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Friday, February 16, 2007

Global warming versus the Dot-Com Boom

I left this comment on this discussion thread on Winds of Change.

For my part, the AGW fight reminds me of another recent episode: the Internet stock bubble of the late 1990s. You've got the following:

1. Something that is poorly understood by most, but will Change the World in unpredictable ways (although unpredictably good in the case of the Net, unpredictably bad in the case of GW).

2. A sense that there's trillions of dollars at stake.

3. Lots of turbulence on all sides. Business models, government forms, and whole economic and political systems are seen as threatened.

4. Those who "get it" versus those troglodytes who just aren't hip to the whole thing, and ask unpleasant questions such as "can anyone see how this will actually make money" or "what about that whole Maunder Minimum thing"...

5. Obvious historic precedents: the railroad and telegraph boom of the mid 19th century, the Tulip Bubble, and with AGW, the climate-cooling scare in the 1970s, the Club of Rome, and the whole litany of bigthink disasters dating back to Malthus. And "advocates" claim that "this time, it's different".

6. Celebrity promotion and media advocacy. Being hip with AGW is cool and trendy, while being a skeptic is just so Big Oil. Al Gore as the new Maria Bartiromo.

I find it odd that no-one ever calculates the economic advantages of a touch of warming - regardless of cause. I'd wager any benefits would greatly outweigh any downside.

Nice blog, BTW. Just found it.
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