Yep, This Is The Perfect Antidote for a Recession

Kevin Drum is off his meds, and is generating a lot of good fodder for me today. I made a couple of small edits in the name of intellectual honesty:

The news keeps getting better and better. The House Democratic caucus just voted 137-122 to replace John Dingell (D"“General Motors) as chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The new chair will be Henry Waxman, who cares deeply about [0.01% changes in atmospheric composition] and will be a huge ally in the fight to get serious[ly high fuel and electricity prices] next year. This is change we can believe in.

I am willing to put my disagreement with a lot of the world on whether on not global warming is dangerous into the "reasonable people can disagree" category.  But it just strikes me as outright insanity to try to push forward and pretend that anything that makes a meaningful dent in CO2, and so which has to make a meaningful dent in fuel and electricity consumption, will require either massive shortages or much higher prices.  Even a third-way plan that says we will evade this trade-off with new technologies  (whatever the hell those are) faces the massive dead-weight-loss of having to obsolete perfectly good power generation or transportation infrastructure and replace it wholesale with trillions of dollars of new stuff.  If we found out tomorrow that exposed brick caused global warming, and all of our houses had to be knocked down and rebuilt, would anyone really think we were all richer for that?

The amazing thing to me is that the left has all gotten on the "this will be a net positive for the economy, 5 million jobs, blah blah" message.  This is nuts.  This is the broken windows fallacy on Barry Bonds' entire steroid inventory.  Folks often respond to me, "but we will gain because we will reduce the cost of global warming."  But reasonable, non-loony folks don't really honestly think we are incurring any costs right now from global warming.  There is an argument that they might exist 50 years from now and that they might be high enough to get started on now, but for the next 10 years or more, there is just cost, no benefit.

  • Dr. T

    But reasonable, non-loony folks don't really honestly think we are incurring any costs right now to global warming.

    Some reasonable folks believe that the small amount of sun-induced (and not CO2-related anthropogenic) global warming has a net benefit. The civilized world is better off warmer than colder. I'll take a little polar ice melting, a six-inch rise in sea level, and longer growing seasons over an ice age with a two-month growing season and glaciers covering Canada, northern USA, Scandinavia, northern Europe, and half of Russia.

  • L Nettles

    Question: I your local coal fired power plant was destroyed by a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, how fast would you want it rebuilt?

  • http://tcktek.blogspot.com xpatUSA

    @ L Nettles: If your local coal fired power plant was destroyed by a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, how fast would you want it rebuilt?

    As fast as possible - and forget the clean coal bit, we don't want 30 cts/kwh thank you!

    Have you ever seen a time lapse sequence of, say an orange, rotting on the ground? That's how I view the planet in my mind as the dominant bacterium (humans) eats up the whole thing in no time at all, geologically speaking.

    Bottom line is we don't care as a kind. we'll use it and use it until the population falls to where nature can sustain it.

    Not well put but I do feel quite strongly that the above is where we're heading.

    T.C. - happy to be old, retired and diabetic ;-)

  • diz

    On the positive side, guys like Waxman are repulsive to about 80% of the American electorate.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Kevin Dumb doesn’t take meds, because that harms his hamster cage operating environment.

    Seriously. Does anyone actually pay attention to morons like Kevin Dumb?

    1) He’s an exceptionally poor writer, and

    2) He can’t get his facts straight (so expect to read him in the New York Times soon)

    If Wall Street executives were overpaid, then this guy’s the Dick Grasso of journalists.

  • Mike

    As Don Boudreaux said, politics produces Svengalis, not salvation.