A libertarian response to global warming

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Conclusion and disclosure

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I do contract work for oil and gas companies. I also do contract work for paleoclimatologists. I see no problem with this; everyone has a right to top quality data, if they are willing to pay for it.

I realize that this response to global warming is a bit wishy-washy, and fuzzy on technical details. But I’m an analytical chemist, not an economist or a lawyer. So I’m a bit out of my field here. As a result, I don’t know how practical this solution actually is. However, I think it is worth considering, for two reasons. First of all, it gives a new way of approaching the problem, where agreement on the severity of climate change is not necessary for the implementation of the plan. I think that any climate change plan that requires unanimous agreement on all aspects is doomed to fail.

More importantly, it shows how the libertarian mindset can be used to approach important public policy areas that are outside the core issues of traditional libertarian thought. If libertarians want to be anything more than a fringe political force, we need to devise libertarian solutions to mainstream problems; guns, taxes and speech will only get us so far, if we can’t devise coherent and sensible non-bureaucratic solutions to complex issues of national and international concern.


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