Monday, June 26, 2006

Thinking globally and acting locally

In today's WSJ, MIT's Richard S. Lindzen writes that "There is No 'Consensus' on Global Warming ... So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.

"First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists - especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political but a 'moral' crusade.

"Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we have farce -- if we are lucky."

But we may not be so lucky. Today's LA Times reports that, "State lawmakers will consider a bill to address global warming with indstry mandates."

State mandates would have serious costs but no benefits. This is a classic Prisoner's Dilemma -- completely irrelevant in the world of posturing.