Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The $10,000 question

Link to grist story here.

This story highlights the AEI/AR4 saga, which I've blogged about extensively (e.g., here). The most important message is at the end:
Those who favor action on climate change can learn something from this episode as well, and not just the wisdom of bringing heightened skepticism to favorably biased news stories. Too many activists and commentators are fighting the last war, pounding away on any sign of doubt about basic climate science, even where no such doubt exists. The debate over the existence of anthropogenic climate change, despite some noisy rear-guard skirmishes, is largely over.

The policy debate is going to be more messy and politicized than the science debate ever was -- after all, science will not be there to settle it. It will turn on risk assessment and the untidy art of balancing competing interests. Many conservatives who have abandoned their contrarianism on the science will likely now turn to carving out a policy position that downplays the risks of climate change, exaggerates the costs of addressing it, and above all discourages any response that relies too heavily on government regulation or investment.

Those who favor immediate, substantial action to address climate change would do well to prepare for that debate. Bashing climate denialists still makes good copy, but it is increasingly beside the point.

1 comment:

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