I am not a climate scientists, but like many others I have a position on global warming. My position is that of a lukewarmer. I believe that significant increases in carbon dioxide lead to increases in temperature. I just don’t believe those increases in carbon dioxide lead to the dangerous amount of global warming that most global warming alarmists assert. In other words, emissions of carbon dioxide lead to some global warming, just not dangerous amounts of such warming.
The main reason for my belief is that the alarmist argument does not rest simply on carbon dioxide leading to increases in warming. Instead, the degree of warming asserted by alarmists involves much larger secondary effects – secondary effects, such as the claim that the initial degree of warming from carbon dioxide leads to additional warming from things like increased water vapor. While the scientific case for the claim that carbon dioxide increases temperatures is strong, the scientific case for the much larger secondary effects is, to put it mildly, much weaker.
For an excellent discussion of the Lukewarmer position and for a variety of interesting aspects of the global warming debate, see this podcast with Matt Ridley at Econtalk, one of our sister sites.
Under the Constitution, states have no right to “interpose”—that is, to block the enforcement of supreme, validly enacted federal law. However, with the arguable exception of the judges in each state, state officials are under no obligation to execute an affirmative federal command issued to them. They cannot be ordered to accept federal funds or to establish an exchange. The ACA illustrates the salutary force of this constitutional precept: grand federal schemes gang aft agley. The next big illustration could and hopefully will be the regulation of greenhouse gases under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), coming very soon in this theater.
This conversation with Patrick Allitt on his latest book, A Climate of Crisis, provides a historical judgment on the environmentalist movement in postwar America. We see its causes, self-understanding, and the motives and beliefs driving its adherents. Allitt, unlike most in this area, does not come to propose or critique policies, but to note the benefits and consequences that have resulted from the particular brand of environmentalism that emerged in America. Curiously, Allitt notes, environmentalism received its initial energy from the immense capacity for wealth creation that America generated in the postwar environment. This freed us to notice the damage…
President Obama promised that he would use science to save the planet from climate change and now he has delivered. His Environmental Protection Agency has reinterpreted a 1970 law section, whose proposed revision was defeated by the Democratic Senate in 2010, into a 645 page rule forcing states to reduce overall carbon emissions in their thousands of fossil fuels power plants 30% by the year 2030, one state by 72%. Obama claims the cost per year will only be $8.8 billion but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates $50 billion because the government assumes alternatives can somehow be found at cheaper costs than technology can produce today.
In various lectures and publications, I’ve had occasion to call attention to the problem of the “birth dearth,” the fact that the birth rate has dropped below–often well below–the rate of replacement in just about every prosperous and high-tech country.
The relevant facts are laid out for our country (if hardly for the first time) in Jonathan V. Last’s thoughtful and accessible What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster. I can’t resist immediately making the point that American “disaster theory” is going in two different directions. One pole is all about climate change (warming) and the ecological disaster. The other is population change (declining) as the disaster for “social” (as opposed to natural) ecology. There’s obviously something unnatural or “manmade” about both disasters. And in both cases, the claim for disaster might slight the singular capacity of our species to ingeniously adapt to change of all kinds.
Just out from the Brookings Institution: Philip Wallach’s white paper on the past, present, and future of global warming regulation. My earlier account of pending litigation appears here; Philip Wallach (disclosure: a former research assistant to your truly) describes how it came to pass that the EPA regulates greenhouse gases (GHGs) purportedly under but actually in the teeth of the Clean Air Act.