Friday, November 8, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan and Letters from the Arctic Thirty

For EII today:

Finally, I discussed Monday how Keynesian economics integrates with climate emissions policy proposals -- badly, as it turns out. The result, were we to somehow find a political consensus to follow the most radical environmentalist prescription to end climate change, would likely be another recession, and the further weakening of the west vis-a-vis our international competitors, including the several authoritarian states, particularly Russia and China, that are largely responsible for rolling back the trend towards more democracy that was underway in the last decade of the last century.

No such political consensus currently exists among American politicians, but the problem remains in the background of the climate debate, nevertheless.

This creates a dilemma, but you can take the classical "between the horns" thrust. I outline two such approaches in this editorial here, my preferred solution, which is an all-out thrust into green technology, and the most likely actual process, which is that we "muddle through" messily to green technology because we can't get that political consensus, and burn some tar sands and frack most of Pennsylvania along the way. The second will require rather more in the way of adaptation and possibly some dangerous geoengineering that the first.

A new green tech revolution is infinitely preferable to muddling through. But what you notice about other great world historical events such as the run-up to World War II, or the abolition of slavery in the US, things rarely go as smoothly as the most radical proponents expect. I fully expect we will muddle through somehow, but probably not without a good deal of suffering.

Since these are my own thoughts and not the kind of peer-reviewed scientific material I've so far summarized for you in our climate change discussions, you're invited to dismiss them. They certainly won't be "on the test."

(But you should think about them at least a little before doing so.)

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