Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Dr. Roy Spencer on individual freedom

For those who are not familiar with Dr. Roy Spencer, he describes himself as a "climatologist, author, former NASA scientist." His blog is cool, discussing from "Global Warming: Natural or Manmade?", "Global Warming 101", "Research Articles and Simple Climate Model", among others. His belief about climate change -- "it happens, with or without our help." Cool guy.

Dr. Spencer is associated with the Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and this university's climatologists interpret various temperature data collated by NASA's Aqua (and other?) satellites on 24/7 basis -- sea surface temp. (SST), temperature of the lower troposphere (TLT), others. And here's the latest TLT anomaly for October 2010, it has gone down to only 0.42 C. Click on the graph to get a bigger image.

I was very lucky to meet him in person last May. At the Heartland Institute's 4th International Conference on Climate Change (4th ICCC) in Chicago, he was one of the plenary speakers. During cocktails, I met him and immediately asked for a picture with him.

Yesterday, he wrote a simple, down to earth analysis why climate alarmism persists, entitled Global Warming Elitism, Tomorrow’s Election, and The Future. He wrote,

...there was a strong push for policy changes that even most of the scientists involved supported — ultimately culminating in the governmental control over how much and the kinds of energy sources humanity would be allowed to use in the future.

Cap and Trade, as well as potential regulation of carbon dioxide emissions by the EPA, are the fruits of the labor of politicians, governmental representatives, bureaucrats, the United Nations, and activist scientists who have used global warming as an excuse to accomplish policy goals that would have never been accomplished on their own merits

Dr. Spencer identified the problem squarely: the hunger for bigger government. The hunger for more government regulations of environment activities and more taxation/subsidy of certain energy sources. The various sectors used "climate science" for this specific and often non-explicit goal. Then he defined the evil of elitism:

The belief that a better-educated few should be allowed power over the less educated masses. That government knows better than the people do.

Tomorrow’s election is widely viewed as a referendum on the proper role of government in people’s lives. There is no question that the founders of our country intended there to be maximum of freedom on the part of individuals and the states, while placing strong limits on the role of the federal government.

Wow, bulls-eye! And here are more meat to his discussions on individual freedom and free market:

One of the reasons I am willing to stick my neck out and inform people of the uncertain nature of government-approved global warming science is because the basic economics behind any governmental (or environmental extremist) attempts to restrict personal choice in energy use will end up killing people.

In fact, it already has.

The biggest threat to humanity is poverty. Wealthier is healthier. When governments make energy more expensive, or environmental organizations pressure foreign countries to not build hydroelectric dams, poor people die.

Those already living on the edge are pushed over the edge. Energy is required for everything we do, and artificially raising the price of energy cannot help but destroy wealth generation.

There is a big political and environmental lobby to demonize if not kill certain energy sources that are cheap but are deemed "dirty and cause man-made warming", and then use huge taxpayers' money to subsidize "clean and no carbon emission" power sources. I have argued before that personally, I have nothing against wind farms, solar farms, other renewable energy sources. They should be allowed, like all other energy sources. Their presence expands the range of choices for people over what kind of energy sources they wish to give them electricity and power in their homes, offices, communities and cars.

What I am against is government coercion of tax-tax-tax certain energy sources and turning around to give the huge tax collections to feed a big and expanding government climate bureaucracies, the government-funded environmental groups and NGOs, and the subsidy-dependent renewable power sources. Use voodoo science, quick-fix climate soundbytes, just to get the energy socialism that they wish for.

If people want to use solar and wind energy sources, then they should pay for it even if these are expensive. Let them spend their money where their mouths are. They should not clamor for expensive energy sources become artificially cheap by making governments force you and me to pay for higher energy taxes. Meaning you and me and other people who do not believe in whatever energy subsidies should be forced and coerced to give such subsidy to them.

And here's Dr. Spencer's take on free markets. I love his definition of it.

What ensures sustainability is free markets. As natural resources of one type become more scarce, their price goes up, which makes alternatives more attractive. People are incentivized to develop new answers to old technological problems. This is why fossil fuels will never be used up. At some point, they simply will become too expensive to extract.

Mass production by factories and corporations should be embraced, rather than derided. It represents the most efficient way of providing goods and services. Waste is minimized because it hurts competitiveness.

If you really want to help the poor, then help the country grow economically. Want to make sure the poor are taken care of? Then encourage businesses to grow, which will lead to more jobs. Economic activity is what is needed...

And whether we like it or not, the only way to ensure this growth happens is to give business owners and entrepreneurs some hope that their risk-taking and creativity will pay off for them personally in the future.

Yes, in the process, some people will get rich. A few will get obscenely rich. But this only occurs because so many consumers want the goods and services those rich few can offer them.

Call it a necessary evil, if you must. But it is, indeed, necessary. The end result will be more money for the poor, not less.

Wow! I almost forgot that Dr. Spencer is a natural scientist, not an economist or social scientist or a businessman. I don't want to make any elaboration on those words as they are so beautifully explained.

Finally, here's his killer concluding paragraph:

So, what is the primary role of government in all this? In my opinion, it is two-fold: (1) make sure people play fair, and (2) get out of the way.

This should be the main reason why I was lucky to corner him in the picture above. Minimal government philosophy jibes 100 percent with climate realism.


Unknown said...

"Psychologically, the U.N. has contributed a great deal to the gray swamp of demoralization—of cynicism, bitterness, hopelessness, fear and nameless guilt—which is swallowing the Western world." -- Ayn Rand, “The Anatomy of Compromise,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 148.

The globalists, environmentalists and global warming elitists have found a new sanctuary, which allows them to amass tremendous political power to pursue their altruist-collectivist goals: the U.N.

Bienvenido Oplas Jr said...

Yes. After the collapse the Berlin Wall 21 years ago, the socialists were scampering what new "cause" they can hop in. Environmentalism and global warming were convenient issues to pursue their socialist and interventionist goals.