What joy in The Guardian letters page


Mark Lynas exaggerates a little but is generally correct here:

Climate change is real, caused almost entirely by humans, and presents a potentially existential threat to human civilisation. Solving climate change does not mean rolling back capitalism, suspending the free market or stopping economic growth.

That "potentially existential" is the exaggeration. It's something between not a problem and a large problem. Meaning that yes, we probably would like to do something about it even if only on the grounds of insuring ourselves. Very much the Matt Ridley point in fact (not surprisingly, as the Good Viscount has informed us on the matter and we have been able to inform him on certain points).

Then we come to the Guardian letters page in response to Lynas. Much spluttering that of course capitalism must be defeated etc. And we're also set a challenge:

Immense changes to the economic system must be made over the next few years, and the blame game gets us nowhere. If Klein’s belief that “corporate capitalism must be dismantled’” is wrong, it is up to the right to show how the new measures required can work under the present system.

OK, how's this for a plan?

We carry on rather as we did in the 20th century. Roughly the same rate of economic growth, roughly the same demographics (we need the growth rate to reduce fertility and thus get the demographics), roughly the same rate of globalisation and increase in international trade, roughly the same rate of increases in energy efficiency, reduction in costs of solar and so on and on. There's also that insurance bit and as we've got to get tax revenue from somewhere let's have a carbon tax and reduce the taxes on a good thing. Say, increase the allowance before paying payroll taxes (national insurance for the UK, FICA for the US etc). This will in fact solve the problem. (Maybe we might try to miss out the communism and the two world wars bit though.)

No, really, it will. For what we've described there is A1T, one of the scenarios that the IPCC itself uses to forecast climate change. And A1T really is just a straight line projection of the trends of the last century across the next. The carbon tax is simply adding the major recommendation of the Stern Review to our mix as that insurance policy. Under A1T climate change is not an existential problem, it's not even a major problem. In fact, by the end of the century it's not even a problem at all.

Now, we're generally believed to be on the right so perhaps that answers the letter writer's question? Or perhaps, because this isn't actually an answer from the right but is one from the climate establishment it doesn't qualify?

Or, of course, there's the possibility that all of those shouting about climate change and the necessity of deconstructing capitalism and markets either have not read or have failed to understand the basic documents that lay out the concerns in the first place. That would be something of a pity, of course it would, but it wouldn't be the first time various lefties have decided to ignore reality.