sábado, agosto 29, 2015

The Fatal Conceit of Statesmen

The Breathtaking Arrogance of Two Statesmen:
I really do wonder if, in the entire history of preposterous displays of despotic statecraft, there has been anything so ridiculous as two men on opposite sides of the world, two men with a weak hold on power, two men who can barely claim to represent anyone, signing a piece of paper that purports to control the global climate by tightening the regulatory noose around the respective population’s neck sometime in the next 15 years.

It’s times like this when the regular news really does read like the Onion.

As for the policy and science behind the idea, consider how much these two masterminds do not know. The following just gets us started. They don’t know for sure in what way the climate is changing in departure from normal patterns, whether that change is on net a bad thing overall, whether and to what extent human activities are causing the change, the precise relationship between cause and effect, the precise kind of policy response that is required to reverse the change, whether the benefits of that policy will exceed its costs even if there were a way to measure it, whether that policy is actually realizable and enforceable, and whether there is any real test available to discern success from failure regarding this new policy.

They know none of this. No mortal truly can. True science is hard enough in the laboratory where human choice is not part of mix of what’s being studied. Make the entire world the lab and the human choices of 7 billion people, stretched out over a 15 or 30 year future, part of the control set and you are really entering into the realm of total fantasy.

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