GLOBAL WARMING'S FRIENDLY FIRE

February 8, 2007

Environmental fundamentalism is making the lives of the poor even worse in Mexico after triggering a huge rise in the price of corn -- the chief component of the tortilla -- thanks to a government-induced increase in the demand for ethanol in the United States.  This constitutes poignant evidence that the drive for carbon reduction can be costly.  And not just for the poor, says Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a senior fellow with the Center on Global Prosperity.

Consider:

  • The majority of European countries, who attacked the United States savagely when it refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, will not meet their goals in terms of reducing emissions by 2012.
  • Meeting the Kyoto goals would mean sacrificing the economic well-being of many Europeans at a time when fewer and fewer people are sustaining an ever-growing number of retired citizens.

Scientists are good at making bad predictions, says the Journal:

  • In 1972, The Club of Rome famously drew attention to the fact that the known reserves of oil would last only 30 years and that economic growth was doomed because the world was running out of raw materials.
  • In the 1960s, it was fashionable to predict that, at the going trend, the total world population would soon exceed the capacity to produce food and yet, in the last half-century developing countries have seen their agricultural output rise by more than 50 percent.

Now the guilty minds of the West are telling everyone that if we sacrifice 1 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) every year, about $500 billion, we will save the planet in the next few decades.  The same body that sponsored the recent IPCC report on the environment, the United Nations, told us a few years ago that if the rich gave out $75 billion to underdeveloped countries annually, poverty would be extinct before long.

Source: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, "Global Warming's Friendly Fire," Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2007.

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