global warming

another off-topic post. It is refreshing to hear one of those no-nonesense people we call economists weigh in on the global warming issue. Finally a bit of balanced sense. Posner himself:

The global warming skeptics point out that there are natural climate fluctuations, that anticapitalists are enthusiastic beaters of the drum for action against global warming, and that global warming would have good effects on agriculture in northern climes. These points are correct, but do not support the skeptical position. The existence of natural climate fluctuations increases the risk from human-caused global warming, because increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide increase the amplitude of the fluctuations. The fact that the motives of some of the people who are worried about global warming are political is irrelevant to the scientific issues, not only because scientists use apolitical methods of testing their hypotheses, but also because there are politics on both sides of the global warming debate: if leftwingers exaggerate the danger of global warming, rightwingers belittle them excessively. As for improving agricultural yields in northern climes, the transitional costs of relocating agriculture from (at present) tropical to arctic climes would be immense. Nor would improvements in agricultural yields respond to the effects of inundation of low-lying land areas, the migration of tropical diseases to temperate climates, the effects of increasingly violent weather, and the possible deflection of the Gulf Stream, causing Europe’s climate to become Siberian.

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