Unlike most of the threads I create, I am not interested in making a huge case up front on my own beliefs on this subject. I do have definite beliefs regarding the environment and global warming but I am honestly asking for clarification of the leftist position on global warming because I find it to be a little hard to understand.
I don't think any of us can deny that the focus on global warming and environmental issues has taken a major backseat politically for both parties since the economic crash of 2008. It is obvious why that is the case. But of course the subject is merely on the backburner for now, and I am sure it will come up again as the Democrats propose some kind of "solution" or plan to address the problem at some junxion in the near future.
The focus of leftists that I see on the subject is an insistence that all politicians and media figures of importance "accept the IPCC scientific consensus on global warming".
That consensus, as far as I can see, is that global warming is happening and humans contribute to it.
I am not disputing any of that. However, it is usually granted without questioning that there is some grand policy or plan in the wings that will address and solve the problem and reduce global temperatures by an appreciable amount over the next couple of decades.
That assumption is never called into question. I don't see any detailed critiques by any mainstream source of any of these plans, whether its Cap and Trade or some other plan.
It seems to start and end with the pressure to enforce a scientific dogma among academia and the public and criticize those that deviate in any way from the presumed consensus.
There are some things I don't understand about the case for global warming legislation. For the leftists on this site, please answer these questions for me.
1. Why is it important to focus on the macro phenomenon of global temperatures rather than on the micro events of real substance to actual humans? I, as a libertarian have very definite views on how we can protect the environment through property rights and local governments working on local problems. If I live in Los Angeles, I am aware of the smog and polution levels. And activists in that city have done a great deal to reduce the levels of polution. The air is cleaner than it used to be. When a company polutes my property or air, I feel justified in saying legal action should be taken against them for the act of aggression on my person or property.
Furthermore, when I see events like the gulf oil spill or the Fukashima nuclear meltdown, I see the environmental damage and the need for corrective steps to be taken to clean up the damage and prevent such events from happening in the future. I think local activity can go a long way towards solving environmental problems.
But the conventional rhetoric about global warming seems to circumvent all this and instead focus on the abstract, regarding rising global temperatures.
The bad results of not cleaning up the Gulf oil spill or having another oil spill are obvious. What is less obvious are the results of global temperatures rising a couple of degrees over the next hundred years.
I happen to study climate science and I read as much as I can. The varying factors that determine global temperatures are numerous and complicated. The climate is constantly changing and temperatures have varied significantly over our history.
The worst case scenario I have heard about with global warming is that the sea will rise a couple of inches over a hundred plus years. Some areas will be flooded.
But what would be the consequences if we chose adaptation and decided to adapt to higher temperatures globally as a species as we have done so many times in the past?
Because, even if I accept everything that is being said about human contribution to global warming, I understand government and the idea that our politicians and central planners could devise a grand plan to lower world temperatures over decades is absurd to me. They can't even do small, simple things well.
So, suppose we address major environmental problems like oil spills and regard pollution as aggression and protect the environment with a better understanding of property rights.
And whether or not all the science on global warming is entirely sound or not, and whether humans contribute significantly, or not much, why don't we merely choose to adapt to a changing climate as we always have?
2. Why is the left so adament about everyone accepting science or certain scientific beliefs? In a free society it would not matter if one person disagreed with global warming. It would be irrelevent if another person did not believe in evolution.
In any field as monumentally complex as climate science, not to mention the difficulty in predicting global temperatures in the future, there is never a complete consensus of opinion among scientists. The real debate is far more complex than the media is letting on.
I actually have read a number of studies and scientific journals on the subject. I know more than most about the range of scientific opinion that exists on this subject.
I just think that it is absolutely contrary to science and an honest search for truth to harass or target people who don't "tow the line" or accept what a majority accept. If your opinion is valid and worthwhile, it will be self evident. The suppression of opinion is one of the worst things that responsible individuals can do.
Everyone should be heard and given a voice without intimidation. The best theories and arguments will win the day based on their merits, not because power centers effectively suppressed minority opinions.
3. What do you think of companies that stand to make huge profits from the emerging "green" technology market? Let me say that I have absolutely nothing against companies coming out with more environmentally safe products that pollute less. That is terrific. But when these companies do not have to compete fairly in a market economy and are instead granted a monopoly through legislation as is proposed by many government solutions to global warming, it is merely cronyism and it renders suspect the whole global warming agenda.
It is not correct to assume that big money is against global warming legislation. At least as much influence is being pushed for legislation granting favored companies monopolies and special benefits that they haven't earned.
4. Do you understand the suspicion some of us have about the political agenda of control that has been couched in environmentalist language? It has been a common occurance over many decades for governments to latch on to legitimate issues but use them to advance other goals, such as gaining more central control over the economy.
That is why I have always said that government is not a good tool for advancing progressive ends. There are almost always ulterior motives behind the central planners and profitteers that make money on government legislation.
So please inform me of a more detailed view of the leftist stance on global warming and exactly what you expect government to do to fix the problem. I really am interested in hearing the responses to the questions I have posed, because there are many aspects to this debate that I don't see being addressed or explored at all.