Thursday, November 16, 2006

Have we thought of the victims?

Even assuming that climate change is a serious problem I find it amazing how many companies and people go around glibly boasting that they have "offset" all or part of their carbon emissions. Austin Williams in Sp!ked explains the incredible hypocrisy and quasi-imperalistic thoghtlessness of this approach, which basically involves the idea that since our Western technologies currently emit carbon dioxide we will pay some of the money we earn as a result of our level of development to encourage developing countries to implement low-technology, carbon neutral projects that ensure their economies do not industrialize like ours (which IMHO is the equivalent of saying: we got there first and we intend to keep all the goodies). This idea is despicable, not to mention idiotic, since it is the further development of technology that offers the only viable solutions. On a similar tack, Paul Driessen (the author of the excellent Eco-Imperialism) has an interesting article in Townhall (via GayandRight) which explains who the real victims in this travesty are:
Just the current Kyoto Protocol could cost the world up to $1 trillion per year, in regulatory bills, higher energy costs and lost productivity. That’s several times more than the price tag for providing the world with clean drinking water and sanitation – which would prevent millions of deaths annually from intestinal diseases.
Over 2 billion of the Earth's citizens still do not have electricity, to provide basic necessities like lights, refrigeration and modern hospitals. Instead they breathe polluted smoke from wood and dung fires, and die by the millions from lung diseases. But opposition to fossil fuel power plants, in the name of preventing climate change, ensures that these "indigenous" lifestyles, diseases and deaths will continue.
Opposition to hydroelectric projects (damming rivers) and nuclear power (radioactive wastes) likewise perpetuates endemic Third World poverty. So would a new European Union proposal to tax imports from China, India and other poor countries that are exempt from the Kyoto Protocol, because this gives them an "unfair trade advantage" over EU countries that are struggling to meet their Kyoto #1 commitments.
Yet, even perfect compliance with Kyoto would result in Earth's temperature being only 0.2 degrees F less by 2050 than under a business-as-usual scenario.
Do read the whole thing, which also puts the kibosh on some of the more outrageous claims floating around.
Another trend that I find simply flabbergasting is the idea, put forward by some, that the "debate is closed" on this subject. Apart from the significant number of prominent scientists who disagree with the supposed "consensus" view, how can the scientific debate be closed on a subject, if one of the fundamental tenets of the scientific method is falsifiability? Roy Spencer has an interesting article on this point in TCS Daily, and Brendan O'Neill makes a particularly spirited case in Sp!ked arguing that the demonisation of "climate change denial" is an affront to open and rational debate. Do read the whole thing.

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