Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fixing Global Warming With a Helium Balloon and a Couple of Miles of Garden Hose


What if global warming, whatever its source and whatever its potential effects, could be fixed on the cheap? What if the recent warming trend in our planet's climate could be reversed, say, by using a helium balloon and a couple of miles of rubber hose to pump harmless sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere? If you are Al Gore or a member of his camp, you would be delighted, right? I mean, it's a win-win, right?

If that is your reaction, then you totally misunderstand the motivating forces and objectives of the anti-global warming movement. That movement has very little to do with finding a scientifically sound solution to an environmental threat, and a great deal to do with increasing public spending, asserting greater federal control over the U.S. economy, and imposing greater international regulatory control over the economies of all developed nations, especically the democratic, capitalist West. In short, it is a green Trojan horse.

As proof of that proposition, witness the reaction to a chapter on global warming in SuperFreakonomics, the new book by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and writer Stephen Dubner, the authors of the 2005 runaway best seller Freakonomics. As recounted by Bret Stephens in today's Wall Street Journal, the new book champions an idea conceived by Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue, Wash.-based firm founded by former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold. As described by Mr. Stephens, "The basic idea is to engineer effects similar to those of the 1991 mega-eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines, which spewed so much sulfuric ash into the stratosphere that it cooled the earth by about one degree Fahrenheit for a couple of years."

One would think that a rational and scientific response to this novel idea would be study and research into its feasibility and efficacy. One would think that anti-global warming activists would strongly advocate such study and research.

Wrong. The reaction from anti-global warming advocates has been ferociously hostile--they are resorting to language normally reserved for attacking former President George W. Bush. Mr. Stephens notes:
Mr. Gore, for instance, tells Messrs. Levitt and Dubner that the stratospheric sulfur solution is "nuts." Former Clinton administration official Joe Romm, who edits the Climate Progress blog, accuses the authors of "[pushing] global cooling myths" and "sheer illogic." The Union of Concerned Scientists faults the book for its "faulty statistics." Never to be outdone, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman scores "SuperFreakonomics" for "grossly [misrepresenting] other peoples' research, in both climate science and economics."
You see, for these people, nothing less than an unprecedented allocation of financial resources and international regulation of the world economy will do for a global-warming solution, even if it doesn't work.

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