08 December 2013

You can't prove it

Climate sceptics are finding it ever harder to persuade the public that the climate isn't changing. So now some are turning to a more last-ditch line of attack: even if climate change is happening, it's not worth worrying about. Causes for climate concern, 'New Scientist', dated 7-13 December
If you're a politician, there's a genuine problem with climate change, as with many other environmental and social concerns: you can't do anything until cause and effect have been proven; and sometimes not even then. And that's supposing that you want to do something. When you don't really want to do anything, then obviously nothing will be done, except maybe you will perform some elaborate, expensive gestures, like participating in conferences, subsidising so-called green technologies (for a few years), and transferring token amounts of cash from taxpayers in the rich countries to rich people in the poor countries. Meantime, the challenge goes unmet.

Climate Stability Bonds could be the answer. Governments - or whoever actually wants to deal with climate change - could issue them without having to prove that climate change is actually happening, without knowing what's causing it, and without knowing what the best solution to it is going to be. The bond issuers would, in effect, be contracting out the discovery of what's happening, and how best to deal with it, to the market. And the market would have every incentive to be impartial and efficient about every aspect of the climate change challenge. That's a total contrast to the current policymaking environment, in which powerful interests can influence the interpretation and presentation of the science and policymaking. It's just not a rational way of dealing with the problem and it just might be leading us all into catastrophe.

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