Geoffrey Lean gets it wrong, again

There are four sides to the debate. At one extreme are those convinced that global warming is a massive hoax, got up by a worldwide conspiracy of scientists and governments. Since nothing will convince them it is real, they are often called deniers. They rightly object to the term, because of its unacceptable connotations with Holocaust denial (though they happily label their opponents “eco-Fascists” and “Nazis”). Instead, why don’t we try calling them rejectionists?

Second, there are many who are genuinely sceptical and questioning of the scientific “consensus”, the only honest starting point for anyone. Third, there are those, like me, who began from that position, but have been convinced by the evidence that climate change really is taking place (though they heartily wish – not least for their children’s sake – that it were not). Lastly, there are fundamentalist greens who gleefully welcome global warming as an overdue judgment on capitalism and industrial society.

You\’ve missed out the fifth group: people like me.

Those who accept that climate change is happening but having actually bothered to read most of the reports reject most of what is suggested that we do about it. You know, those of us who have a modicum of economics under our belt?

All sides condemn waste of the world’s resources.

Sure, but us fifth columnists differ on the meaning of the word \”waste\”. To use is not to waste. To use inefficiently is indeed to waste. To throw hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel and millions of man hours of labour into erecting windmills which will provide intermittent and hugely expensive electricity is a waste of the world\’s resources.

It is also, as more and more economists and entrepreneurs are realising, an effective way of creating jobs and stimulating new, and sustainable, economic growth.

No, we\’ve read the reports (German and Spanish for example) which show that these renewable energy campaigns destroy more jobs than they create. We\’ve also read our Bastiat you see: look for what is hidden, not just what is in plain sight.

Our argument, the rational one, is not that we should do nothing: it\’s that what is being done is the wrong thing.

5 thoughts on “Geoffrey Lean gets it wrong, again”

  1. I think you’re right but it’s good to see the media narrative changing in places. Whilst Sunny’s Guardian piece earlier in the week still insisted that there are only the two positions which can be held on the debate – the evil denialists and the honourable environmentalists/scientists – much more of the media is accepting that this isn’t an accurate portrayal of the situation.

  2. Lean’s argument is a sign that the Malthusians are finally abandoning global warming as their first choice propaganda tool.

    Unfortunately the sustainability gravy train now has so many passengers aboard, it’s going to come off the rails very slowly and painfully (for those on board).

    But we should welcome an argument about “resources”, once people understand what they really are, they find it quite a revelation (and a relief).

  3. There’s a sixth position you and they missed.

    That of someone who started off sceptical and, after reviewing the data, REMAINS sceptical. They seem to assume that believing in climate change is the automatic position after reviewing and that sceptics are either hysterical ‘rejectionists’ or so stupid that they’re still stuck at the first step.

  4. Andrew,

    But will people really change their minds?

    Global warming is, in my opinion, just an extension of the kind of arguments Julian Simon was having with John Holdren (now Barrack’s chief science advisor) back in the 80’s. If the greenhouse effect turns out to be not nearly so damaging as some would say, the environmemtalists will start kicking off about some other aspect of human activity – like propogation! Or maybe that’s just me being a cynic.

    Global warming has to be fought, and Tim is doing a very good job here, as much on the economics of it as anything else.

  5. Pingback: Climb, You Reluctant Jellyfish - Charles Crawford

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *