Regular readers will know I am skeptical that anthropomorphic global warming and its effects will be as bad as generally predicted. However, if I can work around this bias, I would like to cast the issue as neutrally as I can: Man-made CO2 will likely cause the world to warm some, and the negative effects of this for man are likely higher than the positive effects. Under some assumptions, these net negative effects of man-made warming could be astronomical in cost, while under other assumptions they will be less so. Against this variable outcome, efforts to substantially reduce CO2 production world wide and prevent further increases of atmospheric CO2 concentrations will carry a staggering cost, both in dollars and the inevitable social effects of locking developing countries into poverty they are just now escaping (not to mention loss of individual liberty from more government controls).
The political choice we therefore face is daunting: Do we pay an incredibly high price to abate an environmental change that may or may not be more costly than the cure? Reasonable people disagree on this, and I recognize that I may fall in the minority on which side I currently stand on (I think both warming and its abatement costs are overblown, mainly because I have a Julian-Simonesque confidence in man's adaptability and innovation).
Against this backdrop, we have Kevin Drum declaring "More good news on the global warming front:"
Seeking to shape legislation before Congress, three major energy trade
associations have shifted their stances and decided to back mandatory
federal curbs on carbon dioxide and other man-made emissions that could
accelerate climate change.
Here is my news flash: Having some Washington lobbying organizations switch which side of this incredibly difficult trade off they support is not "good news." Good news is finding out that this trade off may not be as stark as we think it is. Good news is finding some new technology that reduces emissions and which private citizens are willing to adopt without government coercion (e.g. sheets of solar cells that can be run out of factories like carpet from Dalton, Georgia). Or, good news is finding out that man's CO2 production has less of an effect on world climate than once thought. Oddly enough, this latter category of good news, surely the best possible news we could get on the topic, is seldom treated as good news by global warming activists. In fact, scientists with this message are called Holocaust deniers. I wonder why?