“A serious rebuttal to my review would require Adler et al. to get into climate science rather than assuming CO2 as a ‘pollutant’. It would also require a much deeper look into climate economics….”
Previous posts this week have presented the case by Jonathan Adler (et al.) against climate policy activism based on the precautionary principle (here) and Alder’s turn in academia toward activism (here). Today’s post answers some very brief arguments made by Adler in response to my critical review of his new book, Climate Liberalism: Perspectives on Liberty, Property, and Pollution.
Adler’s criticisms involve either erroneous statements or non-sequiturs.
“Robert L. Bradley, Jr. of the Institute for Energy Research offers less favorable commentary on the book at Law & Liberty (which previously ran a favorable review).”
Comment: My review was not “less favorable” but negative. It offered sharp criticisms. Adler’s (mis)statement is less about politeness than it is about demoting my (necessarily brief) rebuttal as less important. The “favorable review” by Judge Glock joined Adler in ducking science and ignoring a long tradition of classical liberal scholarship on all-things-climate.
“Bradley notes that climate science is uncertain, that warming can produce costs as well as benefits, and that government intervention to address climate change may be costly, clumsy, and a threat of its own.”
Comment: ‘Yes’ to the first and second points, but what is his point? It is a non sequitur as stands.
And ‘No’ to the third point: replace “may be” with an emphatic … “government intervention has been, is, and will be ‘costly, clumsy, and a threat of its own’.” So much so that there is no classical liberal case for global climate governance. (If “classical liberalism” can take the affirmative in a debate over worldwide energy statism, then the term has been emptied of meaning.)
“These are all points noted in the book, but Bradley breezes by that. Indeed, he never really engages with any of the actual arguments made by various chapters.”
Comment: What a dodge! No “breeze by” at all if you read the book and my (necessarily limited) review. It is Adler and most of the authors (excepting several who focused on adaptation) who “breeze by” the key issues. The book as a whole assumes rather than debates and thus fails to get past surface argumentation for government intervention/judicial activism.
“Time permitting, I will respond in more detail.”
Comment: I understand that Jonathan has a lot of other responsibilities and issues on this plate (his drive-by knowledge of the multi-disciplinary climate issue evidenced by his edited volume reflects this). A serious rebuttal to my review would require Adler et al. to get into climate science rather than assuming CO2 as a ‘pollutant’. It would also require a much deeper look into climate economics: the problem of distant, uncertain benefits vs. present costs, as well as the passage of time that makes mitigation less effective and adaptation more imbedded.
His case for judicial activism with tort law, finally, is very undeveloped on the specifics and the problems therein, which will be apparent with a final post tomorrow on a 2004 exchange between Adler and critics of his case to invocate climate litigation (judicial activism) into the debate.