Sunday, April 15, 2007

Unintended Consequences

I am watching a PBS series on Loggerhead turtles and the narrator grandly stated "...our actions have unintended consequences.." Funny when they talk about global warming and such stuff this statement comes very easily to the minds of script writers, but when they talk about governance and policy it is rarely, if ever, mentioned. The assumption made seems to be that capitalist actions have unintended consequences that are bad for life on earth, but actions of those in public office do not have unintended consequences. The assumption that is glaring with its absence is that of omniscience of public officials. I appreciate the environmentalists for understanding the knowledge problem; however, there seems to be selective memory. How will some kind of a centralised plan to prevent global warming not have any unintended consequences? We see it all the time. Policies have unintended consequences. The Bush Luxury Tax, instead of taxing those that owned Yachts, stopped the rich from buying yachts which put marginal sailboat builders out of business. Isn't that an unintended consequence?
Environmentalists are also scare mongers. Every moment of every day some one is in the process of inventing something that makes life easier on earth. That is never a part of any of the series on the environment. If Methane gas bubbles to the surface of the seas due to a degree or two rise in sea water temperature, and if people in the scientific community are aware of this, we can be sure that someone somewhere is working to find a way to reduce the unfavourable effects. How come the community never talks about these new inventions that have made life easier to live? Will they be willing to live in conditions of the 18th century world? I doubt it!!
All of their predictions are based on scanty data from the last 50 years or so. Records of such things as sea temperature etc have been kept meticulously only for the last 50 years or so. The study of Earth itself, is a few thousand years old. What is the proof that such a rise in temperature is a natural phenomenon that occurs every other century or so? 50 data points are nothing in statistical analysis, they won't even cover the required degrees of freedom given the number of variables they try to predict. I am highly suspect of the data. Sure the environmentalists have good intentions, unfortunately, their actions and paranoia are causing several unintended consequences.

1 comment:

UberXY said...

"The Earth itself is only a few thousand years old".

Dude, are you on acid or what?