The creative market process -- if unburdened by state subsidies and regulations -- would discover alternative fuels that bureaucrats can't even dream of. Today, an energy maverick is likely to be punished by the government, as Bob Teixeira learned when he had the audacity to run his Mercedes on soybean oil. If climate danger is real, the profit motive will drive entrepreneurs to find technologies to reduce CO2.
Markets outshine governments in innovation and flexibility. Those virtues would come into play if global warming does become a problem. "For example, the financial industry, by creating new securities and derivative markets, could crystallize the 'dispersed knowledge' that many different experts held in order to coordinate and mobilize mankind's total response to global warming," writes Callahan. "Weather futures can serve to spread the risk of bad weather beyond the local area affected. Perhaps there could arise a market betting on the areas most likely to be permanently flooded. That may seem ghoulish, but by betting on their own area, inhabitants could offset the cost of relocating should the flooding occur."
A less-regulated insurance industry would have a strong profit motive to anticipate problems from any warming and set prices for property coverage appropriately. Insurance companies would rely on the best scientific information because, unlike government, if they make a mistake, they face bankruptcy.
The most important thing we can do is not to impede production of wealth. As the late Aaron Wildavsky said in his wonderful book "Searching for Safety," "Wealthier is healthier." A rich society is resilient and able to respond to unforeseen threats.
People in the developing world desperately need prosperity. Blocking their development on the flimsy promise of climate "fixes" will only make hard lives harder. Their primitive environments are killing them.
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