September 02, 2007

Global Warming

One of the major problems facing the world today is global warming. There is an argument going on at the moment on several blogs- including Matt Sinclair's blog and Vino's blog about how to organise our response to Global Warming. Matt seems keen for example not to take action to forestall global warming- but to take action to deal with the consequences of Global Warming- building flood defences and securing houses. Vino asks the very sensible question- which is that for most of the world the places most likely to suffer are not the places that produce emmissions- if Bangladesh is flooded because of the actions of the United States, why should not the Americans pay for Bangladeshis to be rehoused securely. How can it be fair that they don't?

Ultimately there are two issues here- one which Matt is keen to discuss which is how we deal with global warming- and he may be right that all green policies are redundent and unhelpful. But there is a second major issue which is how we cost global warming and spread that cost from the countries causing the damage to those who will suffer more from it. One way of dealing with this is to proceed as the market and as the power relations in the world today would demand- afterall Bangladeshi farmers don't matter- whereas Chinese or American factory owners do. That is a legitimate argument- and yet like Thrasymachus's argument in the Republic- it contains a basic counterintuitive claim that might makes right. The other way of doing things is to set up some scheme of prices which will internationally redistribute money to help those in vulnerable and poor regions- otherwise the basic inequality will remain.

You see ultimately if you beleive in the science of global warming (and that is another argument- but until someone produces for me a scientific critique of global warming based on peer reviewed papers I'm going to stick with the climate scientists) then either you have to forestall it or you have to deal with the consequences. The first means setting up a global emissions control- as in Kyoto- which would regulate the world's emissions of CO2, but the second also involves international cooperation because it involves setting an international price for CO2 and ultimately an international fund to save flooded areas. Many conservatives fear that the first would bring in unwanted state action- but what is the conservative solution to the problem of Bangladesh because at the moment, and perhaps this is stupidity, I don't see a just way of not having an international transfer of funds to poor and vulnerable countries from large emitters.

6 comments:

Lord Nazh© said...

The conservative solution is to not buy into the GCC church :)

You may want to re-read some of those climate scientists now that they've had time to think... The consensus is broken and won't be back.

Gracchi said...

Is it Lord N- where is the evidence- give me a paper in a peer reviewed journal- not a press release but a proper paper or even better set of papers say from Nature or a similar publication. I'm not saying that there isn't one- just I'm not an expert and I want to hear from those that have spent their lives researching this properly.

Lord Nazh© said...

The consensus was created by studying papers written between 1993 and 2003 on climate change.

here

Since it was old, someone re-did the study to find if the consensus still existed. I have written about it and linked to someone who is better at it than I am :) feel free to click thru mine and see what they say (and read the report)

Tamerlane said...

This article is from Science magazine (along with Nature one of the most respected science journals) in 2004, before the Fourth IPCC in 2007 which decided that 'human actions are "very likely" the cause of global warming' (>90%):

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

"In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members' expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements. For example, the National Academy of Sciences report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, begins: "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise" [p. 1 in (5)]. The report explicitly asks whether the IPCC assessment is a fair summary of professional scientific thinking, and answers yes: "The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue"

Others agree. The American Meteorological Society (6), the American Geophysical Union (7), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling"

...

This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect."

Tamerlane said...

I've always wondered whether the left or the right is more anti-science.

On the one side you have a somewhat naive grasp of economics and a belief in alternative medicine, on the other side you have climate change denialism, creationism and odd beliefs about human sexuality. I think the right probably wins

BHUVAN CHAND said...

Today global warming news is very danger news for earth life. Now this global warming issues takes big picture for this world. Now we are aware about this issue.