Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mainstream Media Mission Statement Highlights Bad Faith

An editorial was published Dec. 7 by 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages. The text was drafted by a London Guardian team during more than a month of consultations with editors from more than 20 of the papers involved.
Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: Eleven of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc.

So, higher oil prices, and the havoc caused by that, is what we want to avoid?

Consider that a Pigovian Tax is a tax applied directly to fossil fuels, intended to cover the 'externalities' in the costs of producing carbon not born by, say, a mining company that extracts the coal. It would introduced by Keynes' mentor Pigou as a way to efficiently deal with externalities like pollution, and Greg Mankiw explains its motivation here). It is liked by economists because it puts the cost of the carbon right on the carbon, making its costs focused on the source, and not spread around. It is the least distortionary method of getting people to burn less carbon: raise its price, people will substitute alternatives (wind, nuclear, sweaters). Cap and Trade is less efficient than a Pigovian tax, and all sorts of targeted taxes and subsidies less so than that (even Paul 'I'm Mad as Hell' Krugman agrees). Raising oil prices is the least distortionary solution to any effort to lower carbon burning.

So, what they highlight as an undesirable effect of Global Warming is a lower bound cost as to what would go into any solution being considered. I have a feeling the Global Warming crowd knows what they want, and are just trying to present anything motivation to get us to agree to their proposals, regardless of how inconsistent their reasoning.

4 comments:

randian said...

Why are they blaming high food prices on "global warming", when it was ethanol mandates that caused the rise in food prices?

Robert Johnson said...

Eric,

As usual you make many good points. And I find your conclusion, that the Global Warming crowd is trying every possible argument no matter how ridiculous, to be plausible in light of the evidence. However, I do genuinely wonder why the Global Warming crowd desire the policies they are arguing for, if the reason is something other than a commitment to the truth and the good of humanity. Do they really sense danger to the world that they wish to avert, or are their reasons more personal and less pure?

AHWest said...

It's pretty obvious what they (the greens) want: fewer people and less economic activity in the world. At the core of the environmentalist philosophy there is a clear anti-human theme. But that isn't yet a political winner, when stated directly, so they have to couch their plans in a way that appeals to those that don't share their underlying premises about humanity.
Even the kids at Goldman who hope to get rich trading the right to breathe, for the most part they are woozy, though hypocritacal, believers in the green prejudices. There are probably only very few who aren't trying to convince themselves that they're "saving the earth", whatever that is supposed to mean.

J said...

No, Falken is right, they are doing it in bad faith.