How many of you have seen the South Park Episode on Global warming? If not you should. That aside there is an interesting tid-bit in that episode where the populace of the town panic and stampede because "...global warming is coming..." So ... what does this have to do with Econ?
Let's examine some of the policy that is coming our way:
Laws to restrict the kind of transportation we can use/own based on fuel efficiency.
Laws providing tax breaks for people owning Hybrid cars.
Laws mandating that Hybrids become the major product for car manufacturers.
Well who is purporting these policies? Aside from the Environmental special interest groups, many scientists also think that people and our production of "greenhouse gasses" are the cause of the global warming trend. But wait, to quote Shakespeare: "OH SPITE, OH HELL!" Consesnsus in the scientific community on global warming, something so many people think to be scientific canon, apparently is not.
Russian Astronomer Disagrees with the Mainstream
So a Russian Astronomer has broken ranks and is stating that the Sun (you know, that big ball of FUSION that we see come up every day) is the true reason behind the warming trend. Well this is interesting. Now please understand that I am not saying whether this Russian, Habibullo Abdussamatov by name, is right or not. He simply states that if mankind has had an influence on the global temperature, it pales in comparison to the effect that the sun has on our climate.
So what does all this mean to the fields of Economics and Policy Analysis?
Well, here's my take on this whole mess:
Given that there is uncertainty in the scientific community, alot more than you would believe, over this whole issue as to who or what is responsible for this warming trend that we see, how on earth can we dictate effective policy to try and "deal" with this issue? Now I don't mean to turn this into a philosophical "We can't ever know anything so why do anything?" kind of argument. All I think is that there are scientific "studies" on both sides that are slanted to show "evidence" that either side A or side B are correct. We should ultimately reserve judgement until we know what is truly going on.
Now if I may rant a bit. Activists want government to restrict my rights to own a brawny V8 in the future because, God forbid, it will create greenhouse gasses. As one of my car tuner friends said, "Yeah right, they'll have to catch me first to take my car from me. They may get me in the end but I'll give them one helluva chase."
"The government which governs least, governs best."
"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."
- F.A. Hayek