George Will on climate worriers....
Will is crack on...
The New York Times reports that "the United Nations Adaptation Fund, which officially began operating in 2008 to help poor countries finance projects to blunt the effects of global warming, remains an empty shell, largely because rich nations have failed to come through with the donations they promised." The fund has a risible $18 million, which might not cover the cost of the Copenhagen conference.
There conferees will experience more futility because of, among other things, two stubborn facts -- the two most populous nations. On Oct. 21, China, the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases, and India, which ranks fourth -- together they account for 26 percent of emissions -- jointly agreed: They, with their combined one-third of the world's population, will not play in what increasingly resembles a global game of climate-change charades. Neither nation is interested in jeopardizing its economic growth with emissions caps of a sort that never impeded the growth of the developed nations that now praise them.
But do not really embrace them. Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives took time out from fending off the world and exempted large cattle-, dairy- and hog-producing operations from an Environmental Protection Agency requirement for reporting greenhouse gas emissions. And 13 Great Lakes cargo ships were exempted from a proposed mandate requiring the use of low-sulfur fuel. When constituents' interests conflict with global grandstanding, Congress's rule is "act locally, think globally tomorrow, maybe."
In their new book, "SuperFreakonomics," Steven D. Levitt, a University of Chicago economist, and Stephen J. Dubner, a journalist, worry about global warming but revive some inconvenient memories of 30 years ago. Then intelligent people agreed (see above) that global cooling threatened human survival. It had, Newsweek reported, "taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average." Some scientists proposed radical measures to cause global warming -- for example, covering the arctic ice cap with black soot that would absorb heat and cause melting.
Levitt and Dubner also spoil some of the fun of the sort of the "think globally, act locally" gestures that are liturgically important in the church of climate change. For example, they say the "locavore" movement -- people eating locally grown foods from small farms -- actually increases greenhouse gas emissions. They cite research showing that only 11 percent of such emissions associated with food are in the transportation of it; 80 percent are in the production phase and, regarding emissions, big farms are much more efficient.