Re: [asa] Re: asa-digest V1 #6421

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon Dec 18 2006 - 09:27:19 EST

I think Anthony makes some excellent points here. It's one thing to
acknowledge that global warming is a problem and that humans contribute to
it. It's another to leap from that to an unworkable treaty that will likely
do more harm than good given its economic costs and (to use a law and
economics term) the agency problems it entails. At present, it's unlikely
that Kyoto would do much more than transfer jobs and capital from the U.S.
to China, a gross polluter that will never comply with treaty standards,
without any net reduction in emissions. These economic costs would be
better applied to research and development on cleaner energy technologies.
This would not only help slow warming, but would also have positive
spillover effects as new technology, know-how, skills, jobs, and capital are
injected into the market.

On 12/18/06, Anthony Perez-Miller <> wrote:
> I should perhaps have made this clear in my original post, but for what
> it's worth, I'm not a climate change skeptic. Nor was I conflating the
> science with Kyoto, but was rather commenting on oversimplifications in the
> original scienceblogs posting.
> Lomborg may not be right; I haven't studied the subject enough to make a
> firm argument either way. I am however predisposed in favor of his
> arguments regarding Kyoto, based on the empirical observation that the
> probability of success in economic engineering scales inversely with
> complexity. (The twentieth century gave evidence enough to consider that a
> truism.) And not surprisingly, the Protocol is giving rise to a host of
> unintended consequences, as the EU and (as mentioned in the last message)
> New Zealand are discovering.
> So what you describe as "political cowardice" I would call something else
> -- "prudence" perhaps, although that it is short supply among politicians.
> Nor am I sure what to make of your comment regarding national
> sovereignty. Outside of the UN, which treats the most despotic regime as
> equal to the most representative of governments, it doesn't seem hard to
> define legitimacy of sovereignty on a sliding scale, based on, oh, respect
> for human rights maybe. Under such a scheme North Korea and Iran would have
> less expectation of untrammeled sovereignty than Norway or Australia. A toy
> model, of course, but sufficient to suggest that "irony" need have nothing
> to do such judgements. A willingness to forego the fashionable moral
> equivalence is however helpful.
> Anyways. I did not intend to start a flame war with my first post. By
> way of introduction: MS, physics, University of Rochester; presently a PhD
> candidate in History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University. My
> dissertation concerns the structure of intelligent design arguments (I find
> them wanting). Came from a hyper-fundamentalist upbringing, which I've long
> since fled. More recently entered a love-hate relationship with Reformed
> theology (these days more of the latter). Been aware of ASA for a decade
> but finally decided to jump on board the mailing list last week. Likes
> include---oh, never mind...
> V/R
> --Anthony
> On 12/17/06, PvM <> wrote:
> > One should not confuse political cowardness with Kyoto's treaty or the
> > science of global warming.
> >
> > It's ironic how the US is perfectly willing to have other countries
> > give up their national sovereignty (Iran, North Korea etc) and yet is
> > unwilling to apply its own rules to the US of A.
> > Asfar as Lomborg is concerned, he refers to himself as "The Skeptical
> > Environmentalist" it seems. Many climatologists appear to disagree
> > with him, for instance on a biologist
> > catalogues a variety of problems. On
> > the idea that Lomborg is either
> > skeptical or an environmentalist is rejected.
> >

David W. Opderbeck
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Received on Mon Dec 18 09:28:16 2006

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