Saturday, February 06, 2010

Global Warming and Global Politics

China Daily, the offical English language paper of the People's Republic of China, has published an article that urges scientists to critically review the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Given that China Daily is pretty much a house organ for the Communist Party, I take this as a major development. India has already dumped the IPCC and is setting up its own alternative. With populations of 1,284M and 1,045M respectively, China and India account for 34% of all humans. The IPCC has lost the confidence of one third of the planet.

Russia is a major oil producing nation with a history of "not playing nicely with the other children." A number of skeptics have drawn attention to the questionable data from Siberia. At least one Moscow-based think tank argues that the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia has skewed the Siberian data. Given Russia's past, pride, and petroleum, it may well follow India's lead in the near future.

Global warming is not a hot topic in the United States right now. With 41 Republican Senators ready to block any unpopular proposals from the Obama administration, the prospect for environmental "change we can believe in" is low. While we can expect plenty of official pronouncements from the US over the next ten months, there is close to zero chance of the kind of action that "warmists" have been urging.

The British media has finally caught on to the "Climategate" scandal and major papers are switching from "warmist" to "skeptical" positions overnight. Polls show that British belief in global warming has plummeted over the last few months.

Based on these facts and current trends, I think the prospects for meaningful international limits on CO2 emissions are fast dropping to zero. I never thought a command-and-control approach to greenhouse gases would really work, but now I think it won't even be tried.

That doesn't mean that "warmists" must sit by while a planet full of morons cooks itself to death. It just means that people who truly believe in man-made global warming must adjust their approach. The free market drives human behavior at least as much as governmental control does. It's time for a free market solution.

The fast track to carbon neutrality is nuclear power. We've had the basic technology since 1942. Prudent capitalists are not investing in nuclear power in the US at present because our legal system allows environmental activists to prevent new plants from getting the permits they need to operate. Those laws would have to change to make a new generation of nuclear plants feasible--but "warmists" should be willing to change those laws to save the planet, while most "skeptics" have been eager to change them all along.

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