Thursday, March 05, 2009

Gore on the Warming Debate (Oops, I'm sorry, there is no debate)

Al Gore had a great little exchange with Bjorn Lomborg, as reported in the Wall Street Journal:

But he was challenged by Mr. Lomborg, the Danish skeptical environmentalist who thinks the world would be better off spending more money on health and education issues than curbing carbon emissions.

“I don’t mean to corner you, or maybe I do mean to corner you, but would you be willing to have a debate with me on that point?” asked the polo-shirt wearing Dane.

“I want to be polite to you,” Mr. Gore responded. But, no. “The scientific community has gone through this chapter and verse. We have long since passed the time when we should pretend this is a ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ issue,” he said. “It’s not a matter of theory or conjecture, for goodness sake,” he added.

As an example, he pointed to a new addition to the budget for the island nation of the Maldives: “Funds to buy a new nation.”

Right, climate change is not a matter of theory. Then what exactly is it? Empirical evidence without any theory to tell us how to interpret the data?

I don't know what the political system of the Maldives is, but if the NH legislature were to pass a bill saying that we needed to build a coastal defense against sea rise, I would not give it a minute of thought (but it would be amusing).

And, even if there is a significant human element to climate change, does it automatically follow that resources should be devoted to climate change rather than to other problems?

You should be wary when people move to close off debate. How many "certain" things in economics and finance have been challenged successfully after having been broadly accepted? Several for sure (the CAPM being perhaps the number one example).


Gringer McDoodle said...

To which scientists should I look for the best research on the so-called problem of anthropogenic global warming?

Even if we were to melt it up, I'd say that's our perogative.

Gusto Van Fiddle said...

I couldn't agree more! Let's keep the debate alive. We should never give nothing credibility until it is too late.