Climate science is hotly debated in the press. One side claims there is a solid and unimpeachable consensus on Global Warming (now being relabeled to Climate Change) and the other side points out that dissent is censored. But what if every claim of the Global Warming alarmists were correct? Would that mean that the scientists’ suggestions for government policy should be enacted?
The answer is a definitely no, while scientists may be experts in their particular field, they are not experts in Economics. Scientists are not trained in cost benefit analyses. They are not trained to know if it would be more efficient to subsidize recycling or to ban throwing away recyclables (or to do both or to do neither).
They are not trained in Economic costs (that is “what you give up to get something”). They are not trained to look at the resources (time, money, and administrative costs) spent installing carbon filters and figuring out if it is less costly than switching to alternative fuel sources.
They are not experts in understanding effective government policy. When the Affordable Care Act was passed, insurance costs began to skyrocket.
They are not experts in finding unintended consequences. Animal advocates want to ban hunting certain animals. Where hunting of rare animals is banned, often the species dies out.
They often do not understand real value. Are we saving the Earth to save the Earth, or are we saving the Earth to make human life better? What if we could do so by not trying to stop global warming?
Economics should be left to the economists.
Human civilization requires many ingredients to exist. Single-mindedly protecting one at the expense of all others is not the path to paradise, well-being, or even survival. And that’s why economists’ focus on trade-offs is so much wiser than environmentalists’ nightmares about their favorite ingredient going kaputt.-Bryan Caplan
It would be silly to forfeit potential consumption today, in the form of tighter emissions cutbacks, if our descendants would perceive a greater benefit from our channeling those savings into more traditional invest ments that would make them wealthier. – Robert Murphy