The Corner

The Ethics of Misallocation

Tyler Cowan has a mystifying post over at Marginal Revolution about global warming. He seems to believe that climate skeptics have it in for the developing world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. One of the main reasons I and my colleagues oppose “aggressive action” on global warming is because it misallocates resources so badly that it actively harms the developing world, and locks them in poverty by ruling out their fastest route out of the state. Here, for instance, is Indur Goklany on the subject:

The world can best combat climate change and advance well-being, particularly of the world’s most vulnerable populations, by reducing present-day vulnerabilities to climate-sensitive problems that could be exacerbated by climate change rather than through overly aggressive GHG reductions.

(Emphasis added.) The fact is that international development is the best way to combat global warming. Or do we really want to reduce the rest of the world to the level of Haiti and Somalia? I submit that that amounts to “aggression by alarmism.”

I note also that Tyler isn’t getting an answer to his question about what the Waxman-Markey Bill is actually supposed to acheive in terms of climate.  That’s because, as Chip Knappenberger has shown, using the U.N.’s own models, it achieves virtually nothing by itself, but at great cost. It represents, therefore, a hostage to fortune, or, should I say, to China.

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