Science Policy

Reason Writers Around Town: The Yale Forum on Climate Change Interviews Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey

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Bailey

The Yale Forum is part of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, run out of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The project says that it "provides original reporting, commentary, and analysis on climate change — one of the most important and challenging issues of our time. We strive to improve understanding of, and nurture better communication on, climate change … for the benefit of the public in arriving at sound individual and public policy actions." The Forum asked Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey to add his two bits. Below are a couple of excerpts from the interview:

First, on the odd and destructive affection of enviromentalists for open access commons:

…wherever you see an environmental problem in the world, it is a commons problem. The problem is occurring in an open-access commons. The problem is that with environmentalism most of the policies that are endorsed — by ideological environmentalists, I'll call them — basically want to enlarge commons rather than restrict them. They want to increase access in certain ways. I think the good policies go in exactly the other direction. I think [environmentalists] are basically advocating policies that will destroy the resources they believe that they're protecting….

Second, on what real intergenerational equity consists of:

We always hear about inter-generational equity, and the concern is that people should have, a century from now, essentially the natural environment that we have today …. Go into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's scenarios, you look at their high-carbon emissions scenarios or economics. What you find is that in that world, the average incomes are somewhere around $100,000 a year in 2100, per capita globally. Then consider the Stern review out of England, which was very important and which looked at the economic stakes of carbon loading to the atmosphere over a long time scale. The worst-case scenario is that global warming would reduce incomes by 20 percent by the year 2100 — something like that. That means that instead of making $100,000 a year, people in 2100 would be making $80,000 a year. The current per capita in the world today is around $8,000 to $9,000. So how should people living at $8,000 to $9,000 sacrifice for people who are going to be making $80,000 one-hundred years from now? That's inter-generational equity. Another way of looking at it is: How much should your great grandparents, who were making $2,000 a year, have sacrificed to have the atmosphere essentially 1.5 degrees cooler than it is.

The whole transcribed interview, "Reason Writer Ron Bailey's Libertarian Take on Climate, Free Markets," can be found here.

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  1. The climate change thing is so pass?. It’s all about sustainable development and social justice(equality) now.

    So how should people living at $8,000 to $9,000 sacrifice for people who are going to be making $80,000 one-hundred years from now?

    Under the current progressive wealth redistribution scheme, those making 8-9k aren’t going to sacrifice anything. It’s the people who are making 80k now that are going to sacrifice by having one half of their income confiscated and resdistributed to the 8-9k folks so that both are looking at 40k. So that way we will all be making 80k by 2100, which will be worth about 8-9k in todays world. So in effect, everyone will be equally poor, but this equality will make progressives feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    1. the current progressive wealth redistribution scheme is inflation, so those making 8-9 a year are going to be ground into a fucking pulp and force-fed to those making 10-11k a year as grade D meat.

  2. The Yale Forum on Climate Change Interviews Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey

    Well that’s going to go over like a fart in church.

    1. Judging from a few of the comments that I read, yeah. Don’t do what I did if you value your sanity. It’s like Huff-Post but with that extra dose of ivy league smugness that you’d expect from a Yale forum.

      1. One of the greatest things about working in West Africa is the number of recent Ivy League graduates I get to deal with.

        It’s almost uplifting to crush them and their ideas with my sweet and beautiful reality.

        Unfortunately, they forget everything the moment they step on the airplane home.

        1. Whiterun Guard| 10.3.12 @ 12:10PM |#

          One of the greatest things about working in West Africa is the number of recent Ivy League graduates I get to deal with

          Soldier of Fortune, ay? Those Yalie CIA-spooks *are* such dicks.

  3. inter-generational equity

    That one needs to escape into the wild ASAP.

    1. If the under-40 crowd really sinks its teeth into the notion of “intergenerational equity”, then the SocSec/Medicare crowd is in for a hell of a fight.

      1. If the under-40 crowd really sinks its teeth into the notion of “intergenerational equity”

        What? They don’t want to pay their fair share? Why do they hate grandma and welfare queens, and the childins?

        We are all in this together, the DNC said so, so pay up young weed hoppers, granny needs a new hip!

        1. And don’t forget your student loan payments!

          Does anyone else think that the housing market will be in the doldrums for many decades to come?

      2. “Luckily” by the time that crowd figures out the scam, they’re all over 40.

        And by ‘that crowd’ I mean the 0.5% of them that are capable of rational thought.

    2. It’s just the new term for social justice. Progessives never come up with new ideas, they just keep changing the name of the old ideas that don’t work.

  4. Ron, I still don’t understand how you pretend to be a libertarian but are so fully in support of a “Carbon Tax”.

    I’m not trying to be insulting because I greatly value your opinions and research. However, a Carbon Tax seems about as anti-liberty as possible. How can you on the one hand criticize cap-n-trade for its crony capitalist nature yet not see the same problem with a Carbon Tax?

    1. Next you’ll be asking them to prove that the warming is actually the result of human activity and not normal climate cycles.

      1. Next you’ll be asking them to prove that the warming is actually the result of human activity and not normal climate cycles

        or that no tax is ever going to have even a minimal impact on the climate changing.

    2. I stopped reading the interview on the first question:

      What do you think of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s streak of libertarianism

      That is enough to tell me that the interviewer at Yale is either so totally misinformed on politics or just so suffering from partisan bias, that I wouldn’t consider any other questions from this person as worthy of a response.

      1. I’d say Ryan has at least a streak. He seems genuinely motivated by the entitled social darwinian self-satisfaction of libertarianism, but as a politician can’t always have it on full display.

        1. Shut the fuck up Tony.

          (this by the way, should be the standard response to Tony. He thinks libertarians are me-first social darwinists, therefore his sock puppetry deserves no less than insults.)

          So shut the fuck up Tony.

        2. All right, whoever is sock-puppeting ‘Tony’ is getting really lazy. All they did was string together a bunch of idiotic leftist buzz-words. We need to demand better trolling.

          1. And while we’re at it, let’s put a little effort into alt text. A simple ‘Not Beetle’ would have been acceptable.

        3. I’d say Ryan has at least a streak

          Then I would say you are a bloviating partisan bag of hot air.

  5. “one of the most important and challenging issues of our time”

    So the mission statement starts out with bullshit.

    “the latest manufactured environmental ‘crisis'” would be more accurate.

  6. Interesting article up @ Marketwatch

    http://www.marketwatch.com/sto…..2012-10-03

    Green Energy Policy Hurts America

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) ? Moral superiority. You can’t burn it. You can’t eat it. It won’t heat your home or run your car. You can’t buy or sell it. But in America, we have a green energy policy based primarily on moral superiority.

    Worth a read. Its pretty good. Another snippet..

    …One more example of moral superiority is the myth that mandatory recycling is beneficial for society. Mandatory recycling programs squander valuable resources but they sound good and that is enough for most people to buy into it. Contrary to popular opinion, more toxic substances are actually released in recycling processes than in new paper processing. The polluting effect of recycling is not least due to curbside pick-up, which is mandated by many governments throughout the country. Instead of one truck picking up 40 or more pounds of rubbish, separate trucks must be sent out to pick up four to eight pounds of recyclables. Therefore, it could take up to twice as many oil-guzzling trucks on the road in any particular city to perform the recycling-pickup duty.

    Proponents of recycling don’t mention that such tradeoffs exist. They cannot fathom the principle that costs as well as benefits follow from every economic decision made

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