Global Warming Not a Bad Thing April 4, 2012
Robert Zubrin, in this article from National Review, takes a different approach from most conservatives on global warming, and to my view the most sensible approach. Instead of denying that global warming is happening, or insisting that human activity has nothing to do with it if it is, he declares that global warming is in general a good thing for humankind. Temperatures around 1000 A.D. were warmer than now, and that was not a time of great distress. It was the cooling and Little Ice Age from 1400 to 1800 that was a challenge, at least for Europe.
I do think that he dismisses too easily the fact that there will be some real losers who will need help. The island nations of Nauru and the Maldives, for example. Large parts of Bangladesh, which affects a very large number of people. Flat coastal cities even in the developed world. We must not kid ourselves; massive philanthropic efforts, and, yes, I fear, even some government spending, may be necessary in the relocation of these people. As for where they would go; many developed countries are on track to lose population, and now even many Muslim countries such as Iran are starting to lose population. Russia is losing population faster than any other country, but if the Bangladeshis consider Russia too cold and strange an environment [as I would were I Bangladeshi] there may be more room for them in Muslim countries or Japan or even parts of China. The problem is that they may not be able to grow rice and jute in their new environments, and that they will have to adapt to new ways of life; but that has happened to nationalities before.
All this conceded, I think that Zubrin’s argument is a safer one to take regarding global warming. The dangers that conservatives are worried about if global warming is happening have to do with trying to stop it; and they fear, and rightly, that trying to stop global warming will require a worldwide regime of omnipotent philosopher kings. Such a regime would be worse than global warming; but Zubrin shows us how we need not put ourselves in a position of denying global warming, a not very tenable position, in order to oppose these potential philosopher kings. There are better arguments.
Related: “Carbon Emissions Are Good ” by Robert Zubrin at National Review