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roycarn
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Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Feb 17th, 2019 at 10:41am
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The traditional libertarian response to issues of environmental pollution is to create private property rights through the government so that any pollution that occurs happens in the interest of those who have to suffer through it. One example typically used for point-source pollution of, say, the air would be to grant a cooperative rights to permit pollution in a certain area. This approach however, doesn't work well with climate change. Climate change, like pollution, does far more harm than good economically and environmentally and it affects the entire world, albeit disproportionately in some areas, which makes collective action difficult (see the Paris climate deal). The main economic harm comes in the form of rising sea levels threatening coastal properties, ocean acidification would threaten ITQed fish stocks, and a net rise in deaths from floods, droughts, and heat waves. For some, anthropogenic climate change is a clear symbol of unpermitted aggression for the preceding reasons. So why haven't libertarians promoted climate action?

There is a general consensus that climate change will require government action to address. Just as robbery and murder require government action to deal with, I don't see why climate change should be any different. If the people who benefit from climate pay for those wort affected, this would be an ideal libertarian solution as it involves property rights over the air. Thus, there is a case for either a carbon tax or some kind of cap and trade scheme to transfer wealth from those who benefit from emissions to those who will be worse off because of CO2 emissions.

Climate action need not require government to act. Collective, volltnary action can make a huge difference when it comes to putting pressure on companies and governments to save energy, local funding from banks or credit unions to invest in green energy, increased educational awareness, and changes in consumer demand preferences.

The main sticking point is ofc government action. I believe that some of the effects of climate change merit government action through, say, either a carbon tax, cap and trade, or both. Cap and trade is preferable to a carbon tax because it allows more efficient companies to earn more than non-efficient but it doesn't cover the costs behind emissions for gas and transport.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue.
  
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kaz
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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #1 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:09am
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roycarn wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 10:41am:
Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?


Right now, no, there is no libertarian case to get involved in climate change.

1) Democrats don't believe it's real.  They oppose the two things we could do today to have a dramatic impact.  Nuclear power and fracking for natural gas

2) The United States and Europe are the targets while the gross polluters are let free to continue to grow emissions (China, Brazil, ...)

It's the Democrat and international left's economic policy to destroy capitalism and advance socialism.  As long as that's the dominant group in climate change, it's not worth doing anything about because real plans are rejected
  

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roycarn
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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #2 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:28am
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kaz wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:09am:
Right now, no, there is no libertarian case to get involved in climate change.

1) Democrats don't believe it's real.  They oppose the two things we could do today to have a dramatic impact.  Nuclear power and fracking for natural gas

2) The United States and Europe are the targets while the gross polluters are let free to continue to grow emissions (China, Brazil, ...)

It's the Democrat and international left's economic policy to destroy capitalism and advance socialism.  As long as that's the dominant group in climate change, it's not worth doing anything about because real plans are rejected


As far as I know, there is no unified fraemwork for "climate socialism" that was on agreement at Paris two years ago. You may be refering to AOC, but that is far more ambitious and far reaching proposal than most countries were willing to pledge.


Democrats are split on both nuclear power and fracking. There's nothing about being a Democrat and believing in utilizing the two.

Eventually as other countries develop, they will be forced to reduce emissions. The reason they can emit more is that the huge amount of the warming yet to be done has been done by Western Countries, not those seeking to industrialize.


You also haven't addressed the argument that it violates some property rights versus others. That is a huge factor in determining whether or not climate change can be addressed in a libertarian way.
  
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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #3 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:35am
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roycarn wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 10:41am:
So why haven't libertarians promoted climate action?

There is a general consensus that climate change will require government action to address.

Traditionally, most libertarians wince when when "government action" is called for.

We believe that the size and scope of gov't well exceeds what the founders had intended.

Government's job is to uphold and protect the blessings of liberty  -  not to impose sanctions on spray-paint manufacturers.
« Last Edit: Feb 17th, 2019 at 12:37pm by SkyChief »  

Governments will always devise ways to deprive an honest man of his money or property, and claim that it's legal.
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kaz
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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #4 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:40am
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roycarn wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:28am:
As far as I know, there is no unified fraemwork for "climate socialism" that was on agreement at Paris two years ago. You may be refering to AOC, but that is far more ambitious and far reaching proposal than most countries were willing to pledge


You need to read and process more carefully if you didn't see socialism as the objective of the Paris Treaty.  The only country that stepped up and promised to slam corporations was Obama.  Other countries either reaffirmed or even rolled back their current plans.  Even then the net effect was minuscule for any climate impact

roycarn wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:28am:
Democrats are split on both nuclear power and fracking. There's nothing about being a Democrat and believing in utilizing the two.


The party is adamantly anti-nuclear and anti-fracking.  It's not splilt.  That three people support them while the overwhelming majority of the party is against them and the party is unequivocally against them as a bases to call the party "split" on them is ludicrous

roycarn wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:28am:
Eventually as other countries develop, they will be forced to reduce emissions. The reason they can emit more is that the huge amount of the warming yet to be done has been done by Western Countries, not those seeking to industrialize


And we're also the ones who got our act together and hugely cleaned up our mess.  And seriously, so your climate goal is to equalize who is doing the emissions?  We don't need to reduce emissions, just make it fair!

You just showed in spades my point that this is political for the left, it has nothing to do with the environment.

And there is a solution.  Fracking.  Third world and emerging countries could build natural gas instead of coal plants as they are building now.  You know why the left opposes that?  Socialism.  The US is the middle east of natural gas.  That plan would make us richer.  Again proving for the left global warming is not environmental, it's political and economic


roycarn wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:28am:
You also haven't addressed the argument that it violates some property rights versus others. That is a huge factor in determining whether or not climate change can be addressed in a libertarian way.


I said we shouldn't do anything about it until the left makes climate change an environmental policy, not an economic one.  Why would I have to address property rights?  I am not proposing violating anyone's property rights.

As for the left, I oppose their plans to violate property rights in the faux cause of global warming.  They just want more government control and power over our economy.  Pass
  

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The Opposition
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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #5 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 12:23pm
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roycarn wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 10:41am:
For some, anthropogenic climate change is a clear symbol of unpermitted aggression for the preceding reasons. So why haven't libertarians promoted climate action?

There is a general consensus that climate change will require government action to address. Just as robbery and murder require government action to deal with, I don't see why climate change should be any different. If the people who benefit from climate pay for those wort affected, this would be an ideal libertarian solution as it involves property rights over the air.


It's not exactly like murder because people can't agree that it's even happening.

When you take damages from someone to make reparation to someone else, you do have to prove those damages occurred.

The temperature of the Earth has, according to best estimates, risen a degree or so, maybe as many as four, solely due to anthropogenic global warming. So far there's no case for damages to anyone. We don't even know what kind of equilibrium we've got here - stable (self-correcting) or unstable (fragile). We don't know whether there is a tipping point, or if so, where it is.

To take damages, these things must be known.

Since they're not known, we can't.

Yes, this means there's a possibility of catastrophe, but you have to realise that in libertarianism, you just have to let people do stuff until you can prove it's hurting someone. The alternative is that nobody can do anything unless they can prove it's not going to hurt someone, and that's the far worse alternative.
  

This moral relativism of yours is exactly what lets government take this freedom, then that freedom, until we have lost them all.
-SnarkySack
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Jeff
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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #6 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 12:41pm
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roycarn wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 10:41am:
The traditional libertarian response to issues of environmental pollution is to create private property rights through the government so that any pollution that occurs happens in the interest of those who have to suffer through it.
Property rights aren't "created" by governments. They should be protected by governments.

Protecting property rights includes protecting against people who pollute your property, and the best way to do this is to treat pollution of your property as a tort.

The usual "What about the commons?" complaint is best dealt with by not having "commons".

Only governments have a supposed "right" to protect "commons", purportedly in the interest of "the common good", but they do a lousy job of it.
  

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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #7 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 12:48pm
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The Opposition wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 12:23pm:
It's not exactly like murder because people can't agree that it's even happening.

The earth's climate is definitely changing, just like it always has.

The disagreements are over whether the change is our fault or whether it will change no matter what we do, and over whether human driven changes will be good or bad. I think human driven climate changes will simply be overwhelmed by natural occurrences.

That said, I'd like to be able to sue the Chinese and/or Indians if I lived downwind or downstream of them... And I bet the Russians aren't any better, they just have a smaller economy so they have fewer polluters.
  

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roycarn
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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #8 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 5:35pm
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The Opposition wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 12:23pm:
It's not exactly like murder because people can't agree that it's even happening.

When you take damages from someone to make reparation to someone else, you do have to prove those damages occurred.

The temperature of the Earth has, according to best estimates, risen a degree or so, maybe as many as four, solely due to anthropogenic global warming. So far there's no case for damages to anyone. We don't even know what kind of equilibrium we've got here - stable (self-correcting) or unstable (fragile). We don't know whether there is a tipping point, or if so, where it is.

To take damages, these things must be known.

Since they're not known, we can't.

Yes, this means there's a possibility of catastrophe, but you have to realise that in libertarianism, you just have to let people do stuff until you can prove it's hurting someone. The alternative is that nobody can do anything unless they can prove it's not going to hurt someone, and that's the far worse alternative.


We know that climate change throuhg CO2 will cause damage, but the problem is once you start hurting someone, it becomes impossible to stop (after a certain point that is and we may or may not have crossed it). Imagine a factory polluting a river and once it reaches the nearest town the polluter finds that it is physically impossible to shut down the stream of pollutants and new well beforehand that such a situation would occur. Would government action be justified in preventing the pollution before it reached the town?
  
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roycarn
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Re: Is there a Libertarian case for Climate Action?
Reply #9 - Feb 17th, 2019 at 6:03pm
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kaz wrote on Feb 17th, 2019 at 11:40am:
You need to read and process more carefully if you didn't see socialism as the objective of the Paris Treaty.  The only country that stepped up and promised to slam corporations was Obama.  Other countries either reaffirmed or even rolled back their current plans.  Even then the net effect was minuscule for any climate impact


The party is adamantly anti-nuclear and anti-fracking.  It's not splilt.  That three people support them while the overwhelming majority of the party is against them and the party is unequivocally against them as a bases to call the party "split" on them is ludicrous


And we're also the ones who got our act together and hugely cleaned up our mess.  And seriously, so your climate goal is to equalize who is doing the emissions?  We don't need to reduce emissions, just make it fair!

You just showed in spades my point that this is political for the left, it has nothing to do with the environment.

And there is a solution.  Fracking.  Third world and emerging countries could build natural gas instead of coal plants as they are building now.  You know why the left opposes that?  Socialism.  The US is the middle east of natural gas.  That plan would make us richer.  Again proving for the left global warming is not environmental, it's political and economic



I said we shouldn't do anything about it until the left makes climate change an environmental policy, not an economic one.  Why would I have to address property rights?  I am not proposing violating anyone's property rights.

As for the left, I oppose their plans to violate property rights in the faux cause of global warming.  They just want more government control and power over our economy.  Pass



So where does it say in the Democrats' platform that they oppose nuclear and fracking? Maybe the Green party hold that view, but I doubt many Democrats do.

How exactly did we supposedly "clean up our mess" while other, non-western countries haven't? LAst I checked coal is still the number 1 source of electricity in the us.

As such, I don't see why you think that the left is just using climate change to advance their own (nefarious?) agenda which only consists of more government intervention in the economy.
  
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