Many libertarians, including otherwise serious scholars and men of letters, sound like empty-headed dolts when discussing scientific matters. To redress this unfortunate deficiency, I want to talk about Global Warming, a subject scarcely (if ever) raised on pro-liberty websites.
The Greenhouse Effect entails the absorption of solar radiation emitted from the earth’s surface via certain “greenhouse gases” (a category comprised of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone). This absorption of solar radiation heats the earth. Empirical verification of this theory is accessible to all of us; it would be foolish to deny it.
Obviously, then, the heat of the earth will increase in tandem with increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Ergo, human emissions of CO2 are contributing to global warming. Period. The scientific debate is over anthropogenic climate change’s degree and social import, not over its existence.
Given the logically inescapable nature of my reasoning as presented in the foregoing paragraphs, as well as the fact that the Greenhouse Effect is an empirically-verifiable phenomenon, I think it is singularly silly for people to say man doesn’t contribute to this problem (if a problem it be).
(Countintuitively, let me note that it is POSSIBLE that increases in plant biodiversity resultant from increased global temperatures might actually reverse global warming; more plants will siphon more CO2 from the atmosphere, hobbling the Greenhouse Effect and reducing global temperatures to an agreeable median.)
When libertarians bat their eyes at the problem they court the charge of scientific denialism. Rather, we should dispute the Chicken Little Narrative of the Greens, and offer pro-market solutions to this problem.
To my eye, it is especially crucial to emphasize that global overpopulation, a mutation of the welfare state, was a necessary condition for the manifestation of climate change.Published in