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Demands for climate change reparations are nothing new on an international level, but the essay at the link notes a fascinating comparison of these demands to calls for slavery reparations. Of course, given the weak evidence that climate warming is actually underway, and if so, that it is indeed man-made, and given the extremely poor track-record of models predicting global warming, the assertion of “moral equivalence of slavery and climate change” is ridiculous on its face.

Slavery and its damages are historical facts. Anthropomorphic global warming (AGW) remains speculative, let alone any presumed damages. The author amusingly notes:

It is as provocative today to express doubt in AGW as it would have been to argue with Cotton Mather about relying on spectral evidence. As Mather said, “Never use but one grain of patience with any man that shall go to impose upon me a Denial of Devils, or of Witches.”

Beyond measurement issues, the two demands for reparations share another practical weakness: the difficulty of apportioning the cost. If real, can or should such damages be generalized at the national level? Furthermore, actual payments for past damages are a political non-starter, whether for slavery reparations in the U.S. or climate reparations to the third world promulgated in Copenhagen. In both cases, there is some recognition that it is better politics to adopt forward-looking remedies. That is not to say these remedies are constitutionally legitimate or economically sound, however.