15 July 2007

Sacrifices

I asked yesterday whether those who believed that concerted effort on an international scale was necessary to prevent climate catastrophe were really willing to countenance what I consider the only realistic approach to achieving that — a war of global conquest by the US.


It was a trick question. The fact is that almost nobody really believes in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) sufficiently to support policies they would otherwise have opposed. I am quite sure that if I miraculously convinced the "media liberals" that the neoconservative world empire was a prerequisite for significant CO2 reduction, they would decide to take their chances with the weather. The "sacrifices" they are advocating are all things they would advocate whatever the weather.


Among the vast majority of people who don't believe in AGW enough to do anything about it are everybody making investments. Office towers two miles upstream of the Thames Barrier wouldn't be worth a billion pounds each if investors thought the Isle of Dogs was going to be part of the sea. The policies which global warming alarmism is justifying are causing huge movements of capital; the threat of global warming itself — nothing.


That's because there's one thing that people are willing to do about AGW: vote for something pointless. Voting is the cheapest of responses. (Of course, if government actually does something, there may be trouble, but I'm wandering from the point).


Actually, perhaps that is the point. AGW is a good issue for politicians, not because voters agree with the policies, but because it makes the politician look like a good person. The ideal course of action for a politician is to use the issue to show how concerned they are about everyone, do enough about it to show they are genuine, but not actually achieve any policy change that causes anyone the slightest inconvenience, like raising fuel taxes or building wind turbines. As soon as anyone is asked to make real sacrifices (rather than the "sacrifice" of having the policies they've always wanted implemented), their estimate of the seriousness of AGW goes sharply down. Looked at that way, the lack of real meaningful action on AGW is not a bug, it's a feature.

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