Monday, July 5, 2010

Catastrophe losing its appeal?

So says Lawrence Solomon, looking over a number of recent developments re: that old favorite of the global doomsters, "climate change". Actually, in the wake of the recent G20 summit in Toronto, they'd be better described as non-developments:
The global-warming commitments of the G20 — which now carries more clout than the G8 — went from nebulous to non-existent: The G20’s draft promise going into the meetings of investing in green technologies faded into a mere commitment to “a green economy and to sustainable global growth.”
There were, though, some fairly dramatic political events that related quite directly to the whole AGW fad:
Kevin Rudd, Australia’s gung-ho global-warming prime minister, lost his job the day before he was set to fly to the G20 meetings; just months earlier Australia’s conservative opposition leader, also gung-go on global warming, lost his job in an anti-global-warming backbencher revolt. The U.K.’s gung-ho global-warming leader during last year’s G8 and G20 meetings, Gordon Brown, likewise lost his job.
Now, I don't mean to be too flippant about this -- AGW is pretty clearly a fad, but it's still likely to be a reality too. How much of a reality, though, what its real costs and benefits might be, what the economic costs of immediate mitigation through carbon reduction would amount to, and what future technologies might develop to allow us to manage things much more cheaply -- these are all such huge uncertainties that the current hubbub around carbon reduction seems explicable only as another example of the madness of crowds, and even of the strange attraction of apocalypse. Good, then, to see some political pushback, finally, as push really does come to shove.

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