Climate change: do we have a dog in this fight?

The debate basically comes down to two questions:

  1. What is the Earth’s climate sensitivity?  Will doubling CO2 increase temperatures by 1 degree or 5 degrees?
  2. How do the costs of reducing carbon emissions compare with the costs of just adjusting to a new temperature?

Now, it seems clear to me that our ideology–whatever it was we decided to call it–doesn’t have a stake in the answers to these questions.  Of course, we do have such a stake, since we must live on the Earth and in the world economy, but we don’t have a stake as ideologues.  If the climate is very sensitive, that doesn’t in any way call into question our beliefs:  that monarchy is the best form of government, that patriarchy is the normative form of family life, etc.  The only way that our ideology might come into play is that the meaning of the word “costs” in the second question might be different for us.  I’ve argued before, though, that our priorities would actually make us more inclined to trade economic growth for climate stability than someone who didn’t value regional cultures the way we do.  That’s not to say that we wouldn’t ever decide that the price of this stability is too high, only that our commitments make us value it more rather than less.

I have heard one argument for why conservatives, as conservatives, should distrust the movement to prevent anthropogenic alterations to the climate.  It’s that this is going to end up being used as a justification to impose a socialist world-state on us, an idea that most liberals would like anyway, but something that would abhor us.  Right now, though, this is a hypothetical issue, because no measures that are really being considered to curb carbon emissions come anywhere near world socialism.  A carbon tax, for example, may or may not be a good idea, but I don’t see how it would turn the economy over to the government.

Similarly, it’s possible that global warming could serve as an excuse for the UN to push anti-natalism, contraception, and abortion on the third-world to get rid of future unwanted carbon-emitters.  Some nuts are already using it this way.  However, no one near positions of power, no matter how far on the Left, is pushing this.  If the UN decides to start forcefully sterilizing African women (which they may be doing already as far as I know–I wouldn’t put anything past those devils), we should certainly fight that.  But it would be crazy to base our case on a scientific claim about that atmosphere that might turn out to be wrong.

I realize, however, that many of my readers disagree with me on this.  You think that this is an issue on which we must take a stand.  I would like to hear your reasons for this, and I would be grateful if you would share them.

2 Responses

  1. Climate change could be an opportunity for us: it could be — indeed has been — argued that democracy cannot provide the strength and coherence of leadership required to make the sacrifices necessary to save the planet. Only a ruler with a connection to the land and a dynastic view of timescales — someone like HRH The Prince of Wales — would be able to act appropriately.

    I would happily make that argument if I could bring myself to believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming. But that I cannot do.

    What I think should tend to put us on the other side is not the implications of the theory Global Warming, but its origins. The theory is a product of the totalitarian-democratic-technocratic state. When we discussed here whether we were reactionary or authoritarian or royalist or what, nobody suggested that we were totalitarian. It is not we who believe that every scientist should look to the state to direct what he should be researching. But that is the situation today, and we have reached the point where those state decisions are being made on the basis of whether the power of the faction making the decision will be advanced or retarded as a consequence.

  2. Who ya callin’ ideologue, bud? (I guess that’d be a separate post…)

    Anyway, no, counter-revolutionary traditionalist conservatives don’t really have a dog in the fight per se’. In fact, there could be no better news for anti-modernists than to find that modernity itself (founded upon the ever advancing use of the earth’s 200 million yo solar energy storehouse) was itself complicit in the earth’s demise… However, the counter-revolutionary disposition is typically one of skepticism, especially toward late and trendy viewpoints. That the earth has gotten along fine in the past, and in fact flourished (e.g., in the Cambrian period), with much higher temperatures and CO2 levels supports this skepticism; that all the wrong sorts of people are jumping aboard the chiliastic bandwagon cannot help.

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