Cause And Effect In AGW Debate
Over on Climate Etc, Judith Curry writes Blame on Heartland, Cato, Marshall, etc.
The fossil fuel industries have been funding dedicated minions at the Heartland, Cato, and George C. Marshal Institutes (among others) to generate misinformation about global warming and global climate change. They have attempted to attack the climate science message (such attacks actually part and parcel of the scientific process), but without much success, since the foundations of climate science are more than strong enough to withstand such challenges. Having failed in discrediting the climate science message itself, they have resorted instead to attacking the climate science messengers with character assassination, political innuendo, stolen e-mails, etc.
To which I replied:
There is another answer:
1) Libertarians and libertarian theory are economic disciplines with economic history that they rely upon for judgement. Economics is a chaotic and mathematically rigorous discipline. It also consists of a long and deep history of narratives and logic within the history ideas.
2) Libertarians have, and continue, to represent the branch of logic that advocates that economic models are not predictive. Not only that they are not predictive, but that they CANNOT be predictive. Not only that they cannot be predictive but that statistical analysis is only relevant to closed systems – and economies, due to innovation, the plasticity of utility of resources, and changing human wants, renders categorical forecasting impossible. This logical framework is supported by the fact that economic models are in fact, not predictive. And this is one of the issues with current political methods: that we rely upon economic models for policy purposes despite the fact that they are decidedly not predictive.
3) External entities with economic interests fund libertarian institutions because they are disposed to view government solutions as detrimental to the economy, and because libertarians are naturally hostile to models which purport to be predictive. They are highly agitated because of the rapid increase in external competitive forces run by non-market governments, and their advantage is being weakened by both external competition and an increasingly academically unprepared and uncompetitive work force.
4) Libertarians do not generally take the position that AGW is true or false. Their position is that (a) the AGW models are highly questionable, (b) there are alternative explanations that seem more probable, and certainly that previous climate movements to date have been false, and (c) even if AGW is true, that the solution is to create a green social movement rather than a system of increased taxation.
The current green movement is working.
It has become a generationally dominant social value. People will not pay for the long term, whether it is saving, retirement, health care. They will not pay for what they suspect.
The AGW movement will do far better and make better progress if it does not seek legislation and in fact, actively does NOT seek legislation, but eschews legislation. This will make it more acceptable. Otherwise all libertarians and conservatives hear is that it is an excuse to fund abusive government. It is hard for liberals to understand that they are the minority of 20%, and that libertarians are the thought leadership of the conservative party, and while they, like convicted marxists, are a minority, they provide the thought leadership of the majority and are more likely to, and have consistently created, more conservative policies – ie: policies that do not empower government to make economic decisions.
We are in a period of economic and cultural and even political uncertainty. Until we exit this period (which according to economic history, may or may not ever happen) people will have nearer term priorities. They will not be charitable to future generations in the face of current circumstances of decline and uncertainty.