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Author Topic: Seriously, though, how would a libertarian society address global warming?  (Read 27398 times)
JoelKatz
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November 30, 2011, 01:04:52 AM
 #381

To be fair though, we don't have all the facts and things could change in the future as our understanding increases, but that doesn't mean that we should sit idly and hope that all current knowledge is wrong. You act on the information currently available.
The people arguing that this applies to climate change never seem to be willing to apply it to things like genetically-modified organisms or intentional attempts to engineer the global climate.

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November 30, 2011, 08:30:20 AM
 #382

To be fair though, we don't have all the facts and things could change in the future as our understanding increases, but that doesn't mean that we should sit idly and hope that all current knowledge is wrong. You act on the information currently available.
The people arguing that this applies to climate change never seem to be willing to apply it to things like genetically-modified organisms or intentional attempts to engineer the global climate.
I'm not really sure what you're trying to say with this?

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December 01, 2011, 03:50:17 AM
 #383

I'm not really sure what you're trying to say with this?
I'm saying that that argument won't persuade anyone because people always make it when it supports their position and always ignore it when it doesn't. The people who make that argument about global climate change don't accept it themselves about GMO or climate engineering. So why should anyone accept it when they make it about global climate change?

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December 01, 2011, 05:47:26 AM
 #384

I'm not really sure what you're trying to say with this?
I'm saying that that argument won't persuade anyone because people always make it when it supports their position and always ignore it when it doesn't. The people who make that argument about global climate change don't accept it themselves about GMO or climate engineering. So why should anyone accept it when they make it about global climate change?
The argument that you have to go with what you know? Sounds strange because what else do you have. Then you would also probably want to apply the cautionary principle, at least for changes that would have a great impact.
I personally don't have a problem with GMO as I see it solving a lot of problems, except for the self-killing plants which I think is a very dangerous idea. That mutation spread to other plants could have very bad effects.

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December 01, 2011, 07:56:33 PM
 #385

The argument that you have to go with what you know? Sounds strange because what else do you have. Then you would also probably want to apply the cautionary principle, at least for changes that would have a great impact.
Yeah, see there's the problem. Let's take, for example, global warming and let's assume that AGW isn't established. (The argument works the same for other things such as GMO and climate engineering, but I'll use AGW.)

Does the cautionary principle work this way: "We're not sure humans are responsible for global warming. But trying to restrict our CO2 output will definitely harm our economy and likely cause a reduction in our ability to produce food. It will raise the cost of energy, causing some people to freeze to death. The cautionary principle says we shouldn't restrict CO2 output."

Or does it work this way: "We're not sure humans are responsible for global warming. But they might be. The cautionary principle says we had better reduce our CO2 output so that we don't risk causing massive damage to our planet."

What happens is that people always raise these arguments to support the conclusions they've accepted for other reasons. Nobody is actually swayed by them. They're basically window dressing. These are issues where both sides claim great impact and claim that the cautionary principle and the lack of complete knowledge justifies the conclusion they wanted in the first place for completely different, and unrelated reasons.

You have to address the real reasons people reach the conclusions they reach. If the evidence is not strong enough to compel either conclusion, people will generally argue for the conclusion that benefits them. And then it's not a scientific argument, it's over who wins and who loses.

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December 01, 2011, 08:20:42 PM
 #386

The argument that you have to go with what you know? Sounds strange because what else do you have. Then you would also probably want to apply the cautionary principle, at least for changes that would have a great impact.
Yeah, see there's the problem. Let's take, for example, global warming and let's assume that AGW isn't established. (The argument works the same for other things such as GMO and climate engineering, but I'll use AGW.)

Does the cautionary principle work this way: "We're not sure humans are responsible for global warming. But trying to restrict our CO2 output will definitely harm our economy and likely cause a reduction in our ability to produce food. It will raise the cost of energy, causing some people to freeze to death. The cautionary principle says we shouldn't restrict CO2 output."

Or does it work this way: "We're not sure humans are responsible for global warming. But they might be. The cautionary principle says we had better reduce our CO2 output so that we don't risk causing massive damage to our planet."

What happens is that people always raise these arguments to support the conclusions they've accepted for other reasons. Nobody is actually swayed by them. They're basically window dressing. These are issues where both sides claim great impact and claim that the cautionary principle and the lack of complete knowledge justifies the conclusion they wanted in the first place for completely different, and unrelated reasons.

You have to address the real reasons people reach the conclusions they reach. If the evidence is not strong enough to compel either conclusion, people will generally argue for the conclusion that benefits them. And then it's not a scientific argument, it's over who wins and who loses.

I'd say it can work both ways. Currently virtually everyone who knows anything about climate change agrees that it is a problem, then the cautionary principle dictates that we should try to limit CO2. If our knowledge changes, or the situation changes, then the same principle can dictate the direct opposite. It all comes down to our body of knowledge at that specific time.

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December 01, 2011, 09:59:29 PM
 #387

I'd say it can work both ways. Currently virtually everyone who knows anything about climate change agrees that it is a problem, then the cautionary principle dictates that we should try to limit CO2. If our knowledge changes, or the situation changes, then the same principle can dictate the direct opposite. It all comes down to our body of knowledge at that specific time.
If you state the conclusion at a high enough level of generality then everyone can agree. Yes, all other things being equal, let's prefer a solution that releases less CO2 to one that releases more. But, of course, that's not where the issue is. The issue is how much pain and sacrifice is justified to reduce CO2 by some particular amount and who will suffer the pain and make the sacrifice.

What's funny to me is that the very same people who are arguing for massive changes to reduce CO2 output are vehemently opposed to any other form of climate engineering. They're arguing for the biggest such attempt of them all, with massive, certain affects on human existence.

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JA37
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December 01, 2011, 10:15:45 PM
 #388

I'd say it can work both ways. Currently virtually everyone who knows anything about climate change agrees that it is a problem, then the cautionary principle dictates that we should try to limit CO2. If our knowledge changes, or the situation changes, then the same principle can dictate the direct opposite. It all comes down to our body of knowledge at that specific time.
If you state the conclusion at a high enough level of generality then everyone can agree. Yes, all other things being equal, let's prefer a solution that releases less CO2 to one that releases more. But, of course, that's not where the issue is. The issue is how much pain and sacrifice is justified to reduce CO2 by some particular amount and who will suffer the pain and make the sacrifice.

What's funny to me is that the very same people who are arguing for massive changes to reduce CO2 output are vehemently opposed to any other form of climate engineering. They're arguing for the biggest such attempt of them all, with massive, certain affects on human existence.

Agreed. There will have to be sacrifices. There always are in any choice we make. Who should make them? Probably those who have enjoyed the benefits the longest. I think it would be hard to convince anyone that the richest are those who should contribute the least. How much sacrifices we have to do? I'm sure there's a sweet spot somewhere where you do the most amount of good for the least amount of pain. I don't have the answer though.

I don't know what climate engineering you're talking about so I can't really comment on it. We've done some really stupid shit before so you should probably be very sure of what you're doing before doing it. Mao's sparrow killing idea did solve the problem of the birds eating the seeds, but in turn generated a much bigger problem. Let's not do something like that on a global scale please.

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December 01, 2011, 11:36:30 PM
 #389

I thought that would be the easy part - once we agree on a cap, we cap and trade. Basically the same thing as the Kyoto Protocol, but actually enforced.
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December 02, 2011, 08:27:47 AM
 #390

Most of the discussion about global warming are about CO2-emissions,
but not about the reason for it: We all spend too much resources, and we spend them in an ineffizient way.

We know a mechansim, which forces us to do things efficiently: markets.

Why don't they work against wasting resources like oil, coal, water, electricity ...

A lot of important things have no price, that's why they don't cause costs, and so nobody optimizes them.
Which costs are caused by the air-pollution in the US: I read today 184 billion dollars a year. Just a study of Yale, not real economy.
But there are costs, when people have to go to the hospital because of it, or the reduced crops of farmers.

Which costs are caused, when the US buys oil from Equatorial Guinea?

Which costs are caused, when kids in asia are producing my clothes?

In a really libertarian society it's quite complicate to cope with it. Normally these systems tend to melt down, when the "not payed costs" get to high.
In a society with a government and judges it would be easier, if the community wants it.

For me the solution has to be: Pollution, wasting of resources has to have cost/consequences. There are some, ...
Till now it's quite easy to talk about it.

There is always an excuse to help the economy and not the people.
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December 02, 2011, 08:38:54 AM
 #391

Most of the discussion about global warming are about CO2-emissions,
but not about the reason for it: We all spend too much resources, and we spend them in an ineffizient way.

We know a mechansim, which forces us to do things efficiently: markets.

Why don't they work against wasting resources like oil, coal, water, electricity ...

A lot of important things have no price, that's why they don't cause costs, and so nobody optimizes them.
Which costs are caused by the air-pollution in the US: I read today 184 billion dollars a year. Just a study of Yale, not real economy.
But there are costs, when people have to go to the hospital because of it, or the reduced crops of farmers.

Which costs are caused, when the US buys oil from Equatorial Guinea?

Which costs are caused, when kids in asia are producing my clothes?

In a really libertarian society it's quite complicate to cope with it. Normally these systems tend to melt down, when the "not payed costs" get to high.
In a society with a government and judges it would be easier, if the community wants it.

For me the solution has to be: Pollution, wasting of resources has to have cost/consequences. There are some, ...
Till now it's quite easy to talk about it.

There is always an excuse to help the economy and not the people.

So your libertarian solution to CO2 emissions would be "cap and trade"? That puts a price on pollution. If that's a solution, then how would a libertarian enforce it?

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December 02, 2011, 09:13:34 AM
 #392

Most of the discussion about global warming are about CO2-emissions,
but not about the reason for it: We all spend too much resources, and we spend them in an ineffizient way.

...snip...

That's not really correct.  Fossil fuels are the biomass of past ages.  When we burn them, that carbon is released.  Currently we release 400 years of biomass every year.  The issue is not efficiency - its values.  What value do we place on the environment our grandchildren will live in and can we get a market to reflect that value? 

The answer would seem to be that we don't really care that much about the environment our grandchildren will live in and thus it has no market value. 

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December 02, 2011, 10:09:14 AM
 #393

I didn't get, which liberitarian society we are talking about.

Are enforceable rules possible? Are judges allowed?
For me yes.

A real example:
In Japan every year experts are checking which electronic products are the least consuming ones. They best ones are the standard for the next year. And after some years (2 or so), no product less than this standard are allowed. No costs, just better products. This can be applied for a lot of products (cars for example).

Just ideas:

Every year/month/week there is a vote how much a kilometre on the street is. Every car-driver has to pay for it. The revenue is divided and payed to all voters.

An "exchange" for carbon-licences:
When you want to use a carbon-containing resource (oil, coal, wood, ...) you have to buy a license for it. Anyone who produces electricity or has trees is allowed to "mine" licenses following defined rules, and trade it on a stock-exchange.

Every company has to explain, how the product was produced. Which steps, from whom, where, ....
If a fault in the chain is found by anyone, rules like for cigarette-manufactures are applied: No commercial, no sponsoring, warnings...

Companies have to find a rating-agency, which controls the competitors.
The results of the agencies have to be public and handed out when ever you are buying a product. If not, all products in the shop are free.

There are platforms for p2p-financing of improvement-projects. For every liter of oil, which is bought, you have to decide, which project is financed and how much you are paying (at least 2%? of the price). The retailer has to double the amount.









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December 02, 2011, 10:28:26 AM
 #394


That's not really correct.  Fossil fuels are the biomass of past ages.  When we burn them, that carbon is released.  Currently we release 400 years of biomass every year.  The issue is not efficiency - its values.  What value do we place on the environment our grandchildren will live in and can we get a market to reflect that value? 

The answer would seem to be that we don't really care that much about the environment our grandchildren will live in and thus it has no market value. 

A lot of people think in the other direction. "I invest values now (making a debt), so my children and grandchildren will have a better live."
And I don't think, that most of the people don't have the feeling, that burning oil causes a "debt".
We know that a technology can be substituted by another one. So, why not using oil. Our grandchildren will use something else.
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December 02, 2011, 12:30:28 PM
 #395


That's not really correct.  Fossil fuels are the biomass of past ages.  When we burn them, that carbon is released.  Currently we release 400 years of biomass every year.  The issue is not efficiency - its values.  What value do we place on the environment our grandchildren will live in and can we get a market to reflect that value? 

The answer would seem to be that we don't really care that much about the environment our grandchildren will live in and thus it has no market value. 

A lot of people think in the other direction. "I invest values now (making a debt), so my children and grandchildren will have a better live."
And I don't think, that most of the people don't have the feeling, that burning oil causes a "debt".
We know that a technology can be substituted by another one. So, why not using oil. Our grandchildren will use something else.


There is no substitute for carbon burning energy like coal, oil and gas.  Its incredibly efficient and there is nothing even remotely close to consider as a substitute. 

If something, for example nuclear fusion, could be got to work, oil would go out of use just like the horse drawn cart.  But as it stands, we are utterly dependent on oil, coal and gas.

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December 02, 2011, 10:22:26 PM
 #396

I don't know what climate engineering you're talking about so I can't really comment on it. We've done some really stupid shit before so you should probably be very sure of what you're doing before doing it. Mao's sparrow killing idea did solve the problem of the birds eating the seeds, but in turn generated a much bigger problem. Let's not do something like that on a global scale please.
Well that pretty much rules out every known strategy to combat global warming. Any attempt to restrict CO2 emissions would be climate engineering on a previously unheard of scale.

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December 03, 2011, 01:36:50 AM
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So? You're failing to grasp why and instead jumping on the above as evidence of no AGW. Let's examine the likely reason for why. Massive PR campaigns funded by big money to engage in deception have created a very frustrating environment for Global Warming science. As an example, witness the relentless bullshit posted by the likes of you from ridiculous sources. Given that, some scientists feel obliged to fight back with deceptive practices themselves just to level the playing field - if they also engaged in deceptive practices, does that logically follow that AGW is not real? No.

Tell me, are you so gullible that you fell for Oregon Institute Petition?

Poor TECSHARE suffers from a conspiracy delusion.  If you tell him that a secret cabal invented the Pacific Ocean to stop decent Americans walking to Hawaii, he'd believe it.

You know the only other reason I come back here other than injecting some reality into this conversation - is to see how many childish insult fits you will spew out over a couple links. Certainly convinces me of your knowledge of the facts.

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December 03, 2011, 01:53:12 AM
 #398

I find this kind of debate amusing.  The question about whether or not global warming is caused by human industrial activities or not is an irrelevent one with regards to the outcomes.  Either an increase in the CO2 in the atmosphere will cause catastrophic warming or it will not, that is the only detail that matters.  So I ask the partisans on this thread the following questions...

Where did the carbon encased into fossil fuels come from?  My understanding is that they originally came from dead plant material, but if so, where did the plants get it?  The obvious answer is the air, but I'm open to speculation about alternatives.  If the carbon came from the air, and we presently live on this planet, how could a closed carbon cycle with a finite amount of carbon in it possibly cause a catastrophic warming trend when it didn't do that when the plants were alive?

So far, I've posed this same quandry to a great many people that I have met, and the most credible alternative that I've yet been presented with came from a fundamentalist Christian conservative, who responded that the carbon wasn't in the air before because God created the Earth with the oil in the ground.  I've literally seen dyed-in-the-wool tree huggers distort their own faces with the cognative dissonance.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

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December 03, 2011, 03:06:04 AM
 #399

I find this kind of debate amusing.  The question about whether or not global warming is caused by human industrial activities or not is an irrelevent one with regards to the outcomes.  Either an increase in the CO2 in the atmosphere will cause catastrophic warming or it will not, that is the only detail that matters.  So I ask the partisans on this thread the following questions...

Where did the carbon encased into fossil fuels come from?  My understanding is that they originally came from dead plant material, but if so, where did the plants get it?  The obvious answer is the air, but I'm open to speculation about alternatives.  If the carbon came from the air, and we presently live on this planet, how could a closed carbon cycle with a finite amount of carbon in it possibly cause a catastrophic warming trend when it didn't do that when the plants were alive?

So far, I've posed this same quandry to a great many people that I have met, and the most credible alternative that I've yet been presented with came from a fundamentalist Christian conservative, who responded that the carbon wasn't in the air before because God created the Earth with the oil in the ground.  I've literally seen dyed-in-the-wool tree huggers distort their own faces with the cognative dissonance.

Are we assuming that at some point most of this carbon was in the atmosphere as CO2 at once? When was the last time this was the case? I had always thought most of it was contained within life, rocks, or oil since Earth was very young and didn't support multicellular life. Also, it's a closed carbon cycle, but not a closed CO2 cycle.
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December 03, 2011, 03:34:31 AM
 #400


Where did the carbon encased into fossil fuels come from?  My understanding is that they originally came from dead plant material, but if so, where did the plants get it?  The obvious answer is the air, but I'm open to speculation about alternatives.  If the carbon came from the air, and we presently live on this planet, how could a closed carbon cycle with a finite amount of carbon in it possibly cause a catastrophic warming trend when it didn't do that when the plants were alive?


I haven't scientifically analyzed this thought all the way through, but hundreds of millions of years ago during the time dinosaurs were living, the world was a lot hotter than it is now. As living matter pulled carbon out of the air, died, and turned into oil, the earth cooled.

"how could a closed carbon cycle with a finite amount of carbon in it possibly cause a catastrophic warming trend when it didn't do that when the plants were alive?" - It was hot in the past and it wasn't catastrophic then, but there was a very different profile of life on Earth than there is now. A heat level that was not catastrophic to dinosaurs could very well be catastrophic to humans.

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