À Nous Deux, Marâtre Nature!

EarthSee Kevin Carson and Danny Shahar on how the ordinary operation of supply and demand can help solve the peak-oil and global-warming crises.

, , ,

24 Responses to À Nous Deux, Marâtre Nature!

  1. Briggs June 13, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    Very good.

  2. Kevin Carson June 13, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    Thanks, Roderick.

    Of course polymath P.M. Lawrence suggests Peak Coal might be several decades away, and EROEI and technical problems of conversion might not be serious impediments to switching from oil to coal to a considerable extent–and I’m hardly equipped to disagree with him.

    But I still doubt it would be feasible if the mining companies had to respect property rights and were subject to tort liability for their externalities. Stuff like “mountaintop removal” just wouldn’t be possible in a sane, ethical world IMO.

  3. Robert Paul June 13, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    I used to be worried that so many libertarians were global warming skeptics, and that they weren’t always making a good case for their position. But now, I’ve become a skeptic as well, because the climatologists have put way too much faith in their models. Does that sound familiar?

    • Roderick June 14, 2009 at 12:15 am #

      I remain a global warming agnostic. There’s a tendency for warming proponents to dismiss all the skeptics as shills for the corporations, and likewise a tendency for warming skeptics to dismiss all the proponents as shills for the state. Probably each charge is correct in many cases, but I personally know scientists of intelligence and integrity on both sides of the equation, and they both know way more than I do about the science, so I don’t feel confident taking any position. And I do worry that many people on both sides are taking their positions based on perceived political implications rather than actually having a grasp of the science.

      • Robert Paul June 14, 2009 at 12:39 am #

        I agree with your description of many on both sides. To clarify, I’m not denying the possibility of man-made global warming having dire consequences either. The problem is, the scientific “consensus” is based on shockingly bad evidence, and what they propose to do is far out of proportion to this.

        As you said, many skeptics are indeed just corporate shills. That’s one of the reasons I used to worry about libertarians being global warming skeptics.

        • Bob Kaercher June 15, 2009 at 11:28 am #

          Isn’t the burden of proof on those making the claim that global warming or “climate change” exists, since they’re making the affirmative case?

        • Roderick June 15, 2009 at 11:50 am #

          Sure. But they have presented evidence; I’m just not competent to evaluate the evidence. So I’m not in a position to say that they haven’t met the burden of proof.

        • Robert Paul June 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

          Isn’t the burden of proof on those making the claim that global warming or “climate change” exists, since they’re making the affirmative case?

          Yes, that’s what I was getting at. In fact, they are making the more extreme claim that the human contribution to global warming will have dire consequences. The evidence is not very strong.

      • MBH June 15, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

        I used to be a global warming atheist back in my neocon days. I was convinced by the argument that the earth is indestructible. One volcano’s eruption produced more CO2 than hundreds of years of human produced CO2. Given all the volcano eruptions in history, then you have to accept that the earth heals itself.

        Then in my Misesian days, I was agnostic. I was convinced that the rise and fall of CO2 is analogous to the Austrian business cycle. We’ve experienced intense heat waves and ice ages and they usually balance each other out.

        Now, in my, um… Alinsky/Long/Carson/Johnson/Hasnas/etc. days, I’m pretty convinced that global warming is a fact. I know it’s cliche to use Al Gore’s movie, but one chart did the trick for me. This shows the cyclical nature of CO2 levels, but it also shows an anomaly in CO2 levels.

        I’m left with one of two options. (a) global warming is very real, or (b) the measurement of CO2 in this graph is incorrect. Since, as Roderick says, “there’s no escaping the circle of endoxa,” and I’m not going to take the time to measure CO2 levels myself, I have no reason to believe global warming is not real.

        • Robert Paul June 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

          The important question when it comes to this debate isn’t, “Is global warming real?” The question is, how much of it is man-made and is it true that massive restrictions are necessary to avert a crisis?

        • MBH June 15, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

          I agree to some extent. But, first, let’s not overlook the fact that a good many people don’t think the CO2 levels are outside of the norm. And even more people think that, if they are outside the norm, they’re not alarmingly outside the norm. Obviously, that’s not the case.

          Second, massive restrictions/regulations are something that would happen even in a freed market; they just wouldn’t be legislated. If the CO2 measurements are correct, and the correlation between CO2 and temperature holds, then we’re possibly screwed either way. But, certainly, giving up is not an option (defeat may be a bit too accomodationist for our understanding of eudaimonia). Also, if we had proof that it wasn’t man-made, would that necessarily imply that we shouldn’t regulate ourselves or be regulated?

          As Charles points out here, the question is not to regulate or not, but who regulates. I don’t think there’s much of a question here as to whether or not someone ought to regulate energy usage.

        • Robert Paul June 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

          Also, if we had proof that it wasn’t man-made, would that necessarily imply that we shouldn’t regulate ourselves or be regulated?

          No, obviously property rights should be enforced. But it does hurt their case for massive restrictions beyond that.

        • MBH June 15, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

          No, obviously property rights should be enforced. But it does hurt their case for massive restrictions beyond that.

          If the conclusion were that we should give up, then yeah. It definitely hurts the case for coercive mass restrictions. It doesn’t hurt the case for consensual mass restrictions (again, unless the strategy is to give up).

        • MBH June 15, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

          Oops. Italics got out of control there.

      • Neil June 16, 2009 at 8:27 am #

        I understand the agnosticism towards this sort of thing, but what of conjecture? I am not competent to evaluate the evidence either, but the various arguments strike me in a fashion that gives me an impression of what seems realistic. Agnostic or otherwise I am still inclined to believe a certain way about various aspects of the topic at hand. Having passing opinions about the particulars while remaining uncommitted to them doesn’t seem to qualify as taking a position. Yet I have a tendency to think a certain way about said particulars. It’s as if the only way to remain absolutely agnostic is to keep oneself in total abject ignorance of the topic itself.

  4. Robert Paul June 15, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    If the conclusion were that we should give up, then yeah. It definitely hurts the case for coercive mass restrictions. It doesn’t hurt the case for consensual mass restrictions (again, unless the strategy is to give up).

    If I understand you correctly, you’re saying: If global warming isn’t man-made, but it’s going to cause a crisis, we should voluntarily restrict ourselves from polluting.

    But if humans haven’t significantly contributed to global warming, it doesn’t seem likely that mass restrictions would make a real difference.

    • MBH June 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

      It doesn’t seem likely. No. But just because it doesn’t seem likely that you’re going to get out of the well doesn’t mean that you allow yourself to be contented with the situation.

      • Robert Paul June 15, 2009 at 7:16 pm #

        Well, if the Earth is going to blow up and we didn’t cause it with our pollution, I’d suggest figuring out how to get off the planet, even if that temporarily means more pollution, instead of just polluting less and hoping everything works out fine.

        • MBH June 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

          Works for me. But you’re still dealing with a “massive restriction.” Think of opportunity costs. If the object is to colonize the moon, then we’d be restricting a good bit of other activities.

        • Robert Paul June 15, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

          Yes, but by massive restrictions I meant curbing industrial activity for the express purpose of reducing pollution. With your definition any activity “restricts” all of the other possible activities.

  5. MBH June 15, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    This is a fair argument I have to say. Obviously demand needs to redirect, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that restricting certain supplies will do that.

  6. Bob Kaercher June 16, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    One thing that I keep asking “climate change” theory proponets is what temperature is the Earth *supposed* to be? If they’re claiming the planet is “too warm” or “too cool”, then that implies that the climate or the average surface temperature or whatever is supposed to be X degrees, or X something, or at least some range. So what is it? What’s the bar that we have to reach in order to successfully avert the crisis?

    There seems to be more than a little of the presumption of a synoptic vantage point here. It’s particularly dubious when you consider that AGW theory feedback initially came from university studies done with the incentive of receiving government grants.

  7. Bob Kaercher June 16, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    BTW, Danny Shahar pretty much hit the nail on the head in explaining how markets can address a dwindling energy resource. But if only they were truly liberated so that the process he describes could go as smoothly.

    • Patrick June 18, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

      Absolutely, and all too frequently glossed over.

      There a few markets less perfect than energy ones. Not only do we have the obvious cartelisation in the shape of OPEC and a pumping regime (and thus income) based upon ‘proven’ reserves, but we also have to face the fact that it would be very unwise for certain of the oil producers to admit to dwindling resources, lest they then ‘enjoy’ a visit from the US to secure those reserves.

      The market may give us some indications, but I don’t believe that it will operate efficiently, as Shahar posits, and that we’ll only really find out that we’re well on our way down the curve after the fact.

Leave a Reply to Briggs Click here to cancel reply.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes