The Electric Commentary

Thursday, August 12, 2004

My favorite topic...

over at Tech Central Station. The good bits:

After four years of one of the most rigorous peer reviews ever, Canadian Ross McKitrick and another of us (Michaels) published a paper searching for "economic" signals in the temperature record. McKitrick, an economist, was initially piqued by what several climatologists had noted as a curiosity in both the U.N. and satellite records: statistically speaking, the greater the GDP of a nation, the more it warms. The research showed that somewhere around one-half of the warming in the U.N. surface record was explained by economic factors, which can be changes in land use, quality of instrumentation, or upkeep of records. This worldwide study added fuel to a fire started a year earlier by the University of Maryland's Eugenia Kalnay, who calculated a similar 50 percent bias due to economic factors in the U.S. records.

This observation should be painfully obvious to anyone with a shred of common sense. It should also shed light on the folly of those environmentalists that would have us "slow down" (through agreements like the Kyoto treaty). If the US were put in to suspended animation tomorrow so that we stopped producing greenhouse gases, and it somehow left the global economy unaffected, would it make any difference?

The answer is almost certainly "no." Moreover, the situation would likely deteriorate further without the US around to innovate. China is becoming an increasingly industrialized state, and the heat and pollution production in China will be much worse than anything the US has ever produced. The 1 billion or so people in China are going to start driving cars and manufacturing goods. This is already starting to occur in China and in India, which is growing at an even faster rate. The GDPs of these countries are going to increase, and with it, their heat production. If we are serious about controlling global warming, we must get more efficient. The best way to accomplish this is not by going into deep conservation mode because the rest of the world will not follow. Instead, we should concentrate of technological innovation.

The best thing that the US can do for its own future is to invent as many practical clean-tech items as possible. It will put an end to what man-made global warming does exist, and create a valuable export market at the same time.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Amazon Logo