Mises Wire

Home | Wire | We Need Markets to Cope with Climate Change

We Need Markets to Cope with Climate Change


The enviro-socialist “climate emergency” crowd was busy earlier this month trying to launch the human equivalent of a cattle stampede by getting people to plunge into socialism to avoid bad weather.

There were headlines such as “Greenland is on track to lose most ice on record this year and has already shed 250 billion tons.”

It turns out that this amount of water is equal to slightly more than 60 cubic miles. The total volume of water in the world’s oceans is approximately 320 million cubic miles.

If we divide the 60 cubic miles of water added by the ice melt in Greenland by the 320 million cubic miles of water already in the oceans, the result is 0.0000001875. This is the relative increase in the volume of water in the oceans.

The absolute increase is the relative increase times the pre-existing average depth of the oceans, which is approximately 12,100 feet (idem), or equivalently, in terms of inches, 145,200 inches. The results of these multiplications are .0023 feet and .027 inches. That’s 23 ten-thousandths of a foot and 27 one-thousandths of an inch.

To put these numbers in proper perspective, recall that a quarter of an inch is 250 one-thousandths of an inch. So, what the media were trying to frighten us with is a rise in the sea level of little more than a tenth of a quarter of an inch (i.e., .027/.250).

And let us not forget that much or most of the 60 cubic miles of melted ice from Greenland will refreeze come Winter.

Today’s press and other media simply cannot be trusted. They themselves are fully at home with taking advantage of the ignorance of their audiences. One of their favorite tricks is claiming that one “large” thing explains another, simply because both are “large.”

So, get ready for 250 billion tons of melting ice (wow, that’s large) to explain the Atlantic Ocean wiping out New York City and New Jersey. It never occurs to these numbskulls to check just how much water is actually involved and what difference it actually makes.

This kind of fake news has been going on for generations. It was especially prominent in the days of the Arab Oil Embargo, when the press claimed practically every day that the rise in the profits of the oil companies was responsible for the rise in the price of oil.1

Despite the utter triviality of the Greenland ice melt, according to the enviro-socialists we’d better hurry up and sacrifice Industrial civilization, because centuries more of such increases may amount to something more significant. (Of course, if it does, we’ll be helpless to deal with it because we’ll have destroyed our industrial base if we listen to these enemies of the human race.)

We can cope with global warming. What we can’t cope with is global central planning, which seeks to manipulate the world’s climate by prohibiting the self-interested actions of billions of people — of everyone but a handful of alleged government experts, such as Al Gore and AOC.

Turning our world into one in which practically the entire human race is prohibited from acting for its self-interest on the basis of everyone’s independent intelligence is a formula for mass extinction. Al Gore and AOC are not a substitute for billions of independent human minds.


George Reisman

George Reisman, Ph.D., is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics and the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996; Kindle Edition, 2012). More articles like these can be found at his blog.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
When commenting, please post a concise, civil, and informative comment. Full comment policy here
Shield icon wire