These would be excellent responses, save for the uncomfortable fact that Lomborg has zero credibility outside the Murdoch Media and the denialosphere-delayosphere. Few decision-makers listen to him, and his standard arguments are well-known.

    And delaying action is definitely the minority view outside the denialosphere-delayosphere, as the costs of adaptation to BAU rise very fast indeed past a certain point, as decision-makers already know.

    And what’s the benefit of additional deaths due to increased crop failures in the future??

    DS

  12. Frank

    Instead of saving the Tiger by stopping deforestation and creating a public reserve (oh the horror), the libertarian philosophy would be to capture the Tiger, but it in a zoo (to make money off of it, duh) and create a breeding program for it.

    Wow. What a mischaracterization. This is what government intervention has wrought. What an excellent straw man, though!

    You see, when GOVERNMENTS manage a common and allow corporations to pillage the common, this is what happens. When GOVERNMENTS manage a common and sell off parcels to subsistence farmers so they can slash and burn, this is what happens.

    How many zoos are government owned? The Oregon Zoo is operated by Metro, a regional governing body. And it has done the very thing of which you accuse the free market.

    So step back a little. There are many non-profit, non-governmental conservation trusts that manage private land for the goal of conservation.

    Or just keep building and destroying those straw men.

  13. ws

    Frank:“Regardless, Randal is right; the real issue revolves around what role government should play in mitigating real or perceived climate change. His final sentence sums it up nicely.”

    ws: Randall’s assertion is wrong. Progressives want government action for climate change not for their love of gov’t, but because progressives don’t believe that private industry and free-markets will solve the issue or do enough to combat it — or that the reasons behind mitigating climate might be for truly personal reasons such as greed or wealth (though some of the ideas that progressives want to pursue actually re-enforce that, actually). While libertarians’ positions regarding mitigating climate change does stem from their dislike of gov’t action over individuals/private entities, it’s simplistic to say that someone on the other side of the spectrum would have exactly polar opposite views of libertarians.

    Progressives wanting gov’t action is more of a distrust of private/market ideas rather than “government is good and we need more of it” attitude. Quite the opposite than what ROT is asserting here.

  14. ws

    Frank:“How many zoos are government owned? The Oregon Zoo is operated by Metro, a regional governing body. And it has done the very thing of which you accuse the free market.

    So step back a little. There are many non-profit, non-governmental conservation trusts that manage private land for the goal of conservation.

    Or just keep building and destroying those straw men.”

    ws:Not all zoos are public, nor do they need to be public. The example given by Stossel in the YouTube link pointed to the Bronx Zoo (probably public) — that is why I used the specific example of a zoo. The issue is to save species under the libertarian logic it generally takes the species out of its habitat or severely limits the animal to a certain area so it can be micromanaged or made money off of.

    This is not the definition of a wild animal.

    I don’t disagree with private, conservation trusts or the idea that some private entity can manage property well. If there’s cases out there that work, then great! The issue is that will not work for every flora and fauna on this planet, nor is it a panacea for saving the environment, contrary to how many times some libertarian wacko brings this point up. Usually there needs to be some economic backbone to support it. In the case of conservation areas, it takes a lot of private dollars or tourism.

    Pray tell, what exactly saved the Bald Eagle — a symbol of freedom and America?

    Better yet, can you imagine some libertard in the 70’s who would “farm” bald eagles by capturing them and putting them in a pen and then sell them to restaurants for food consumption (let’s say it was a delicacy)…and then that same person would have the audacity to say the species was “saved” because they had successful breeding program and the species was gaining in population?

    I’m not against farming, breeding programs for animals, or even eating meat. But I simply won’t have my intelligence debased by this inane logic that the species is “saved” or not “endangered” if we endeavor in relegating it to a cage or confined area far removed from its ecological roles and native landscapes.

    I suppose all of those bald eagle ornaments and paintings that always adorn the true, “freedom loving” Americans’ offices and homes depicting bald eagles swooping in on a salmon or perched on a limb facing a mountainous landscape could be replaced with an image of it in a caged pen instead? That would be a pretty sterile image, no?

  15. ws

    Frank:“Going to stick with your straw man and appeal to ridicule on free market conservation?”

    ws:I never said free-market ideas don’t work for conservation. I have, for the recorded, stated that if it works and is not distorting the meaning of conservation and what it means to be a wild animal — then go ahead. Based off of the Stossel video link, I am truly insulted that that’s actually conserving anything. I simply won’t believe that it’s the only solution in every case of conservation, to which government regulation and public commons will suffice.

    The few examples given where private entities succeeded in conservation is probably going to be dwarfed handily by the examples where the commons has actually succeeded in saving endangered species.

  16. Frank

    ws:

    This will be my last response to any posts in which you feel the need to slur opposition with phrases such as “fairy dust”, “wacko”, or “libertard” or any permutation of the word “retard”.

    As for the Bald Eagle being threatened with extinction, that is a misconception. It was faced with extirpation in the lower 48, but there were 50,000 to 75,000 Bald Eagles in Alaska and British Columbia.

    Banning DDT probably had the greatest effect on stabilizing contiguous populations, but before using this as evidence against the free market, consider that if someone harms my land or the animals that live on my land, I could sue to protect my property. This is a prime example of the potential of the free market to protect species.

    But back to your intimation that it was (solely) the federal government that protected the Bald Eagle. Consider the role of NGOs in conserving habitat. In 1974, the National Wildlife Federation conducted fundraisers with (gasp) commercial enterprises to purchase eagle habitat. Many NGOs played a significant role in habitation preservation and restoration.

    While the ESA had beneficial effects in the commons, on private land, there were unintended consequences; stiff penalties ($100,000 and/or a year in jail) for harming eagle habitat devalued land and encouraged some landowners to get rid of eagles and their habitat.

    On a related note, according to a peer-reviewed article, warming climate has also helped Bald Eagles by helping wintering birds stay farther north and by keeping waterways ice free longer.

    I don’t know where you arrived that “libertarian logic…generally takes the species out of its habitat”. The libertarian environmental groups I have studied certainly do not advocate this. (I don’t think John Stossel has studied them, nor do I care what he has to say on the matter.) Micromanagement? Visit a national park where bears have numbers tattooed on their lips, heavy radio collars bolted around their necks, and plastic tags pierced through their ears.

    I’d love to discuss true libertarian environmentalism with you, ws, but won’t tolerate your continued mischaracterizations, straw men, ad hominem attacks, and appeals to ridicule.

  17. Dan

    Lemme just say here I was on a team that did a project in Alaska that was very successful, in part because I was able to get folks at the table to agree on actions. Why was I able to do this? Because in some narrow instances, libertarianism coincides with environmentalism and I was able to talk the talk and walk the walk, and thus was a broker that could address all sides of an issue.

    It so happened that the people at the table had command of facts and had knowledge of the issues and of the environment, which differs from a number of commenters here, but still.

    Speaking of command of the facts, the majority of fact-containing folk on the planet see the need for action on climate change. Unlike the folk in this country, dullarded by the multifarious disinformation campaigns, the latest being the Swift Boat campaign after the hack.

    DS

  18. Frank

    Dan, Thanks for providing that poll.

    Its statist bias, however, is evidenced in questions like:

    “Do you support or oppose the government making investments to address climate change even if this hurts the economy?”

    Since government has no money of its own, it cannot invest. It can only reallocate or redistribute.

    And GlobeScan Incorporated in collusion with BBC (a “public corporation” which former Director General criticized for its government bias), polled face-to-face or on the telephone a very small sample of selected countries, many of which are industrialized.

    In Brazil, the sample falls below the necessary threshold for accuracy, AND it surveyed URBAN dwellers. I’m sure that didn’t skew the results. The poll was also conducted amongst urban dwellers in the majority of other developing nations: China, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Turkey, and Philippines. Many of the urban areas surveyed account for a substantial minority of the countries’ populations. For example, “In the Philippines the survey was conducted in the National Capital Region, representing 12% of the total national adult population.”

    Then look at how many African countries are neglected by the survey.

    What you have here is highly selective sampling of developing countries’ urban areas.

    Hardly representative of the world at large.

    Bias, bias, bias.

  19. ws

    Frank:But back to your intimation that it was (solely) the federal government that protected the Bald Eagle. Consider the role of NGOs in conserving habitat. In 1974, the National Wildlife Federation conducted fundraisers with (gasp) commercial enterprises to purchase eagle habitat. Many NGOs played a significant role in habitation preservation and restoration.

    ws: I never said it was the sole reason but gov’t regulation set precedent, brought attention to, and set forth a legal framework for pursuing the preservation of the bald eagle. I’m also going to guess that state and federal biologists were the ones doing a good load of the studies to determine the bald eagle was in decline in the first place.

    Suing someone in court takes money and often does not have the best or even predictable results — not to mention actually proving that DDT had a detrimental affect to bald eagles on your particular piece of property would be very difficult (time and money, once again). That’s not exactly freedom and justice for the common man, not to mention as Mike also tried to argue in another thread, it would bog down our already burdened court system with every little case regarding things that could better be suited towards legal regulation.

    My point in case to environmental degradation and court would have to be the infamous Exxon Valdez. 33,000+ people made claim to punitive damages for losing their livelihoods 20 years later. That means some of the claimants died, not to mention, Exxon appealed the case many times over years and sweet talked the punitive payments from 5 billion original settlement to 380 million:

    http://www.adn.com/exxonvaldez/story/616622.html

    That’s not to say the courts are a bad thing, but replacing laws/regulation with only courts has got to be one of the more silly arguments I’ve heard recently.

    That’s great that non-government forces helped save the bald eagle too. I am not against that, nor have I in anytime or anyplace believed only the federal gov’t should protect the environment or play the only role in conservation. Preposterous. I simply won’t believe that any gov’t intervention into environmental issue or regulation is a bad thing like so many libertarians believe (99.9%).

  20. the highwayman

    ws said: Here’s the libertard 20/20 John Stossel on the subject:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUjhZtmmAXA

    Yeah John Stoseel, let’s fence in migratory animals like elephants who’s boundaries span many miles. That makes a lot of sense. Not to mention, Bison aren’t saved, actually most of them aren’t even purebreds anymore, with junk genes in them from cattle due to farming. Oops, but hey, we’ll spin the story anyways.

    I believe in the power of free-markets for certain things, but this is one of the issues that really makes me question what libertarians are smoking.

    THWM: Well farming can work for some things.

    There are also hunter groups like Ducks Unlimited that protect habitat. http://www.ducks.org/

    Then there are animals like Axolotl that mostly survive in captivity, because of habitat loss. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axolotl

    What’s needed is a combinatation of things, education, conservation, regulation(even some hunting is fine).

  21. the highwayman

    Frank said: This will be my last response to any posts in which you feel the need to slur opposition with phrases such as “fairy dust”, “wacko”, or “libertard” or any permutation of the word “retard”.

    THWM: “Libertard” makes a lot of sense, most of you guys aren’t reasonable.

    You want rights, but also you want no responsibility.

    Frank: Banning DDT probably had the greatest effect on stabilizing contiguous populations, but before using this as evidence against the free market, consider that if someone harms my land or the animals that live on my land, I could sue to protect my property. This is a prime example of the potential of the free market to protect species.

    THWM: The ban on DDT came about from it’s abusive over use, kind of like how there are now super bugs as a result of doctors prescribing to many anti-biotics.

  22. MJ

    These would be excellent responses, save for the uncomfortable fact that Lomborg has zero credibility outside the Murdoch Media and the denialosphere-delayosphere. Few decision-makers listen to him, and his standard arguments are well-known.

    Is the fact that few “decision-makers” listen to him an indictment of his ideas or of the decision-makers themselves? Who is right? Do we even know?

    Delay and denial mean two very different things in the case of this concept and it makes no sense to combine them into a single, pejorative term. Proponents of both camps are skeptical of immediate, drastic actions to reduce emissions, but for very different reasons.

    And delaying action is definitely the minority view outside the denialosphere-delayosphere, as the costs of adaptation to BAU rise very fast indeed past a certain point, as decision-makers already know.

    And what’s the benefit of additional deaths due to increased crop failures in the future??

    Once again, being the minority view does not mean you are wrong. There is no convincing evidence that the costs of adaptation rise beyond a certain point, much less evidence that we know where that point might be. And I am certain that “decision-makers”, as conventionally defined, do not know this.

    As for deaths from crop failures, this is also a big “if”. Food supplies could be greatly increased now if governments were to drop some of the silly, security blanket policies they current follow (e.g. biofuels in the U.S., bans on GM foods in Europe). This could potentially head off any serious crop failure issues. I would also counter by asking what is the benefit of reduced cold weather-related deaths?

  23. C. P. Zilliacus

    Frank wrote:

    > As for the Bald Eagle being threatened with extinction, that is a misconception. It was faced with extirpation
    > in the lower 48, but there were 50,000 to 75,000 Bald Eagles in Alaska and British Columbia.

    As an aside, and admittedly on a tangent, the Sierra Club repeatedly tried to raise the bald eagles as a reason not to reconstruct and widen the (badly-congested) Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-95/Capital Beltway between Alexandria, Virginia and Oxon Hill, Maryland). The Club’s lawsuit (which was an attempt to delay or cancel the project) was ultimately tossed out by the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, even though it had scored an interim victory in the U.S. District Court for D.C.

    Turned out that the birds did not have a problem being near the heavy reconstruction of the bridge, a project that took most of this decade to complete.

  24. C. P. Zilliacus

    The Antiplanner wrote:

    > The answer, as I was trying to get across last Friday, is that liberals believe government is good and they want more of it.
    > The climate issue is just one more excuse to justify a bigger government. Conservatives believe government is bad and they
    > want less of it. So, even those who agree that anthropogenic climate change is real are not going to accept that government
    > has a role to play in solving the problem.

    I consider myself a liberal, though I am deeply skeptical of many claims made by persons usually considered “liberal” when it comes to matters of transportation and land use.

    I suppose I am in favor of government programs that are generally considered a success, such as the U.S. highway network, which is truly national in scope. But segments of it, especially in urban areas and especially in times when demand for capacity peaks, are clearly failing because of frequently interminable and infernal traffic congestion. Especially in those areas, I do not at all object to using pricing (instead of congestion) to signal to users of the system that demand is high. I am agnostic about how such systems should be administered, especially when discussing Express Toll Lanes (ETL) and/or High-Occupancy/Toll (HOT) lanes. They can be financed by private sources of capital and operated by a public owner, or they can be entirely private, or, I suppose, a mix of the two.

    Then we have the matter of public transportation in the United States, not successful in most urban markets in terms of new patronage and highway congestion relief. Yet public transportation authorities are a black hole for taxpayer dollars, and they tend to employ workers who are frequently members of militant union locals (consider Philadelphia and New York City as examples). Could the private sector do better? Probably, at least in my opinion.

  25. the highwayman

    CPZ: I suppose I am in favor of government programs that are generally considered a success, such as the U.S. highway network, which is truly national in scope.

    THWM: A.K.A. back door socialism.

    CPZ: Then we have the matter of public transportation in the United States, not successful in most urban markets in terms of new patronage and highway congestion relief.

    THWM: Keep in mind that transit systems are missing a lot of infrastructure, it’s not like there still is track to Annapolis MD. You guys whine about Portland OR yet it once had close to 200 miles of streetcar line.

    Most highway congestion is like a Soviet breadline, congestion charging would help.

    CPZ: Yet public transportation authorities are a black hole for taxpayer dollars, and they tend to employ workers who are frequently members of militant union locals (consider Philadelphia and New York City as examples). Could the private sector do better? Probably, at least in my opinion.

    THWM: Subcontracting is an option, though most of you don’t even want railroads or mass transit to exist in the first place, never mind restore them.

    2nd Ave in New York City is still waiting for it’s subway replacement since 1942 after the city trashed original elevated line.

  26. Dan

    Is the fact that few “decision-makers” listen to him an indictment of his ideas or of the decision-makers themselves? Who is right? Do we even know?

    Yes. Of course. He is demonstrably incorrect. This was done long ago, which is why he is largely ignored.

    There is no convincing evidence that the costs of adaptation rise beyond a certain point,

    The “convincing” bit doesn’t work. Sorry. Poor tactic.

    There is plenty of evidence, but if you choose not to find it convincing, that is not a convincing argument. Sorry.

    This could potentially head off any serious crop failure issues. I would also counter by asking what is the benefit of reduced cold weather-related deaths?

    Cold-related deaths being a long-ago refuted talking point notwithstanding, the projected crop losses are great. So simply eliminating subsidies (I agree they should go away) won’t do it. Sorry.

    DS

  27. mimizhusband

    My relationship to the universe is being questioned. Here it is: I mean no harm to the cosmos nor to my neighborhood. Life is first about intent (“state of mind”, eh, lawyers?). My state of mind is at peace with the universe. So on balance I don’t believe that I can be harming the world in some fundamental way by starting my car, considering all the good that comes by my presence at the end of my trip. T he 82% scientists aren’t at peace with the world, so they only see strife and can only draw a different conclusion than my starting point can allow.

  28. Dan

    Since Matthews and all of his guests are [drrrty lib’rulllllllllllls] who believe we need climate change legislation, they couldn’t figure it out…The answer, as I was trying to get across last Friday, is that liberals believe government is good and they want more of it.

    Funny how in Murrica right now, the Independents – where most Repubs fled the crazy wackaloons who took over the R party – disagree with Randal’s implicit assertion too. It’s like the whole world just doesn’t get it, huh? Gosh.

    DS

  29. the highwayman

    mimizhusband said: My relationship to the universe is being questioned. Here it is: I mean no harm to the cosmos nor to my neighborhood. Life is first about intent (”state of mind”, eh, lawyers?). My state of mind is at peace with the universe. So on balance I don’t believe that I can be harming the world in some fundamental way by starting my car, considering all the good that comes by my presence at the end of my trip. The 82% scientists aren’t at peace with the world, so they only see strife and can only draw a different conclusion than my starting point can allow.

    THWM: If you want to drive, fine.

    Though don’t try to prevent other people from not wanting to drive.

    I’m not against paying for roads through my property taxes, though don’t complain paying for transit service through your property taxes either.

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