As most regular readers of EclectEcon know, I have tried to maintain an open mind about global warming, but I have been concerned about the infusion of political agendae into the debate. Whenever I read work by colleagues Ross McKitrick and Chris Essex, I become more skeptical about:
- Whether there has actually been any global warming in the past two or three decades overall; and if there has,
- Whether global warming has been caused by humans and not long cycles or sunspot activity; and even if it has been caused by humans,
- What the best strategy is for dealing with it. I have at times favoured Pigouvian taxes on CO2 emissions; at other times I have suggested it might be more efficient to wait and then, if necessary, build dikes and levees.
When I see photos of the Athabasca Glacier and how much it has receded over the past two decades, I become concerned about global warming. At the same time, I realize that warming in one part of the earth does not imply overall global warming. And the growing evidence that there has been no global warming for at least the past decade makes one cautious about any assertions that global warming is "settled science".
The recent disclosures of the academic shenanigans of the global-warming in group certainly add to my skepticism. Of course this type of skulduggery goes on all the time in academia. Fortunately, it is often exposed for what it is, too.
For some excellent pieces and links about the latest twists in the global warming saga, see this by Craig Newmark, where he quotes the following. It is a bit strong in its rhetoric, but it also raises some very important points for consideration:
In fact, when scientists become politicians but continue to pretend to be doing science, that is the real crime. The theory being promoted by these men was being used to justify government actions that would result in greatly diminished future economic growth of the most powerful economy on earth (and the rest of the world as well). It would make it more difficult and less affordable to address any real problems that might be caused in the future by a change in climate, whether due to human activity or other causes. It could impoverish millions in the future, with little actual change in adverse climate effects. And when such a theory has the potential to do so much unjustified harm, and it has a fraudulent basis, who are the real criminals against humanity?