I’ve had several comments to the effect that my position on climate change policy ignores information from climatologists; that it is ignorant of scientific observations. In case my previous posts on the matter (for example this) haven’t been clear enough, let me state my actual position so that the discussion can start from there, instead of from what people presume I believe. I should also say in passing that fellow Libertarian Reason blogger Stephen Graham may have his own opinions on this matter and I don’t claim the below to speak precisely for him (he can weigh in himself through comments to clarify).

1) Climate change may be occurring and may not be principally human caused. A human-caused greenhouse effect is at least possible and at most evidential. But we know that the climate can cool down and warm up itself without any human activity whatsoever, so our influence may not be as great a factor as the Left are keen to suggest.

2) Climate change may be occurring without provoking cataclysmic results. There are varying degrees of catastrophe predicted by climatologists in the event that our warming trend continues. It goes without saying that the graver predictions are not the only predictions; to say that the most serious consequences of climate change possible are inevitable is to exaggerate greatly.

3) Climate change that is caused by current human industrial activity will not be caused by such human activity in the near future, because our industries are changing to such an extent that their ecological impacts will be virtually negligible within 50 years.

4) Points (1) through (3) are irrelevant to government policy. The government coercion we are being asked to comply with is immoral, this due to my belief that the only legitimate purpose of government is to protect individual rights (ie. that individual actions should be free from coercion as long as they do not infringe on the equal rights of other individuals).

None of the above contradicts the global climatological record, nor does it contradict many of the scientists that have spoken on the matter. What’s interesting to me is the manner in which leftists cast my views as ignorant of the discipline of science, when they themselves are so blatantly ignorant of the discipline of economics!

Free market economics state that, as the costs of fossil fuels increase beyond our willingness to pay, a combination of market trading adjustments, industry innovation and consumer demand will inevitably provide solutions to our energy usage which do not involve fossil fuels.

Thus economics happens to be the branch of knowledge most pertinent to the issue of climate change as it relates to politics. Unfortunately the Left are too busy thinking up further infringements of liberty to notice.

John Wright