Stern measures against the 'liberal' West
rédaction | October 31, 2006 at 04:39 pmby
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An essay at Spiked by Daniel Ben-Ami, who argues that the mad rush to ameliorate the malign effects of climate change is in reality an attack on the market economy "informed by a neurotic small-mindedness".
More dishonest is [the British government-commissioned Stern] reportâs counterposition between an approach based on rationing and âbusiness as usualâ. It argues â correctly â that doing nothing could ultimately have enormous economic costs. But why should the alternative to rationing be doing nothing? No one is suggesting that Bangladeshis should be left to drown or that Africans should be condemned to die of drought. Nor should malaria or other diseases go unchecked.
On the contrary, rapid economic growth would be enormously beneficial to the Third World, as well as bolstering its ability to tackle climate change. Economic growth would enable Africans, Asians and Latin Americans to share the benefits of prosperity that we in the West take for granted. It would also give them the resources to reduce their vulnerability to climate change. A subsistence farmer clearly has little flexibility to react to changes in his environment. A modern city-dweller, by contrast, has access to networks and resources to protect himself from the climate. Why should anyone die of heatstroke if they live in an air-conditioned building? How can there be drought if there are the resources to build desalination plants? Why should malaria continue to be a threat with modern preventative measures and hospitals?
The governments of the West can spend billions of dollars on supporting tyrants in Africa and elsewhere, and on the United Nations, and on aid programs that have very little net positive effect: the flourishing economies of the free nations can certainly support the extensive energy development Mr Ben-Ami discusses.