Saturday, January 29, 2005

Global warming

Much of the writing on global warming seems driven by political agendas rather than the advancement of knowledge. I personally do not know enough about the topic to have a strong point of view, other than to know I should be skeptical of what I read.

I do know that what I read and hear about global warming in the so-called mainstream media--be it in entire issues of Time magazine devoted to the topic, or in passing comments by network news anchors--appears to reflect one point of view. And what I read in right-leaning publications generally reflects a different point of view, one not heard in politically correct society.

And I know that more of the country is exposed to Time and network newcasts than is exposed to conservative political magazines. Which throws the debate off balance a bit.

In the spirit of countering that imbalance, I hereby present two essays from Stanford's Hoover Institution:

  • The first, by Thomas Gale Moore, is entitled "In Sickness and in Health: The Kyoto Protocol versus Global Warming":

    Advocates of curbing greenhouse emissions and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol contend that global warming will bring disease and death to Americans. Is this is likely? Should Americans fear a health crisis? Would a warmer world bring an epidemic of tropical diseases? Would Americans face increased heatstroke and summers bringing a surge of deaths? Would global warming bring more frequent and more violent hurricanes wreaking havoc on our citizens? Is it true that warmer climates are less healthy than colder ones? Would cutting greenhouse gas emissions, as the Kyoto Protocol requires, improve the health of Americans? This essay will show that the answer to all those questions is a resounding no.
  • The second, by S. Fred Singer, is entitled "Climate Policy—From Rio to Kyoto: A Political Issue for 2000—and Beyond." From the executive summary:
    The essay also demonstrates that global warming (GW), if it were to take place, is generally beneficial for the following reasons:

    1. One of the most feared consequences of global warming is a rise in sea level that could flood low-lying areas and damage the economy of coastal nations. But actual evidence suggests just the opposite: a modest warming will reduce somewhat the steady rise of sea level, which has been ongoing since the end of the last Ice Age—and will continue no matter what we do as long as the millennia-old melting of Antarctic ice continues.

    2. A detailed reevaluation of the impact of climate warming on the national economy was published in 1999 by a prestigious group of specialists, led by a Yale University resource economist. They conclude that agriculture and timber resources would benefit greatly from a warmer climate and higher levels of carbon dioxide and would not be negatively affected as had previously been thought. Contrary to the general wisdom expressed in the IPCC report, higher CO2 levels and temperatures would increase the GNP of the United States and put more money in the pockets of the average family.

    But even if the consequences of a GW were harmful, there is little that can be done to stop it.
(Links via The Diplomad.)