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Fooled by randomness

Posted By Russ Roberts On May 19, 2009 @ 4:08 pm In Environment,Fooled by Randomness,Trade | Comments Disabled

According to my car thermometer, It was 54 degrees this morning at 8 am here in DC on May 19. It encouraged my skepticism about global warming. Paul Krugman [1] has none:

The scientific consensus on prospects for global warming has become
much more pessimistic over the last few years. Indeed, the latest
projections from reputable climate scientists border on the
apocalyptic. Why? Because the rate at which greenhouse gas emissions
are rising is matching or exceeding the worst-case scenarios.

One of us is being fooled by randomness. Hard to say which one. But Paul is very confident. He is willing to justify protectionism:

As the United States and other advanced countries finally move to confront climate
change, they will also be morally empowered to confront those nations
that refuse to act. Sooner than most people think, countries that
refuse to limit their greenhouse gas emissions will face sanctions,
probably in the form of taxes on their exports. They will complain
bitterly that this is protectionism, but so what? Globalization doesn’t
do much good if the globe itself becomes unlivable.

It’s time to save the planet. And like it or not, China will have to do its part.

The implications of Krugman's certainty is much more frightening than he is willing to admit. If you think China is destroying the planet, a tariff is just the beginning of what you will do.

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[1] Paul Krugman: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/opinion/15krugman.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1242655327-hSzWhIT0UpgdpL/0apoSpQ

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