Sunday, October 25, 2015
we'll always have paris
One of the first things on newly elected Prime Minister Trudeau's agenda is the U.N. Paris summit on climate change. And why not take an opportunity for a first class all expenses paid trip to France's historic capital while simultaneously flexing your environmental bonfides? The first rule of being a member of Canada's elite political class is 'get while the getting is good'. In an example of unparalleled magnanimity the Prime Minister-elect has also offered to bring along his erstwhile menshevick allies including American born Green Party leader Elizabeth May. And why not? It's all on the public dime, so sky is the limit.
The media has been reluctant to point out the brazen hypocrisy of the massive carbon footprint associated with this epic summit but it is par for the course for celebrities and politicians who live in massive mansions and spend their time jet setting around the world to decry the fuel consumption of the little people. Couldn't this have all been done over the phone? Assuming of course that 'this' needs to be done at all, which is a very tenuous proposition indeed. This blog will not go as far as some and flatly deny the existence of anthropological climate change. Man does on a constant basis alter the environment to suit his needs. This is not only a simple fact of life it is also critical to the amelioration of scarcity and sustaining or increasing an ever larger human population. Surely if murder is evil, then allowing for the flourishing of human life must be good. And if we are opposed to human suffering than we must be in favour of activities which help to eliminate poverty. We will, however, dispute some of the claims advanced by global warming alarmists. Their doomsday models have been disproved by more accurate temperature measurements. There has been some modest warming as a result of human activities. But these activities, the development of industry and the consumption of fossil fuels, have also resulted in profound increases in the standards of living for billions of people. As with anything in life we must carefully weigh risk vs reward in order to come to a conclusion about the merits or demerits of a particular activity or policy and industrialization on net is clearly on the side of the angels.
The philosophy of etatism has done quite a lot to aggravate the situation. The economic system of free market capitalism is endlessly innovative. Firms are always forced to come up with new products or improvements to old products in order to keep up with the competition. Unfortunately government intervention can greatly retard this process. Corporate income taxes, for example, freeze investment in a particular firm instead of allowing it to move dynamically to other opportunities. Mercantilist grants of monopoly privilege enable established business interests to profit without innovation. Regulations, by defining good X in a certain manner, legally prevent improvements to it. Further the siphoning off of wealth from the private sector slows economic growth and with it technological development. The irony is that all of these policies prevent the development of new technology that would eventually replace fossil fuels. It is important to understand that oil, until recently, was simply gunk in a farmers field that interfered with the growing of crops. The miracle that is capitalism enabled us to harness this energy source, and left alone over time the market will find even better ways to power the global economy. Taxing carbon or instituting a 'cap n' trade' scheme will simply serve to further benefit the state and those who are politically connected while putting additional strain on our already heavily taxed and over regulated private sector.