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2006/11/05 - Gabriel Calzada - Libertad Digital

ZP on Terrorism and Climate Change

ZP outdid himself at the XVI Ibero-American Summit. He said what, at first glance, only an idiot would express. In truth, it revealed his complete lack of ethical principles. Rodríguez claimed that "climate change has caused more deaths than international terrorism."
Even assuming human activity is responsible for climate change and that change is causing more deaths than normal, the comparison is totally obscene. A decent man’s reaction would be:  “and?”

While any supposed increase in deaths due to climate change are unintentional and more like traffic accidents, terrorists consciously murder their victims to achieve some political goal; in ETA's case, the blood spilled to date is aimed at establishing a socialist state in the Basque Country. Only a perverse mind capable of ignoring the gigantic difference between deciding to murder someone and an unfortunate accident could compare one with the other.  For years, ETA and its sympathizers have compared their assassinations with the number of traffic deaths to argue that what they’re doing isn’t all that bad.

The statement is even more repugnant if we remember scientists are still uncertain how much human activity, through Co2 emissions, might be contributing to climate change in comparison to other factors like water vapour or solar activity. There is, however, a scientific consensus on the fact that, even if we froze carbon dioxide emissions as the Kyoto Protocol intended, warming would decrease barely 0.07 degrees centigrade.

But how can Rodríguez blame climate change for the deaths of so many people if the climate is always changing? I suspect global warming from the last glacial period to today has saved millions of lives. If he was only referring to warming over the past one hundred years, during which time the planet warmed about 0.6 degrees centigrade, this might have been bad for some people, but, without question, it was good for many others. Let’s not forget, according to the United Nations’ models, warming tends to occur in the coldest regions of the planet. Who decides what is more valuable?  The bad or the good caused by current climate change? Or are we going to stop thinking warming, whatever its causes, has positive effects on human beings? Behind ZP’s words hides the dangerous idea that there is an optimum climate that we should be constantly pursuing.

ZP failed to mention the one area where climate change is actually quite similar to terrorism: politicians reaction to these two distinct phenomena. They use both terrorism and the constant change in climate as excuses to concentrate more political power in the hands of the State. Governments use every catastrophic environmental message and every terrorist alarm to restrict individuals' economic and civil liberties. If we don’t say “enough is enough” in time, one day we will find ourselves living in a society where Big Brother watches our every movement "with the goal of protecting us” and a central planning committee orders how to produce and how to resolve the environmental problems we run up against.


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