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Forbes Thinks About the Environment

I have mentioned before that one of the best ways to stay current on why things happen is to read business magazines. Picking up a copy of Fortune or Forbes or Inc. will go a long way to helping you understand the ins and outs of everyday life, like why you pay what you do for bananas, or what your neighborhood might look like in 10 years.

This month's issue of Forbes magazine has two intriguing articles regarding the environment. The first is by Myron Ebell and he discusses why he loves global warming. He argument mainly consists of his belief that people enjoy milder winters. In terms of the perceived negative effects, he writes:

More people die from blizzards and cold spells than from heat waves. Increased death rates usually persist for weeks after the unusually cold temperatures have passed, which suggests that the cold is killing people who would otherwise live into another season at least. Mortality rates during heat waves are just the reverse. The increase ends and often the rate drops below normal as soon as temperatures cool, which suggests that the higher temperatures are killing people who are likely to die soon anyway.

Well, if they're going to die anyway, then let's keep burning our fossil fuels as much as we can! Maybe Darwin was right.

The second article makes much more sense, and is even questioning the effectiveness of current programs designed to offset carbon dioxide use. Ian Ayres and Gary Nalebuff make you think twice about what you're doing to offset your personal pollution. They wisely point out that 'tit for tat' mentality with waste doesn't work:

We'd be squeamish about throwing an ice-cream-sodden napkin out the car window for convenience's sake, even if we had volunteered for a park cleanup the day before. And our squeamishness isn't just because littering is a crime. Two rights don't justify an intentional wrong. A paramedic who saves three lives doesn't get a license to commit one murder.

Both of these articles are very interesting and worthwhile reads, and won't take you that long. You may have to register (for free) to get to all of the content, but it's a small hurdle for thought provoking words.

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