Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.



October 2012

From the Laughably Absurd Cost Estimates File

Written by , Posted in Energy and the Environment

Mother Jones is pushing this rather ridiculous claim:

A global effort to prevent all future species extinctions would cost about $80 billion a year, or $11.42 annually from every person on the planet, according to a study published last week in Science.

The study, released in conjunction with the 11th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) currently underway in Hyderabad, India, is intended to support goals and commitments to halting extinctions and preserving nature by the year 2020 that the world’s governments have agreed to under the convention.

I don’t need to see their methodology to know that this is absurd. It simply doesn’t pass the laugh test. If such a global program were to be established, I guarantee the costs would balloon and far surpass the $80 billion estimate. They always do.

But even if it could be done for a reasonable price, why in the world would we want to? What hubris it is to presume that we should take a snapshot of nature just as it exists today and keep it that way for all time!

Species have come and gone for as long as life has existed on this planet. What drives us to turn this dynamic process into a static one, and why do people believe that would be an improvement?

It reminds me of the folks who bemoan job losses to technological change that increases productivity, such as the President’s blaming of ATMs, as if a static economy is in any way desirable to a dynamic one.