You didn't really address most of the points I raised and I take objection to you calling yourself an "avid supporter of climate scientists" since the implication is that I am not. I also take issue with your description of my view as "shallow" and "selfish". I started out my argument by saying that my priority is overall human welfare, not just in the prosperous West but throughout the world. I hardly think that this qualifies as a "shallow" or a "selfish" view.
I am an avid supporter of Climate Change advocates because I have done considerable research on the subject myself. My observations of Republicans, Libertarians and other science deniers is just that...there is no depth to their thinking. They tow the tribal line without critical thinking, sometimes citing a single weather event to make their case.
But if you were really concerned about "overall human welfare" you might take a look, for example, of what happens when the glaciers feeding the Indus and Ganges rivers run dry?
I'm not a climate scientist so I defer to those who are but I make an effort to read what I can from actual scientists who work in the field. What most people understand about the science of climate change is unfortunately filtered through political agendas and the media, which distorts the reality of the academic, nuanced and cautious discussion and predictions that most scientists in the field engage in.
I am not a Climate scientist either, but I have taken the time to read and understand. Yes I agree with you that much of what you read by the media and is filtered and cherry picked. As such, I look to recognized professional websites for my information, such as NASA's. I love the scientists at NASA...they do excellent work
One of the worst offenders is James Inhofe who brought a snowball into the Senate chamber to make his point that climate change is a hoax. What a schmuck. On the other hand, Al Gore, for example, took a few liberties in citing Hurricane Katrina as a result of Climate Change. No reputable climate change scientist would use a single weather event to make a case. They study long term trends over years and decades.
Political activists who are looking to pass some piece of legislation or are rallying behind a politician in the upcoming election have every incentive to sensationalize and selectively push the most catastrophic of predictions in order to achieve a short term political victory. Every political activist does this. The same thing with the Republicans who bring up a new "terror" scare before every election. It's not surprising that the nuance of academic science gets lost in the shuffle.
I agree with you on the fact that sensationalizing and embellishing are a fact of life by both liberals and conservatives in everything political. However, it is not 50:50....more like 80:20. More crazy stuff comes from the right...these are the ones who often invoke God to make their point. such as "only God can control the weather".
If you'll re-read my opening piece, you'll notice that I never denied that human-caused global warming is not, or could not conceivably develop into a serious problem that endangers human welfare on this planet.
But here is the real truth of the matter:
The actual consensus among climate scientist regarding future negative externalities due to greenhouse gas emissions are somewhat less than what the political activists and hysterics have been claiming.
Some 97 percent of climate related scientists agree that global warming is man made. There may be some differences in extrapolating trends in to the future, but whether we are past the point of no return now or sometime in the less distant future doesn't lessen the importance of addressing and regulating the causes now. There is the odd rogue scientist probably looking for a contribution from Exxon or the Koch brothers that will compromise his or her professional ethics for a buck.
And the actual palliative effect of proposed legislation and government action is almost negligible according to most un-biased projections. The Kyoto Protocol, the various Cap and Trade proposals that have been offered and other suggested government actions that have a prayer of being passed and enacted will do little to curb the trend of CO2 emissions or lower the Earth's temperature.
This article by Robert P. Murphy, an accomplished Ph.D economist and libertarian theorist, gives a little insight into the chasm between political rhetoric and the actual science:
Murphy's article basically is the classic cost-benefit analysis that looks at the problem monetarily. It's the mindset void of empathy. Every scenario is evaluated against how much money it will cost. But how do you put a value on a life...or millions of lives. Look at Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, countries whose populations will be vastly affected as the Himalayan glaciers feeding the Ganges and Indus rivers melt, and the only flow comes from seasonal monsoons, assuming those will not be affected either.
The US military is thankfully thinking about the long term affects and world conflicts resulting from rivers running dry in some areas, sea levels rising, and other effects (drought for instance). Look at what long term drought has done to the Syrian war. I won't say that the drought is entirely caused by climate change, but it is an example of the civil unrest that happens when populations migrate or flee from an area because the land can no longer deliver essential food.
As an anarchist I firmly believe that politics poisons everything, including science. When political agendas and State-funded science mesh, a misinformed public follows.
You make the observation that corporate America is very short-sighted, but what are politicians if not short-sighted?
I don't support any form of government subsidy, special privilege or favoritism towards any business. But in an actual free market, businessmen are very far-sighted. Far more than politicians.
To give an example, suppose a logging company owned it's own forest and periodically cut down trees to sell as lumber. If they own the forest, then they have an incentive to preserve the capital value in the land. If they cut down all the trees at once, they can make a ton of profits in the short run. But they will be screwed in the long run. They won't have any lumber to sell next year.
So they very scientifically cut down certain trees as they are planting other trees so their stock of lumber is always constant and they can make more money in the long run.
Most of the poisoning of politics now is being done by Republicans. They are absolutely ruthless in that regard. Trump should not come as a surprise as Republicans have been living off of fear, anger and hate as their primary agenda for some time...actually the entire eight years of the Obama administration.
Yes kudos to those companies that manage their forests and replant. I saw lots of that in Oregon and Washington, but not so much in Montana and other areas where clear cutting of public lands has not resulted in replanting.
By contrast, what if the government gives logging companies short-term rights to cut down trees on government land? The incentive in this case is to cut down as many trees as possible in the short run and make as much profit as quickly as possible. This is the "tragedy of the commons" phenomenon that plagues all State-owned land.
Property owners are more far-seeing than those who get temporary un-restricted use of other peoples property. A business owner wants to keep his money so he can pass it down to his children.
I won't argue your point My observation is that when private logging companies (maybe not in Oregon and Washington) are given access to cut on public lands they rape and run. Not only that, the taxpayers subsidize them by building the roads into the forests.
A politician, by contrast, only looks at his or her current term in government. They want to gain as much advantage for themselves or their friends as possible in the short time they serve. Politicians don't think about the next generation. They don't even think about the next term in office if they are supplanted. And even if they win re-election, their only goal is to win re-election in another four years.
Politicians have a goal of terrorizing the public with stories of imminent doom, even some that have a basis in fact, in order to immediately pass a piece of legislation, win re-election or give some subsidies to their crony corporatist buddies.
No arguments there. But how is this relevant to Climate Change? When 97 percent of scientists are on board with man made global warming, it doesn't matter to me what politicians say. The facts speak for themselves. I certainly understand, however, that tribalism and cognitive dissonance will make otherwise good people believe otherwise. James Inhofe may be able to fool them but not me or the majority of Americans who genuinely are concerned about the planet we are leaving our grandchildren. That worry, of course, is not a concern to many of the Bible thumpers like Inhofe who believe that they will be transported up into heaven long before that happens.
"Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous." -- Senator James Inhofe
Senator Inhofe is one of those "terrorists" that you speak of.
I will cast my lot with the scientists...both in the science to date and the steps needed to be taken to mitigate the effects. I don't trust corporations like Exxon or the Koch brothers but will certainly acknowledge through your example that some companies are longer term thinkers. Government regulations are the only way to rein in these multinational global polluters. And international agreements like the Paris Accord do have some positive impact on the commitment of politicians in nation states to reduce their green house gas emissions. Maybe they could be tougher, but it's better than nothing.