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Catching up on my reading, I just came across Matt Ridley’s article on global warming in the Wall Street Journal last week. Mr. Ridley—no, strike that; since the death of his father in 2012, Matt Ridley is more properly referred to as the Rt. Hon. the Viscount Ridley — Lord Ridley explained that, in its forthcoming report, even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits that fears of global warming have been (forgive me) overheated. A couple of excerpts from a column in which, in my judgement, Matt Ridley simply puts global warming away:
Even with its too-high, too-fast assumptions, the recently leaked draft of the IPCC impacts report makes clear that when it comes to the effect on human welfare, “for most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers,” such as economic growth and technology, for the rest of this century. If temperatures change by about 1C degrees between now and 2090, as Mr. Lewis calculates, then the effects will be even smaller….
There remains a risk that the latest science is wrong and rapid warming will occur with disastrous consequences. And if renewable energy had proved by now to be cheap, clean and thrifty in its use of land, then we would be right to address that small risk of a large catastrophe by rushing to replace fossil fuels with first-generation wind, solar and bioenergy. But since these forms of energy have proved expensive, environmentally damaging and land-hungry, it appears that in our efforts to combat warming we may have been taking the economic equivalent of chemotherapy for a cold.
Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population “bomb,” pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.
Global warming, no different from falling sperm counts and killer bees.
That does it. I mean it. From now on, I won’t care how fancy the cocktail party. Whenever somebody in some sort of comme il faut liberal setting here in Northern California starts to ooze concern and righteous indignation about global warming, I’m going to pour my martini over his head.