Those who read these pages know of my skepticism regarding policymaking based on the current state of science on so-called global warming. Recent discussions at the G-8 meetings suggested that President Bush may be more open to restrictions on CO2 output for the purpose of stopping global warming processes. Of course, those restrictions, if followed, may have only a limited impact on the total CO2 output, particularly if economic growth continues in developing countries like China and India. If that occurs, our restrictions will slow our economic growth, allowing them to “catch up” – and then some. I have no objection to other countries catching up economically, but I have an objection to government policies that help others catch up by slowing our competitors down.
Though some like to stop debate and move to action immediately, the course of that action may turn out to be entirely wrong. If global warming has other causes, like the solar or other radiation, then it is foolish to limit carbon emissions. Below is a link to commentary by a Canadian scientist on this topic. Note the citation to a 2003 survey of environmental scientists, where the vast majority state that the scientific discipline of global climate change is too undeveloped to make correct decisions in this area. The making of “An Inconvenient Truth” did not change the underlying facts of the state of that development. (My thanks to Jonathan T. for passing this article along.)