Thursday, December 03, 2009

Daniel Hannan on Climate Change

The Conservative Party's best MEP, the somewhat libertarian Daniel Hannan expresses his view on climate change in the Daily Telegraph, and it is probably closest to my own:

I think the world is warming (I especially dislike the phase “climate change denial”: no one, as far as I’m aware, is positing climate stasis). And it may well be that human activity is playing some part in the process, although probably not to the degree claimed by some climate change professionals.

I also tend to agree with Nigel Lawson that adaptation would be more effective and cheaper than a programme of greenhouse gas reductions which, even according to its proponents, would slow global warming by only around 0.2 degrees.

So in other words, yes it might be warming, yes it might have some human contribution, but does it justify the draconian interventions being proposed? No. Is it the end of the world as some predict? No.

He characterises the core of the debate as follows:

Just as those who already believed in more regulation, more government, supra-nationalism and higher taxes honestly think that carbon emissions are overheating the planet, so libertarians and small government types honestly think that the whole thing is a crock. Each faction, convinced of its own sincerity, distrusts the motives of the other.

Which of course I do, it is seen most clearly in how the left hijacks this issue to wage war on international trade (because it likes protectionism and localism), the private car (because it is a symbol of individualism) and aviation, whilst being lukewarm on nuclear energy, eliminating trade barriers that could increase efficiency and reduce waste and cutting government barriers to low carbon industries. The holes appear when the Green Party ignores that increasing public transport is more likely to reduce people walking and cycling than switch people from driving, or when it seeks to ban foreign ships carrying domestic cargo between coastal ports as part of an international trip, because it supports the maritime unions and their Marxist closed shop agenda.

In other words, the policies promoted by the likes of the Green Party on climate change are in some cases fundamentally flawed, but in most cases are parallel with an agenda of more state control, more taxation, more regulation and less individual responsibility and freedom. The Green Party wouldn't promote people on welfare not breeding, even though that would reduce CO2 emissions.

Funny that.

What has happened is that a possible issue has been hijacked by one part of the political spectrum which has run off with grand solutions that come from the past, solutions that include enormous transfers of wealth to vested interests and in letting much of the world do nothing other than gain relatively from the kneecapping of developed economies.

It's about time that a new approach was taken to those who do this.

It's time for anyone promoting "climate change" policies to be honest about the costs of doing so, and what benefits will accrue. Real substantive benefits, and who will gain them. The true answer in most cases is "costs lots, gains nothing".

It's time for those arguing for any money to be spent on "climate change" to argue why it isn't better spent elsewhere.

It's time for those who seek to implement policies to address climate change to first, and foremost, advance policies that are consistent with less government, more freedom and more individual responsibility.

In other words, if we assume there is climate change and that there may be good reason to be cautious regarding it, what can governments do to get out of the way of individuals making better choices to reduce CO2 emissions, and let's not stop those wanting to voluntarily take their own steps to promote reducing emissions from doing so.

Finally, it may seem petty, but it is time to fisk the scum who continue to call those who question the climate change orthodoxy as deniers. They know they are seeking parallels with the Holocaust denial lowlives. Such language demeans and denigrates those who went through the Holocaust, by aligning the deliberate cruelty and sadism of that piece of history to theories of environmental changes that have largely occurred inadvertently. It also seeks to close any debate regarding the scale and extent of climate change, and the possible solutions.

Anyone using such language is beneath contempt.

So on climate change, first do no harm, and beware that all too many who want to do something, have a monomaniacal interest in reducing emissions at all costs, except, of course, the obvious option - which would be to do away with themselves.


StephenR said...

even according to its proponents, would slow global warming by only around 0.2 degrees.

I think that's just Kyoto - the agreement does not apply for long, it's the first step in 'crossing the road' if you like.

OECD rank 22 kiwi said...

Couldn't agree with you more.

About time people who use the term "Denier" in the Climate Change debate were named and shamed. Especially those on the public purse.

Anonymous said...

My view exactly LS. Really, how could 6 billion (or whatever) humans *not* affect the climate?

Unfortunately there is too much money involved - on both sides - not just the Greenie side. So everyone is talking their book. When it starts costing ordinary folk real money I think we will see an implosion of sorts.