Sunday, October 25, 2015

Going limp

Bjorn Lomborg ("Trade-Offs for Global Do-Gooders ... To cut world poverty, focus on free trade, and pre-school while ending fossil fuel-subsidies") often reminds us (especially those on the religious left) that in a world of scarcity, we have to make hard choices -- even when it challenges pillars of the faith.
But consider this: The World Health Organization estimates that the effects of climate change are currently responsible for 141,000 deaths annually. If we look far ahead, to 2050, the death toll is expected to climb to 250,000. By contrast, some 4.3 million people will die this year from indoor air pollution. That is the direct result of poverty, of almost three billion people using dung and wood to heat and cook. Another 3.7 million people will die this year from outdoor air pollution.
Sentiments like this -- that try hard to consider costs and benefits -- have to be repeated again and again.

Even then, we are not in the world where bad ideas die. Here is an ice-water shower. This morning's LA Times takes us to real world California politics -- and about as far from sober cost-benefit analysis as one wants to contemplate. "$68-billion California bullet train project likely to overshoot budget and deadline targets." This is neither the first nor the last time that we'll see reports like this. But hitch the waste and the theft to the cause of "climate change" and the critical functions go limp.