Alarmist Looks Forward to Economic Pain

Published February 1, 2008

Michael Tobis, a climate scientist at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, has provided insight into some of the ulterior motives behind alarmist global warming advocacy.

In a December posting on the Grist blog, Tobis wrote, “[W]e in the overheated economies need to learn not just to cope with decline but to celebrate it. We need not just an ideology but a formal theory that can not only cope with reduced per-capita impact but can target it.

“Perhaps there is some level of economic activity beyond which life gets worse?” Tobis asked. “Perhaps in some countries we have already passed that point? Could the time where we’d all be better off with a gradual decline have arrived? How much attention should we pay to the folks who say we should keep climbing, that there’s no way we can run out of fuel, that we’ll think of something?”

“If the environmental movement were to enthusiastically embrace an ideology of decline, it would become irrelevant to American politics rather quickly,” responded Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

“I reject the idea that morality dictates greenhouse gas emission controls given our current state of knowledge,” Taylor added.

“If you take the literature regarding the impact of climate change on human beings seriously, then you can make a very strong argument that more people are harmed than helped by significant greenhouse gas emission controls and that human decency dictates resisting the ‘act now’ agenda,” Taylor said.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.