The Economics of Climate Change: Fears of Global Warming Have Spurred Calls for the Regulation of Carbon Emissions. If Such Regulations Are Put in Place, the Result Could Well Be Economic Meltdown

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Incredibly, the Nobel Peace Price for 2007 has been awarded jointly to Al Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The award was made to this unlikely pair "for their efforts to build tip and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate charade and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

The choice of Gore and the IPCC raised eyebrows among more than a few. "People are asking the obvious: How has Gore's alarmism on global warming aided world 'peace'?" queried columnist L. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center. The answer, perhaps, is that the award was given because of the increasing insistence by some, including certain retired military officers and assorted international bureaucrats, that global warming could lead to wars over scarce resources made yet more scarce by, climate change. In a 35-page report released in April by the CNA Corp., a national security think tank in Virginia, nearly a dozen retired admirals and generals warned:

   Climate change acts as a threat multiplier
   for instability in some of the
   most volatile regions of the world.
   Projected climate change will seriously
   exacerbate already marginal living
   standards in many Asian, African,
   and Middle Eastern nations, causing
   widespread political instability and
   the likelihood of failed states.

"The chaos that results" from failed warn, "can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide, and the growth of terrorism." Similar concerns have been voiced by retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, who warned: "We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today ... or we'll pay the price later in military terms." Those sentiments were echoed by bureaucrats at this summer's G8 summit in Heilingendamm. Germany, who warned in a communique: "Global warming caused largely by human activities is accelerating land it] will seriously damage our common natural environment and severely weaken [the] global economy, with implications for international security."

These concerns, though, are unfounded. Beyond the disputed science * behind the standard global-warming theory, the underlying assumption behind the Nobel Peace Prize this year--that climate change will lead to resource shortages and then to warfare, terrorism and strife--is radically off-base. While shortages often do lead to strife, war, carnage, and mayhem, it is not climate change that leads to shortages Invariably it is government intervention in and regulation of the economy that leads. first to shortages then to wars, famines, and genocides. Insofar as environmentalists and radical progressives want government to intervene in the market to control greenhouse gas emissions, it is their proposals themselves that, if enacted, will deindustrialize the developed nations and threaten the peace, stability, and prosperity of the world.

Free Markets or Famine

From the perspective of the modern industrial world, where food is abundant, varied, and fresh, where drinking water is clean, and where public health and sanitation have radically reduced disease, it is difficult to envision the world as it was prior to the industrial and agricultural revolutions. But that foul world of the past, where the vast majority of people lived under constantly repressive feudal rule, is only a history book away. Accounts of rampant famine and disease caused by thorough economic regulation can be found in almost any time period prior to the 19th century.

Jean La Bruyere-Champier served as physician to King Henri II of France in the 16th century. In addition, Champier was very interested in food, going so far as to author a very extensive and obscure encyclopedia of food and drink.

Temporarily dredging up Champier from the depths of Renaissance obscurity, in 1967 Harvard-trained economist V. Orval Watts noted that the antique Frenchman had "made a revealing comment on crows. …