Megan McArdle – Why We Should Act to Stop Global Warming—and Why We Won’t:
As much as I disagree with Heartland on global warming, they may influence a bare handful of people. What really influences people is contemplating their own lives with doubled or tripled electric bills and $8 a gallon gas. To paraphrase Chesterton, serious belief in global warming–the kind that makes you stop climbing aboard $@#! planes to climate change conferences in scenic and distant locales–has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.
Someone outlined all of the things that would have to be true for it to make sense for the world to make the monumental, tumultuous decision to up-end its economy to reverse the direction of greenhouse gas concentrations:
- The Earth would have to be warming. It definitely has been, though it’s slowed down to insignificant levels over the last dozen or so years.
- The warming would have to be caused primarily by greenhouse gases.
- The net effect of warming would have to be negative. (Warmists tend to gloss over this point. There are both positive and negative effects of a warmer planet. You can’t simply be a Victorian and assume that we’re living in the best of all worlds temperature-wise.)
- You have to ask whether it would be cheaper to fight the effects of greenhouse gases, or to ameliorate the effects of global warming. For example, by taking steps to counter rising oceans.
- You then have to ask if in a world of limited resources it would be better to spend money on fighting effects of global warming or fighting hunger, malaria, or other ills.
That’s an awful lot of uncertainty to impoverish your future over. And who knows if a new carbon-free energy technology could come along and make it all obsolete.