Climate Change

The Climate Debate Should Focus on How to Address the Threat of Climate Change, Not Whether Such a Threat Exists

Even non-apocalyptic assessments of existing climate science counsel in favor of taking climate change seriously

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Like Ronald Bailey, I used to be skeptical that climate change posed a serious environmental threat and questioned the wisdom of policy responses. Climate change featured prominently in Bailey's Eco-Scam, and I edited a book and helped develop a policy program aimed at forestalling U.S. adoption of limits on greenhouse gases. And like Bailey, I no longer hold to that view, and I'm now willing to consider policy interventions I would once have rejected out of hand. (The Niskanen Center's Jerry Taylor has had a similar change of heart.)

As Bailey explains in his most recent Reason piece, the scientific evidence that climate change poses a serious problem continues to accumulate, as does the volume of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While there is still substantial uncertainty as to the precise consequences of increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, there is more reason to fear harmful effects, and seriously adverse scenarios cannot be ruled out. Like it or not, the science has continued to converge in support of the theory that human activity is contributing to a warming of the atmosphere.

Residual uncertainty about the precise timing and magnitude of future climate change is no justification for failing to act. To the contrary, we take action all the time to address uncertain or improbable threats. We invest in national defense not because we know of particular military threats that will manifest themselves at any given time, but to protect against such threats if they should materialize.

Similarly, we don't buy insurance or install smoke detectors in our homes because we know when disaster will strike. We take such measures because the chance and cost of a calamity are great enough to justify prudent steps to reduce the likelihood and magnitude that such risks will come to pass. Climate change is no different. The potential negative consequences of climate change are large enough and probable enough to justify significant action.

As with national defense, libertarians should remain vigilant as to the threat of government overreach, but this is not an argument to do nothing. The best national defense policy entails taking prudent steps to provide security, while eschewing government interventions that are themselves a particularly serious threat to individual liberty. Striking the right balance can be difficult, but it is what serious policy requires.

There is something comforting in the conceit that any particularly thorny policy problem is a mirage and not something to be take seriously. Alas, that is not the world we inhabit. Climate change is, in many respects, the product of modern industrial civilization, and addressing the threat of climate change is an awesome challenge—but it is a challenge that must be met.

Taking climate change seriously does not require embracing centralized government control of the energy economy or a "Green New Deal." It is fair to argue that neither the Paris Agreement nor the Clean Power Plan represented a serious approach to climate policy. But you can't beat something with nothing, and if those who believe in limited government wish to forestall excessive government interventions in the name of environmental protection, it's long past time they articulate and defend an alternative set of policies that can keep us both free and green.

NEXT: Brickbats: December 2019

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  1. “But you can’t beat something with nothing, and if those who believe in limited government wish to forestall excessive government interventions in the name of environmental protection, it’s long past time they articulate and defend an alternative set of policies that can keep us both free and green.”

    This is the “science is settled” argument. Adler tells those that believe in limited government had better find a way to refute the argument or submit to excessive government.
    Please make the case in court. Some have been waiting for 7 years.

    1. He said the exact opposite. Your lack of integrity is … shameful.

      And if those who believe in limited government wish to forestall excessive government interventions in the name of environmental protection, it’s long past time they articulate and defend an alternative set of policies that can keep us both free and green.

      Ahh, but the Authoritarian Right sneers at that … or lies about it, like Jst1

      Like their fellow despots on the left, they REJECT a major foundation of individual liberty, consent of the governed and will of the people.

      They scream, “TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY,” while promoting Tyranny of a Minority (themselves)

      “I don’t need no steenkeeng solutions” = “FUCK winning elections and governing. DO AS I SAY.”

      The self-righteous militants.

    2. Please make the case in court.

      In court?

      Why in court? This isn’t a contract dispute. It’s a scientific one, to the extent it’s a dispute at all. Lawyers and judges are not the ones to settle it.

      1. I dunno. The beach across the street from my place is gone. Now the water crashes against rocks. No more swimming. Seems like a classic nuisance case, wrongfully interfering with the use and enjoyment of my property and diminishing its value. One can’t get more conservative than defending property rights from wrongful invasions. Worked on Big Tobacco, maybe fossil fuel industry can be made subject to the wisdom of the common law as well.

        1. My guess, the “beach” did not exist until man put it there. Changing coast lines are a terrible debate choice. Few things in nature change as quickly and dramatically as coast lines.

          1. Fires happen naturally too. We even have folks who are full time firefighters. But if someone’s activity causes the fire, you still get to sue them.

      2. Mann sued in court for libel, failed to produce any documentation to support his ridiculous climate alarmist claims, and the case was dismissed.

        Surely if he had credible evidence that would both prove the libel, and provide a legal precedent on AGW, he would have presented it?

    3. Oh for heaven’s sake, *of course* the climate is “changing”; the climate always *has been* changing, at least since the end of the Ice Age, which is why the last Ice Age ended. If our current warming cycle has been hastened by human activity, then the foremost of that activity has been *cutting down the forests* for the last 5000 years. If, as so many “climatologists” claim, the current warming cycle is being exacerbated by increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, then the solution is simple: PLANT MORE TREES!!! Reforest the Earth! We need to reforest the planet anyway. Replacing that half of Earth’s forests that have been cut down in the last 5000 years would get rid of that excess CO2 much more cheaply than any of these proposed “cap and trade” plans. The best thing that any government could do would be to re-establish the Civilian Conservation Corps — this time with a lot less waste and bureaucracy — and hire all the unemployed to go out and PLANT TREES! Plant fruit trees, nut trees, hardwoods and medicinal trees. Plant them everywhere: alongside roads and highways, in front yards, back yards, along the borders of farms and commercial buildings. And persuade all the other govts. of the world to go and do likewise. Forget all the politicking and law-suing and blaming who-said-what: GO PLANT TREES!

      1. There are more trees in North America today than 200 years ago. Man has been doing a great job at sustainable lumber production

        1. Iowantwo wrote: “There are more trees in North America today than 200 years ago.”

          Not the point, now, is it? (Though I’m pleased at how well we’ve managed our forests.)

      2. The problem is not Global warming/Climate change due to CO2 nonsense, the problem is & always has been pollution & natural habitat loss…That is what needs to be addressed!

        1. Teddy Pump wrote: “CO2 nonsense”

          Another country heard from.

    4. First off…. No, Addie, no. Please listen to William Halper and Richard Lindzen and consider their arguments before you embarrass yourself any further. You sound like a true moron.

      I’m trying to discern whether this Adler dipshit thinks that anyone believes he’s anything but a flaming Leftist? I actually think that HE thinks he’s not. He reminds me of other intelligent friends I have who live in the Wokest places in America (San Fran, Brooklyn, DC). He knows better than to believe this horseshit, but is too weak to be willing to be outcast. And if you reject the Progressive Dogma, you WILL be outcast in those places.

      Better to just sacrifice your mind and join the hive, right Addie?

      1. “I’m trying to discern whether this Adler dipshit thinks that anyone believes he’s anything but a flaming Leftist?”

        Wow, that is a tough one. Aside from ten years at CEI, all his pieces for Cato and NRO, winning the Federalist Society’s annual Bator Award, authoring one of the principle litigation arguments against Obamacare, how could this Adler dipshit think anyone believes he’s anything but a flaming leftist? It’s definitely him, not you, who sounds like “a true moron.” Right?

        1. Good response. Here’s where you might be tempted to recite the entire corpus of evidence, which would take a while a frankly make little headway. Because StoptheProp has “alternative” facts, as it were.

          1. Well, he has cracked the code of the hive.

  2. “But you can’t beat something with nothing”

    Sure you can; at least when discussing governmental interventions. Eliminating regulations and restrictions can often do more to solve problems than further intervention. Those concerned about high home prices in various cities would be better served by eliminating zoning, density restrictions, and other barriers to new construction than they would by rent control, for instance.

    Did you read the full Bailey piece that you linked to? Toward the end he argues that, even given worst-case projections for future warming, human beings will be only somewhat less wealthy than would be without such warming. I’ll take the market making us rich and thus more able to deal with climate change than any governmental intervention based on speculative future changes.

    Nothing does beat something.

    1. human beings will be only somewhat less wealthy than would be without such warming

      How about human beings in Bangladesh?

      This is absolutely the classic example of where aggregate reasoning, using one group’s lives as means to another group’s ends, is clearly immoral. I can totally imagine scenarios where rich populations will only lose a little, or even not lose at all, as a result of global warming. I can also imagine scenarios where there is no decline in aggregate GDP/GNP.

      But I can’t imagine scenarios where lots of poor people living in flood-prone areas will not die, lose their homes, or be forced to migrate. And that’s rather more important than aggregations.

      1. Given how poor Bangladeshis are, they have far more to gain through wealth increases partially driven through fossil fuel use than westerners do.

        1. Not if they are dead because their country is flooded.

          1. In this story told by the warmeners, Bangladeshis just stand still as the water rises, millimeter by millimeter each year until it covers their heads and they drown.

            A non-zealot would expect Bangladeshi people to act like anyone else and step back from the water, raise a barrier, build a platform, or any other of a hundred other types of adaptations. Many lands throughout the world are below high-tide sea level. People thrive there. Bangladeshis are no less able than other people.

            Which of these makes sense? Why keep demanding we believe stories that don’t make sense?

          2. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of how this works. Global sea level rise is in centimeters per decade. Not feet per year. You can keep up with it by repaving a roadway every ten years.

            1. Haha, wow. Just centimeters – nothing to worry about!

              1. Because there are only two choices: “nothing to worry about” and “they are dead because their country is flooded”?

                Are you really endorsing those as the only possible futures? If not, why the phony posturing? Isn’t this supposed to be serious?

                You don’t sound like you’re taking it seriously. Maybe the rest of us shouldn’t either.

                1. Some Bangladeshis, and other poor populations living in lowlands, will die as a result of sea level rise.

                  And you don’t want to save them. Because your ideology apparently permits killing people to own the libs.

                  1. More would die from totalitarianism and zealotry, but you don’t want to save them …

                    See? I can make baseless predictions of the future and accuse you of being a future murderer for not believing my prophesy too.

                    Making up dumb stories about the future is so easy. Anyone can do it!

                    Deciding to believe stories you just made up? That’s something I grew out of. There’s still hope you will also one day learn you don’t know the future.

                  2. “will die as a result of sea level rise.”

                    Its not a flood, its a gradual rise of a few feet over decades [assuming it even happens].

                    They can’t walk away? Build houses on platforms?

                    The country gets flooded every year. You somehow believe they will die in large numbers over a few inches each year.

                    Its alarmist prattle.

                    1. Bob, you are just proud of your ignorance, aren’t you?

                      It isn’t like the tide is just a few inches higher and you just raise your levees a bit. Sea level rise means MORE FLOODS. STRONGER HURRICANES. MORE CATASTROPHIC EVENTS.

                      I mean, you really should fucking learn something about science before embarassing yourself and acting like a complete idiot here.

                    2. It brings the bogeyman Bob.

                    3. “MORE FLOODS. STRONGER HURRICANES. MORE CATASTROPHIC EVENTS. ”

                      No, no alarmist prattle here. Just calm reasoned discourse.

                    4. Bob, I capitalized it because of what an idiot you are, not because I am being alarmist. (And of course, because you are an idiot, you misinterpreted it as alarmism.)

                      The science that says that sea level rise produces catastrophes for low-lying areas is well established.

                  3. Sigh,

                    “Some Bangladeshis, and other poor populations living in lowlands, will die as a result of sea level rise.”

                    It’s this type of irrational, non-scientific fear mongering that leads rational people to completely write off your arguments.

                    This may surprise you, but the Netherlands has massive amounts of land that is under sea level. AND they reclaimed much of that land with technology that is decades, if not centuries old. Furthermore, Bengladesh is learning from the Dutch. They’ve reclaimed over 1000 square kilometers from the ocean through engineering. And they have plans to reclaim over 10,000 more square kilometers. Technology and engineering can allow even “poor” countries like Bengladesh to survive, prosper, and reclaim…not lose…land. Certainly not “die as a result of sea level change”

                    1. The Netherlands have spent many billions of dollars to mitigate climate change.

                      Now, of course, if you think we should create foreign aid programs to allow the Bangladeshis the same opportunity to mitigate climate change that the Dutch had, I would be all in favor. Somehow, I doubt you do though.

                    2. No, the Netherlands spent all that money to mostly to claim land from the sea because they couldn’t expand inland. To a lesser degree, they spent money to mitigate land subsidence. The amount of actual sea level rise since the Iron Age (when the Dutch first started building dikes) is trivial compared to to the things they’ve done to claim new land and deal with land subsidence.

                      By the way, even the IPCC disagrees with your claim that this is leading to more or stronger storms. Tropical storms are powered by heat differences – primarily the differences between tropical and polar temperatures. The climate models predict increasing polar temperatures – in other words, less temperature differential. That means that if the climate models are correct, global warming should generate lower total cyclonic energy, not greater.

                    3. Dilan,

                      As Rossami quite adroitly points out, the Dutch didn’t spend that money to “mitigate climate change”. They did it to create new land. And they were doing it decades to centuries ago. All the way back to 1612.

                      And as I pointed out, Bengladesh is doing the same today.

                2. Ben of Houston’s ignorant ‘just repave a few roadways’ is ridiculous without having to exclude any middles.

              2. Yup. A centimeter here. A centimeter there. After a while it starts to add up to real meters.

                (with apologies to Everett Dirksen)

            2. That’s correct, about 18cm/decade, as it has been rising since the last glaciation, with no acceleration, and none reasonably attributable to man.

              1. ThePublius wrote: “with no acceleration, and none reasonably attributable to man.”

                Sorry, but you’re wrong. It’s been accelerating. The rate has roughly doubled, since the early 1990’s. For a quick summary, there’s a nice Wikipedia article on “Sea Level Rise,” with links to sources. Still, the amount of predicted sea level rise is a difficult matter.

                1. Pox The doubling of the sea level rate of rise is one of the common misrepresentations of climate science.

                  Most, if not all of the doubling from 1.5mm ish to 3.5mm ish per year is due to the change in the method of measurement from tide gauges to satellite. You should have noticed with the introduction of satelite, the tide gauges continued to show 1.5mm ish rise per year while the satelite showed 3.2-3.3mm per year. subsequently the satelite measurements were downward adjusted to match the tide gauges ( kinda a cute stunt- Yet done with scientific integrity – yea right).

                  The satelites measurements and the tide gauges are both measuring different things. In summary, the tide gauges showing 3.5mm per year are not measuring the same thing as the tide gauges which continue to measure a rise of 1.5mm ish per year/ Neither measurements are comparable, yet the alarmist like to cite the two unrelated measurements as proof of accelerated sea level rise

                  1. Sorry typo -“The satelites measurements and the tide gauges are both measuring different things. In summary, the satelite measurements showing 3.5mm per year are not measuring the same thing as the tide gauges which continue to measure a rise of 1.5mm ish per year/ Neither measurements are comparable, yet the alarmist like to cite the two unrelated measurements as proof of accelerated sea level rise

          3. What about the poor people who lived in the valley where the Black Sea is currently several hundred feet deep, or the poor Celts that lived where the English channel is now. Or even the poor Dutch that are living 14 feet below sea level now. Why is the Alexandra library 20 feet underwater now?

            All of is due to natural sea level rise and subsidence that has nothing to do with global warming.

            The truth is the current rate of sea level rise is about the lowest it’s been in anytime in the last 10000 years except for the relatively brief little ice age.

            You are looking for poster children victims of global warming, yet fossil fuel use has reduced global the poverty rate to 10% from >80% since the petroleum age got cranking around 1900.

            If you want to help Bangladesh we should be building them new coal fired electrical generators to lift them out of their relative poverty, or if you want to go carbon neutral go with Thorium reactors.

            1. There are also abandoned cities that used to be sea ports but are inland now.

              The climate change fanatics think the earth has been static except for now.

              1. I assure you, we don’t.

                Species were also killed by asteroid hits. That doesn’t mean we should do nothing if we see an asteroid coming our way.

              2. I can’t believe I have to link to this classic xkcd comic again…

                https://xkcd.com/1732/

                1. Yeah, that graph substantially reduced my respect for Randal, who’s generally a pretty cool guy. Did the Earth appear 22K years ago?

                  No, it did not.

                  He nicely avoids including any glacial periods, which is a neat trick when we’re in an ice age and just fortunately enjoying a longer than average inter-glacial period.

                  Further, he’s smoothing out variations on the scale of multiple degrees, everywhere except the last century.

                  Here’s a somewhat longer view. (Note, still using a non-linear time scale which tends to make recent changes look bigger by erasing fine detail.)

                  Just sticking to the Pleistocene, you can see the Earth is regularly warmer than current temperatures, but only for short periods of time before crashing back into being covered in ice.

                  That’s the REAL threat, according to the temperature record: Not getting too warm, but getting too cold. Life on Earth does very well when it’s warm, when it’s cold things suck big time.

            2. Kazinski wrote: “Fossil fuel use has reduced global the poverty rate to 10% from >80% since the petroleum age got cranking around 1900.”

              While your dismissal of the warming evidence is troubling, this at least is correct. Ready access to fuels, along with a capitalist economy (!), has dramatically reduced world poverty, hunger, etc. And that points toward the heart of the problem.

          4. Yes, if the waters slowly rise the stupid minority Bangladeshi socialists will just stand there and drown. Just like the Dutch did.
            The actual rate of ocean rise is unchanged for the last 2000 years, so your alarmism is misplaced.

      2. Oh yes, bring up the third world countries that the alarmists would keep in poverty without decent energy supplies because the very word “n*cl**r” is violence personified.

        The alarmists are pig-ignorant. They are the same people of science who claim GMOs are dangerous and trashed Golden Rice. They can piss off and die, and they ought to, since that is their prescription for the ills of the world.

          1. Good, but your fellow alarmists do not, revealing that they are watermelons rather than being genuinely concerned about climate change.

      3. Bangladesh is suffering because India dammed all the rivers, promised to only take half the water, is now up to 72%, and Bangladesh can’t do anything about it.

        That is the ENTIRETY of their climate, economic, and social woes.

    2. Sure you can; at least when discussing governmental interventions.

      That’s NOT the issue … then you veer even further off course.

      And you TOTALLY blew his example of wealth comparisons, which was part of REPORTING all differing perspective on the issue
      Translation: IT’S A FUCKING LIE THAT HE “ARGUES” THAT.

      That’s what libertarians do, present the evidence and ACKNOWLEDGE that people will decide for themselves … most people, not the authoritarians left AND right,

      And, frankly, we’ve given up explaining why you people are so authoritarian … once we realized they don’t give a shit about liberty,

      Can we elect a government on your diktats??

    3. even given worst-case projections for future warming, human beings will be only somewhat less wealthy than would be without such warming

      Even here he may be wrong. If too much command and control gets in the way, humanity will be worse off because of a slowed economy and 100 years of slower development.

      I’d rather be in the year 2100 with 2100 tech then a pristine world of 2100 with 2057 tech. Anything less is murderous.

      This is a larger observation of the power of economic freedom.

      Some things can be done. After all, it’s a libertarian principle you can do what you want with your own stuff, but not with someone else’s. But that should be tempered against the benefits of not having government effectively rationing in one way or another.

  3. We invest in national defense not because we know of particular military threats that will manifest themselves at any given time, but to protect against such threats if they should materialize.

    This is specious. After 1945, the United States continued to invest in national defense because the country perceived the Soviet Union as a threat, if not to the States themselves then to our allies around the world.

    1. This is specious.

      Only to those whose personal agenda is a higher priority than … reason … or even liberty.

      the United States continued to invest in national defense because the country perceived the Soviet Union as a threat

      WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH Exactly what YOU quote him as saying.

      not because we know of particular military threats that will manifest themselves at any given time … but to protect against such threats if they should materialize.

      Are you seriously unaware that federal spending was cut by over 50% after the war?

      the United States continued to invest in national defense

      For the reason he stated … that you quoted.

      Or … you would repeal all DEFENSE spending, But YOU don’t get to define what a sufficient threat is. And … imagine a foreign invasion (much larger than Japan’s on us in WWII) How many Americans would die? How could our government be preserved, while building an entire defense force from scratch?

  4. I don’t know who this sort of article is supposed to appeal to.

    The climate change people are zealots and totalitarians. They’ll never tolerate you unless you’re a zealot and a totalitarian too. If you embrace half measures, they will count you among their enemies and treat you the same as any petroleum executive.

    So you’re the enemy of the climate change zealots. Who are you allied with? Seems like the answer is no one. Is that a wise strategy?

    Either embrace climate zealotry and totalitarianism or stand against it. If we stand against zealotry and totalitarianism and win, we can take practical measures to mitigate whatever climate change turns out not to be made up or extremely exaggerated. People are resilient and adaptable (except when we’re under the boot of totalitarians and zealots, then we’re not).

    1. What’s missing from your comment is any concern with the truth.

      The truth is more important than whether you decide to side with liberals or conservatives.

      1. The truth about the future will only be known in the future.

        1. That’s a cop-out, especially given the state of the science here.

            1. And yours was dismissed as ignorance.

              1. If you aren’t ignorant, you can tell us the details of how computer climate models work. Please post it here.

                (Spoiler alert: You don’t know how they work. You just believe the hysteria the news media feeds you.)

                1. Ben, there are these people called experts, who study these things, and test them, and report on the results of their tests, which are then replicated by other experts- and, by the way, are fully available for other experts who might have more conservative ideologies to refute.

                  And when there is a consensus of experts, we can rely on their conclusions. Indeed, we should. You know why? Because some right wing jerk named Ben who won’t even give his last name and who JAQ’s off in a climate thread on a legal blog is not a reliable source, whereas the consensus of scientists testing each others’ hypotheses are.

                  1. That doesn’t change how ignorant you are of the details of the predictive models. It doesn’t change the complete ignorance of Jason Cavanaugh either. You both know approximately nothing about how the models work. You’re ignorant of it.

                    Which is cool. Almost everyone is. Some of us don’t pretend and go around pointing fingers at others though, because we’re not zealots and poseurs.

                    1. One primary difference between us, aside from your inherent stupidity, is that I’m willing to take at face value that climate change is real, and is being exacerbated by the literally billions upon billions of tons of pollution we’ve sent into our atmosphere.

                      Why? Partially because it’s asinine to presume it doesn’t have an impact, and partially because the science is SETTLED on this matter.

                      Let me put your stupidity in mathematical terms, which is probably a mistake on my part as I doubt you went much further than basic Geometry:

                      RWNJ says if y = x^2 – 47, then y + 100,000,000 = x^2 – 47.

                      It’s astounding how stupid someone has to be to look around at the smog and pollution we’ve created, and pretend that it doesn’t throw off the equilibrium (equation) of the planet, and that the Earth will just ‘fix it’ for us.

                      That isn’t how this shit works, and the longer people like you deny common sense and reality, the worse off mankind will be.

                    2. So nothing about how climate models work. Because you don’t seem to know. You’re apparently entirely ignorant on the subject. Thanks for making that clear.

                      Consider not pointing fingers and calling people “ignorant” when you can’t demonstrate any knowledge yourself.

                      Believing news media hysteria isn’t knowledge.

                    3. On the contrary Ben, you ARE ignorant because you refuse to acknowledge the truth.

                      Frankly, you’re just as idiotic as the Flat-Earthers. They also refute settled science because they don’t like the answer and think the truth is actually a conspiracy.

                      Stupid doesn’t get any more stupid than that.

          1. That’s a cop-out, especially given the state of the science here.

            The current understanding of the natural varibility of climate is in its mere infancy at the this point. Any claim and/or belief that the state of the science is settled or understood at this point in time is delusional.

            See climate etc at judithcurry.com

            1. It’s not even that. There’s no “truth” about the future. There’s only “truth” about the present and the past.

              Believing in “truth” about the future requires faith. Everyone is welcome to their religious views, but discussions on whether prophesies will come true aren’t factual.

              Doomsday predictions come true at about a 0% rate throughout history.

              1. That’s quite false. I know to a certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow.

                I know that if there is a car on the road right now that is out of gas, it will stop running in the very near future.

                I know that Mauna Kea will not erupt today.

                There are all sorts of things we know about the future. And there are other things that we don’t know but are basically near to certain about.

                And global warming and its human causes are one of them. Very few things have been so well demonstrated in theory and confirmed through empirical evidence.

                Saying “we don’t know the future” is a complete cop-out.

                1. It’s not “truth”.

                  1. You’re failing basic epistemology. How old are you?

                    1. Old enough to know a prediction from a truth

                2. “And global warming and its human causes are one of them. Very few things have been so well demonstrated in theory and confirmed through empirical evidence.”

                  That is utter nonsense. The “demonstration in theory” and confirmation through empiricism of anthropogenic global warming is virtually nil. Your statement is the perfect opposite of the truth. Perhaps it is satire?

                  1. You can literally produce the greenhouse effect in a laboratory. That’s how theoretically demonstrable it is.

                    And 99 percent of the world’s climate scientists say the science is well established. This is just conservatives acting like idiot paranoid conspiratorialists because they don’t like liberals and don’t like the ideological implications of the science.

                    1. Have you tried being less un-likeable? If you cared about the Earth more than owning the cons, maybe we could cut through some of the distrust and make some progress.

                    2. Ben, I can be quite likeable. Indeed, if we met in person, despite all of our differences, I would be quite polite and courteous to you. Seriously. I know plenty of conservatives and plenty of people who disagree with me on many things, including global warming.

                      But in this thread, we are discussing climate science. And in this particular area, global warming denial is a lie. I view it the same way as Holocaust denial. It’s a lie that is going to kill millions of people.

                      So I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who go on the Internet- anonymously- and tell gross lies in an attempt to prevent humanity from solving a problem that is going to kill a lot of people.

                      You want me to be nice to you in this thread? Stop lying. Stop JAQing off. Accept the conclusions of the world’s climate science experts. You will find that I have quite a lot of sympathy in terms of solving this problem on terms that are not purely those of liberals and leftists.

                    3. re: “You can literally produce the greenhouse effect in a laboratory.”

                      Really, Dilan? Have you tried it? Because the best publicized attempts to do just that have been exposed as frauds.

                      The greenhouse effect in a terrestrial atmosphere depends on a very, very large column of water vapor above the surface. The direct effect of CO2 alone is essentially immeasurable in laboratory-scale equipment. And, as noted below, the assumption that increasing levels of CO2 will result in a large and positive feedback effect on water vapor has been largely contradicted by subsequent observations.

                    4. It’s these other people denying your religiously-held convictions, not me. I’m only denying the bogeyman. And I’m denying that predictions of the future are the same as “truth”.

                    5. “You can literally produce the greenhouse effect in a laboratory. That’s how theoretically demonstrable it is.”

                      Bill Nye and a few other warmists / alarmist scientiests tried the same stunt. Turns out, they replicated convection heat. You dont see too many other scientists repeating that mistake.

                    6. “And 99 percent of the world’s climate scientists say the science is well established. ”

                      Always amusing for individuals who lack the basic analytical skills to recognize the bogus studies that claim the 97+% consensus, yet somehow posses the superior intellectual capacity to comprehend the complexities of climate science.

                      Hint – those studies have so many obvious flaws that it is surprising that anyone takes those studies seriously except the activists.

                3. “I know that if there is a car on the road right now that is out of gas, it will stop running in the very near future.”

                  Tesla Motors may have something to say about what you “know”…..

                  1. A Tesla is, by definition, not “out of gas”.

      2. The truth is clearly on the side that does not say the science is settled and the side that does not say that listening to both sides is bad.
        The truth is mostly with Ben’s comment, if you do not think so, you are light on your knowledge of the subject.

        1. There is no “both sides” here, any more than there are “both sides” to the heliocentrism controversy.

      3. The truth is that every single liberal disaster scenario ever has been proven to be complete bullshit. There was no nuclear war, no population bomb, no choking pollution, no peak oil, no climate catastrophe, no flooded islands by 2000, nothing. They’ve even managed to retcon the coming ice age they wrote thousands of papers about into a “fringe theory that few believed,” despite the existence of those thousands of “professional” papers.

        Lay summary here: https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-failed-eco-pocalyptic-predictions

    2. I don’t know who this sort of article is supposed to appeal to.

      1) Thinking people
      2) On a libertarian web site.

      So you’re the enemy of the climate change zealots. Who are you allied with?

      The climate change deniers are just as authoritarian, as shown by your own words.

      Seems like the answer is no one. Is that a wise strategy?

      You foolishly assume there are only two options — let’s say Left and Right ,,, a notion which has been obsolete for over 50 years now.

      Tell us. Where do you place libertarians, on the left or on the right?

      1. NO ONE is denying climate change. We so-called skeptics are skeptical that humans cause very much of whatever change exists, we have shown over and over that the models are hogwash, and we note that the climate has been warmer in ancient history, long before any possible man-made change.

        Climate change alarmists deny the past. That’s a little bit stranger than denying models predict the future.

        1. NO ONE is denying climate change.

          You just did, Sluggo!

          1. I said I was skeptical that humans caused climate change. I said the climate has been warmer before. You have just shown how poorly your read.

            1. You have just show how poorly you lie.
              (To those who don’t already know)

        2. So you’re not denying climate change, just that there can be multiple ways it could happen.

        3. Funny how the thesis on the right has changed from it’s not a thing to it’s not a thing we can change. A convenient accomidation when no policy changes were needed.

          Unless you’re going to argue the right has always recognized climate change was a thing.

          1. You got it. “It’s always happened. There’s nothing we can do about it. Just whine like pussies, abandon all hope, and prepare to die.”

            Because socialism!

          2. You’re making the fallacy of the excluded middle.

            There are now, and I’m, pretty sure always have been, those on the right (and left!) whose functional model of the world includes a flat earth with the sun orbiting around it – because for the way they live their lives that’s a good enough model. If they can’t see it, touch it, hear it, or taste it, it doesn’t exist. So things like climate aren’t real, while weather is. Compound interest isn’t real, while the credit card bill is.

            These are largely the same people who don’t vaccinate their children, and think GMOs that require no pesticide and less water to grow are an affront to their deity, whether Gaia or Jehovah.

            This is a part of the US political right, and to the extent they believe anything beyond what they can see your critique has some validity, just as the counter critique of the political left does (humans are a virus in the earth).

            But the scientific right always held a more nuanced view which included (to the extent climate change was considered) the knowledge of prior colder periods – the Little Ice Age had the Thames River frozen over in London, for example – and warmer periods – the Medieval Warm Period had wine grapes grown in Norway and the Northwest Passage was open. We also know that CO2 levels ten times what they are now didn’t lead to a runaway greenhouse effect, since that’s what the dinosaurs enjoyed. And we know that much of the climate science is either improperly manipulated (like temperature charts that use a single tree ring to discern centuries of temperature, but only for historic periods – somehow what’s a good enough proxy for the past never gets used for the current, since it would give a completely different answer than actual measurements – which is itself good evidence that they’re lousy proxies) or intentionally suppressed (Climategate included numerous emails between major proponents discussing how to prevent dissenting research from being published purely because it dissented, including claims at success).

            1. As thought climate scientists are unaware of those details.

              1. Oh they’re aware, they just don’t want to use that knowledge.

                That’s why none of the models have been used for extensive hindcasting – where you take your inputs from 200 years ago, feed them into your model, and predict what will have happened 100 years ago, precisely because we don’t know why many of the known historical climate spikes occurred. Excluding volcanism and astronomical events, we don’t actually know why any of the climactic shifts occurred in the last, so it’s hubristic to think we know why it’s happening, to the extent it’s happening, now.

                And to the extent that prior models have predicted where we are now (and few did), they all used variables set at levels that suggest that future warming will be minimal – with CO2 sensitivity close to or less than 1, while the “business as usual” model from the IPCC uses a value of 4.5, and the scary models use values of 8.5.

                All this ignores, of course, the historical altering of temperature measurements, which is often not known by the researchers using the data. Those alterations might even be legitimate – especially correction for the Urban Heat Island effect, but without it being clear that you’re not looking at the actual measurements you can’t know that you agree with the changes.

                1. All quite valid points, well demonstrated.

              2. “As thought climate scientists are unaware of those details”

                Yes, the climate scientists are aware – Just ask gergis, Mann, pages 2k, etc, why the ex post screening and over and/underweighting of proxies.
                Ask Mann about the robustness of his R2 verification stats.

          3. There s no single thesis, and it isn’t a left/right thing.

            1. Um, it very clearly is a left/right thing.

              1. Just like abortion, both extremes (left and right) are fighting over which authoritarian agenda should prevail.

                As the majority remains voiceless.

          4. The fact that you see the controversy divided along political lines and yet can’t make the intellectual leap to understand that this shows it is about politics and not the climate or science is disappointing.
            Only the left claims that people do not all agree that the climate changes naturally. A bogus straw man at best, as the issue is not a belief in climate change, but a belief that witches, politicians and activists can control the weather if we change our lives enough.
            Climate change is a natural thing that no one denies except alarmists.

      2. “The climate change deniers are just as authoritarian, as shown by your own words.”

        Which words specifically? Please point out what parts deny what about climate change.

        Please point out what words are “just as authoritarian” and explain using the definition of the word “authoritarian”.

  5. I live in a house on a slab at the top of a small mountain. I don’t lose sleep over what type of flood protection to get.

    1. Do you worry about the price of food going up, say, 20-fold, as fields and delivery-routes get flooded? How about horrific adverse weather events? How about the extinction of some of your favorite foods (I myself LIKE oysters and clams). And do all your friends also live on mountain-tops?

      1. Also, what about the bogeyman? Aren’t you afraid of the bogeyman?

      2. If all of the Earths ice melted the sea would only rise 200 feet, so that’s an absurd concern.

        Would some of our major cities be underwater? Totally. Would it happen over centuries? Yep. Would essentially every inland city or growing region be entirely spared? Also true.

        Would there be an increase in adverse weather events? According to the IPCC, no (and they’re the ones pushing the dangers of climate change with actual science).

        Would there be changes in precipitation patterns that made some arable land too drought ridden to rely on rain irrigation? Over decades, probably not, over centuries, probably, over millennia, assuredly, though that’s the same answer without climate change too.

        Would there be new arable land opening up that’s currently frozen tundra? Absolutely. Greenland used to be heavily farmed, and could be again. Siberia could be the breadbasket if the world. Do we know where exactly these will be? Not exactly, because we’re not actually good at predicting the climate, but we have models indicating which are more likely (we think) than others.

        1. Warming the arctic will make it more productive but won’t make it the next Kansas. Crops need warmth, sun, soil, and water and no excess of the first will make up for the lack of the second and third in the high latitudes.

          1. Actually, the farming situation in the arctic is pretty good aside from temperatures; You can’t farm in the winter anyway in temperate zones, and the arctic benefits from very long days during the summer, resulting in accelerated crop growth.

            There might be a bit of a shortage of soil in some parts of the arctic, which have been scoured by glaciers, but neither is water particularly in short supply.

            1. Actually,
              Even if you only count March through September, annual surface insolation at 65 degrees latitude is significantly less than at 35, even though the days are longer, because the illumination is more oblique and dimmed as it passes through more atmosphere.

              Much of the arctic has poor soil not because good soil was scraped away, but because it never developed as it did over thousands of years in the temperate grasslands. Soils in Nebraska are richer in the east where there were glaciers than in the west where there weren’t, because of the higher precipitation in the east.

  6. Adlers argument (I hope) is really that if you don’t want a totalitarian takeover you should be advocating for flexibility in systems to quickly adapt to changing circumstances rather than arguing effectively that circumstances don’t change.

    For example a drastic increase in the efficiency of air conditioners and heaters would effectively obviate the need for any other personal adaptations to any level of climate change aside from the Venus scenario (which only crazies believe, even though there are far too many of them). But that sort of technology is useful whether the climate changes or not, and regardless of which direction. A drop back to 1880s Little Ice Age temperatures would benefit just as much from increased heat pump effectiveness as we would if the temperature rises 10F.

    And there are plenty of technologies that would be useful whether and to what extent there is any significant change in climate – more desalinization, more nuclear power, more efficiency batteries (and the recent developments in solid state batteries are a great example of that), personal climate controls that can heat or cool a person wherever they go (as seen in some motorcycle racing).

    Of course, the giveaway that the proponents of the sky falling aren’t serious is their rejection of nuclear power, as even one Chernobyl a year is better than everyone dying in 12 years. Anyone actually serious about it would urgently push nuclear, as it’s the only thing that could reduce CO2 emissions to the extent it’s claimed to be needed. Except for the Malthusians, of course – they just want a mass human kill off, and they’re at least honest about it – but since so much of what’s being pushed by falling sky proponents looks just like the Malthusians you have to wonder if that’s really their end goal.

    1. There’s actually plenty of liberals who support nuclear power, despite misgivings, because of climate change, and if we could get some help from the right on that one, we might be able to start building some new plants.

      1. And if Lenin had some help from the White Russians …..

        And if Mao had some help from … everybody …..

        And if Pharaoh had some help from Moses ….

        Yessirree, all we need is a little help from our fiends.

        1. You won’t support nuclearization because of owning the libs?

          1. Eh?

            1. Dilan was asking if some on the right might help the pro-nuclear left transition us away from fossil fuels.

              You responded with a list leaders who slaughtered people and their associated victims. As though the left are all historical villains, and any compromise with them writes your own death-warrant.

              Pretty over-the-top, no?

      2. “…if we could get some help from the right on that one…”

        Haven’t you helped enough? You killed the industry in the US.

      3. “There’s plenty of liberals who support nuclear power”

        Mmm Hmm. Yucca Mountain showed where liberals “real” support was.

        1. I would venture to say that the vast majority of Nevadans that nixed that facility by petitioning their representatives of both parties are not liberals!

          1. Really, it was the Obama administration that illegally nuked Yucca Mountain. Nevada never wanted it (for obvious reasons). But Obama had a duty to the country as a whole to uphold the political consensus that managed a long term, sound, entirely scientifically safe solution to nuclear waste.

            Obama nuked it, via illegal actions, as a payoff to Reid. Politics was more important than actually having methods that would help Global Warming.

      4. I think the political right has been burned too much on this to help. The scientific right is always there though, so unless the political right seizes on climate change as an existential threat I think this will have to come from the left.

        After all, the past intentional scuttling of the nuclear industry has come from the left by a moderately sized minority, so the rebirth will have to show enough support from the rest of the left to override their fellow party members wishes. Otherwise for the political right it will just keep looking like wind mills to charge at.

        Furthermore, a large part of the “climate change is an existential threat” left are also against nuclear (as discussed above), so many on the right (both political and scientific) just see this as a Trojan horse (note that NASA’s James Hansen, one of the principals in kicking of the climate change concern, also advocates for nuclear, so good on him). When people with an outsized influence on the political left then come out and say that their climate change plans aren’t really about climate change, they’re really about turning the US into a socialist paradise (which the right hears as “Venezuela” if they’re under 35, and as “USSR” if they’re over 35) that really just cements the Trojan horse meme, even if the majority of proponents were arguing in good faith.

        That’s why the next big push for nuclear will have to come from the left (or from a drastically changed polity, but that goes without saying I hope).

        1. The hope is to have nuclear as part of a bipartisan deal on global warming. But it’s hard to do when so many on the right advocate doing nothing.

          1. Hey. Why worry about a Chinese hoax?

          2. But we don’t need nuclear as part of a deal, it can be the deal in its entirety. I wasn’t around at the time, but there were broad discussions that with extensive nuclear power electricity would be too cheap to meter and so would just be provided to anyone who paid the hookup costs and reactor maintenance would just come out of general taxes.

            That pitch could work again, and be sold as an investment in the future automation and work from home economies (and if desired, could also be bundled with nationwide fiber broadband). It could even be positioned as part of our future transition to permanent space colonies, as a widespread experiment that we can benefit from today – with the economy, individually, and environmentally. If positioned right it could even capture large parts of the oil and gas businesses by explicitly encouraging further development for material construction. Just because we’re not burning oil doesn’t mean we shouldn’t extract it, both for lubrication and for plastics.

            But the way the political left acts (again, not the scientific left) that’s not their goal, and so I don’t expect it to happen.

            1. You need a deal because (1) you need a comprehensive energy strategy, which goes beyond nuclear and (2) there’s no reason why liberals should have to make all the concessions- liberals who hold their nose and support nuclear power should be joined by conservatives holding their noses and supporting some solar and wind power and the like.

              At any rate, even if you were right that no deal were needed, it isn’t as though the world is full of conservatives demanding we build nuclear plants to fight global warming. They are too busy being denialists.

              1. 1. “you need a comprehensive energy strategy, which goes beyond nuclear”
                No, you don’t. France showed that. France is almost entirely nuclear. They have some of the lowest CO2 emissions per capita in the entire first world. And it’s because they are almost entirely nuclear.

                2. So, you have an answer that solves the CO2 emission issue in the electricity center and….

                3. Liberals say “no, we won’t do it unless you agree to other stuff. Global warming is a massive threat to the human population, but we won’t agree to a technology that will help reduce it, unless you give us this other stuff we want”

                And you’re surprised when normal people go “eh, what?”

                1. Armchair, the right has acted in total bad faith ever since this controversy started. They are, in the main, denying the scientific reality, and opposing even mild efforts to address the problem.

                  In that situation, I don’t see how you can blame liberals. Liberals have many problems on global warming. But at least we admit that the thing is happening.

                  If conservatives would join the fricking debate about solutions, you might find that there is a diversity of liberal opinions, and while some lefties won’t accept any sort of deal, there’s plenty of people who would love to make one. Heck, I will remind you that cap and trade itself originated in conservative think tanks.

                  1. I note you didn’t actually address what was said.
                    But let’s repeat it for you.

                    1. There’s a solution. Nuclear power. It’s proven. On country-wide scale.

                    2. Liberals won’t actually use the solution, unless they get people to agree to a whole lot of other things they want.

                    Why. Is. That ?

    2. Adlers argument (I hope) is really that if you don’t want a totalitarian takeover you should be advocating for flexibility in systems to quickly adapt to changing circumstances rather than arguing effectively that circumstances don’t change

      SOMEBODY gets it!!!

      Technically, he’s more tightly focused on that. What libertarians have FAILED AT, for the past few decades, is having ANYTHING better than what the two authoritarian sides (left/right) promote.

      Thar’s why progressives have been kicking our ass for decades, in the court of public opinion. But to see that, one must walk into the daylight, out of some deep tribal cave.

      1. No. Statists have been kicking ass and will continue to kick ass because government never shrinks. Bureaucracies always expend, that is their nature, and governments are just monopolistic coercive bureaucracies.

        1. No. Statists have been kicking ass and will continue to kick ass because government never shrinks.

          (inserts same fevered rant as everywhere, totally non-responsive to what he “responded” to)

          Bureaucracies always expend, that is their nature, and governments are just monopolistic coercive bureaucracies.

          (inserts another memorized rant, having absolutely nothing to do with … much of anything … evasion)

          I said:

          “That’s why progressives have been kicking our ass for decades, in the court of public opinion. “

          And he showed why!

          But to see that, one must walk into the daylight, out of some deep tribal cave.

          Many will never do that, hampered by fear, The cave offers comfort, security, and a “leader” to do one’s thinking. Submission and obedience, to the power elite, has provided that same comfort for thousands of years,)

          It’s never fair to assume another’s motives, so I won’t assume that he doesn’t give a flying truck about public opinion. Just memorized anti-gummint slogans and soundbites. Conformity with his chosen tribe. Comfort. Security.

  7. I’d take the climate change hysteria a lot more seriously if a single solution to the “settled science” was something other than directly or indirectly transferring Western wealth to the third world.

    1. That’s about as wacky a notion as … hegemony … which is the basis of your fear.

    2. That’s not their object, well other than the UN, our domestic climate panic lobby wants to use it to usher in socialism, but they aren’t planning for anything other than domestic giveaways.

      1. Or maybe they’re worried about the climate, not some socialist conspiracy.

        1. It’s hard to think that (of many, at least) when those with enormous influence claim its to usher in socialism.

          I am, of course, referring to Saikat Chakrabarti, who was Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, and the author of the Green New Deal, who said the point was to usher in socialist and that climate change was just the means by which they could do so.

          Does that describe everyone? Of course not.
          Do we know how many, especially of those making the original claims that people react to, this adequately describes? Also no.

          Do you see why people are suspicious?

          1. Well, that’s proof that everyone else is lying then.
            Just like how a few anecdotes is proof that Dems secretly want to ban all guns.

            If you need that kind of paranoia to get you where you want to go politically, you should check yourself.

            1. People don’t have to be lying to be wrong you know.

              It’s interesting that you think it’s paranoia though, and that you assume ill will from those who disagree with you.

      2. YOU are why we’re losing on this issue.
        Not you personally, just whoever manipulates you.

      3. Sure it is. That’s exactly what “cap and trade” is.

        1. How does cap and trade abolish private property ownership?

  8. What a damn fool title!

    Yes, by all means, let’s address every single hypothetical threat without ever first addressing whether they actually exist?

    Triage, baby, triage. How’s that saying go? God grant me the courage to change what I can change, the tolerance to accept what I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    1. To be a bit more clear, the alarmists can’t decide whether the existential tipping point happens in two years, 12 years, 30 years, or 80 years, or any other number pulled out of their ass, they are quite happy to recommend murdering billions of people and leaving Africa without energy, and yet will not even tolerate the “violence” of discussing nuclear power.

      Why should anyone take them seriously when they don’t even take themselves seriously?

      No, no, a thousand times no. There is climate change. How much humans contribute is unknown. Bankrupting the planet when a clear simple solution is at hand is lunacy.

      1. To be a bit more clear, the alarmists can’t decide whether the existential tipping point happens in two years, 12 years, 30 years, or 80 years, or any other number pulled out of their ass

        (yawn) That’s what Ron said!!!

        YOU pull stuff out of your ass, just as much!

        There is climate change. How much humans contribute is unknown. Bankrupting the planet when a clear simple solution is at hand is lunacy.

        A CLEAR AND SIMPLE SOLUTION … TO AN ISSUE YOU SAY IS “UNKNOWN”!!

        How are you any better than AOC?

    2. without ever first addressing whether they actually exist?

      But … But … But … YOU JUST SAID THE EXACT OPPOSITE!!!

      NO ONE is denying climate change.
      https://reason.com/2019/12/01/the-climate-debate-should-focus-on-how-to-address-the-threat-of-climate-change-not-whether-such-a-threat-exists/#comment-8031621

  9. You are likely correct but the difficulty isn’t what the U.S. will (or should) do, but the fact that China now produces substantially more CO2 than us will do so at an increasing rate for at least another 20 years; India is going to surpass our production of CO2 sometime in the foreseeable future and Africa and other third world countries will probably eventually produce more. I don’t know what the solution is if our current rate of CO2 production portends disaster given that the U.S. is becoming a smaller and smaller part of the problem.

    If only Greta Thunberg had thought to go to China, not the U.S.!

    1. If Greta actually criticized China’s climate policies they would throw her and her White Privilege Rebellion out on their ear.

    2. This is what makes thoughtful people so concerned.

      Suppose the US does a complete no emissions transformation, we kill all the cows, and everyone is Vegan. China and India now have larger economies and “pollute” more than the US cut back.

      We ask them to stop, and they tell us to go eat some kale.

      What do we do, to save the planet? It seems pretty clear, we nuke them, anything else is unethical.

      That’s what scares some of us.

  10. I’m glad libertarians have finally recognized the reality. The rest of us have been dealing it for 25 years and they have a great deal of catching up to do. So far, obviously, only non-libertarian measures have been worked up. I don’t know if there’s enough time left to bring you along so that you can contribute your own workable ideas.

    1. Read the comments. Adler is on his own here.

      Tribalist denial is all the right has, but since negative tribalism is all most of this commentariat is about these days, it’s all they need.

    2. Which predictions did you believe in the last 25 years?

  11. We should stop debating whether I need a million bucks, and focus on who’s going to give it to me. Because as long as we’re debating whether I need it, I can’t afford that infinity pool for my backyard.

    The OP is insane. That’s the only way I can describe it. It attempts to take the very heart of the debate, and place it beyond any dispute, assign the win to one side before the arguments begin. Why would anybody agree to such terms?

    Let me lay this out: Climate change exists, obviously, or we’d still be buried under glaciers, or living on an Earth without ice caps, or whatever prevailed at the moment when the climate magically became invariable. But climate change isn’t a threat, in that sense, it’s just a fact. Whether it’s bad or good is where the debate really starts.

    Real economists have started from the assumption that climate change, (Not, “the climate change threat.) is real, and looked at the cost of adjusting to it, vs the cost of trying to stop it, and concluded that you’re better off just adapting to it, that the proposals to stop it are wildly more expensive than adaptation.

    1. Real economists

      Who gave you the power decide which economists are “real” and which aren’t?

      Wait. I know the test. It’s whether they agree with Bellmore or not.

      1. Real economists are those that don’t assume facts not in evidence.

        But that does seem to BE Bellmore’s stance, so in this at least, you are correct.

  12. Let’s take a look at the early warming period from 1910-1940. This period accounts for ~40% of the total observed warming since 1900. Most experts agree that this earlier warming cannot be explained by man-made CO₂ because at that time there was not enough CO₂ in the atmosphere to produce that result according to the theories accepted by the climate alarmists. See https://judithcurry.com/2015/11/16/400-years-of-warming/ Climate models cannot reproduce or explain this earlier warming, so how can we have confidence that the later warming is not due to the same (natural) cause? This type of thing requires faith. Perhaps it is on this basis that the OP accepts climate change alarmism as a given and starts from there.

    1. The fact that climate models don’t track changes in 0.1 degree Celsius is proof they’re all faith-based nonscience.

      1. The fact that climate models don’t track changes in 0.1 degree Celsius is proof they’re all faith-based nonscience.

        The temperature rise in the 20th century is pointed to as dramatic proof of anthropogenic climate change. But it turns out that 40% of that rise was clearly not caused by human action. Are you saying that 40% of this dramatic proof is an insignificant amount, too small to take notice of? Something seems to be wrong with this picture.

        1. The 20th century is not proof of anything by itself – who is arguing that?
          The models on CO2 and other manmade gasses, based on fundamental physics and climate change/atmospheric makeup tracked over much more than the 20th century, predict statistically significant larger shifts.

          1. The models are not, in fact, based on fundamental physics.

            The important part of the models are based on derived variables, primarily the carbon sensitivity. It’s so important to the models that the various versions of model are named off them, with common versions using values of 1, 2.5, 4.5, and 8.5. When scary futures are predicted they’re always from the 8.5 versions, but most research that looks directly at climate sensitivity indicates that climate sensitivity is slightly below 1, suggesting that only the most optimistic models are right.

            All of which clearly indicates that the models are not based on fundamental physics alone, but on complex interactions we don’t understand.

          2. So you think that the actual increase in temperature over the 20th century plays very little if any role in the arguments made by the climate alarmists as to why humanity is facing a crisis, but that rather the arguments consist primarily of theoretical calculations derived by looking at the last few hundred years. And that when proponents of the Green New Deal claim that there are only 12 years left until it will become “too late” they are not intending to imply that this conclusion is based on observed temperature increases that they attribute to the greenhouse gasses added to the atmosphere in the 20th century but they are saying simply that their theoretical calculations have identified a year 12 years in the future as the tipping point without reference to any currently observed warming trends? And that references made to the shrinking Arctic region are intended to have little or no reference to increased temperature since 1900?

            The National Climate Assessment said that “U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since 1895…” However, this was not intended to be proof of the existence of actual warming caused by adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.

            Does this accurately depict your view?

  13. The simple truth is that the climate has always been changing. It has changed long before we were here and will continue to change long after we are gone. This is not the issue. Anthropogenic climate change is the issue. Does the relatively small addition of greenhouse gasses by people even move the needle? Who can tell?

    The simple truth is that science is really good at predicting some things, but not so good at others. When the variables are many instead of a few and they are non linear and dependent upon one another, science has a difficult time finding a clear (mathematical) model that offers the prospect of good predictive value. I would contend that one could no more predict what the climate will be like in 100 years than one could predict at what level the Dow will close next Wednesday.

    The track record of the climate models has been abysmal. Many of the models were adapted from macroeconomics, where they worked no better. According to Al Gore, and other “experts,” we should no longer have ice caps and warm tropical waters should be washing over the top of Telegraph Hill as I write this, but no such thing has even remotely happened. The assertion the author of the article makes is extremely deceptive.

    Again, it’s not that the climate is changing; the climate has and always will change. The question is, when compared to the massive luminous flux of the sun, can anthropogenic climate change be proven, even though the man-made contribution to climate change is comparatively nill. This very uninformed article is well below the level of commentary I have come to expect from Reason. This deliberate AGW (Anthropogenic Global Waming) propaganda piece shocks and saddens me.

  14. Sorry Adler, you’re wrong here, on a number of issues. But, lets go all the issues.

    1. Global warming exists. Yes.
    2. Human beings contribute to it through CO2 emissions. Yes.
    3. It will be catastrophic for humans. No.
    -The honest truth is, humans are adaptable. At the moderate levels of temperature and sea level rise estimated, humans will be fine. Some shifts will occur. New crop lands will open up. Some will close. Adaption is the best bet here. For those who think everything will be under water, keep in mind, a large chunk of the Netherlands are currently under water…yet dry. Technology can alleviate many issues.
    4. We need to institute a carbon tax to reduce CO2 emissions. Not necessarily.
    -The honest truth here, is the best bet is further alternative energy development. Make solar, wind, etc cheaper than coal + natural gas through natural market mechanisms. Not tax-driven methods. Because a tax-skewed market will simply encourage “cheating” by countries to use a cheaper method. And no country is willing to enforce carbon emissions on another by force. So it needs to be naturally cheaper. Especially for the developing world.
    5. Liberals are trying to stop global warming. Not really.
    In a review of the facts, while liberals try to look like they’re dealing with global warming, their actions generally have had the opposite effect, and instead they’re using GW as a political level to be discarded when needed. Fracking has lowered CO2 emissions in the US. Liberals adamantly oppose it. Nuclear power would drop CO2 emissions massively. Germany is instead phasing out nuclear power. Meanwhile Obama killed Yucca Mountain (semi-illegally) as a political payoff to Reid, while ignoring the long term effect that a safe nuclear waste repository would have on new nuclear power plants. Large “treaties” with no effective enforcement mechanism have been prioritized over real action. Even revenue-neutral CO2 taxes have been discarded by liberals because “they needed the money elsewhere.” The REAL liberal position is that they will support GW CO2 emissions, only so long as it politically benefits them. Keep this in mind.

      1. Right-wing rantis = left-wing rants = useless babble.
        ^This

    1. “further alternative energy development. Make solar, wind, etc cheaper than coal + natural gas through natural market mechanisms.”

      There’s not a way to make solar and wind cheaper through “natural market mechanisms.” I could support continued spending on alternative energy development and a few more Solyndras, though. But in the mean time let’s use the fossil fuels.

      1. There’s not a way to make solar and wind cheaper through “natural market mechanisms.”

        Sorry, I should be more specific. “Natural market mechanisms” include research and development to increase efficiencies and reduce cost, coupled with economies of scale.

    2. Solve this simple equation for C:

      1.5 degrees per year x 50 years = C

      The rest is squawking and babbling (on both extremes, left and right)

      1. 1.5 degrees per year?

      2. I see the Hihntard is still trying to out-stupid himself.

  15. All the $ that would be spent to deal with climate change (if you’re worried about human extinction, etc.) would be better spent on an asteroid defense system and biological research against possible pandemic infections.

  16. With all due respect, professor, stick to the law. Your assessment of the science is inadequate.

    To date, there is no evidence which successfully rebuts the null hypothesis of ‘reversion to the mean following the end of the Little Ice Age’.

    At the other end of the research spectrum, the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis depends on a large and positive multiplier effect from carbon dioxide to water vapor. (Despite all the focus on CO2, water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in the terrestrial atmosphere by several orders of magnitude.) Considerable evidence now precludes the upper-end estimates of that multiplier and some evidence suggests that the feedback loop might even be negative – that is, self-stabilizing. Despite the strength of the statistical analysis behind this research, the global warming advocates continue to use outdated worst-case scenarios which are no longer even remotely plausible.

    1. Any good links on this for laypersons?

  17. “you can’t beat something with nothing”

    Why not? We have beaten back the hysterics for over three decades. The UN established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988, yet here we are. We mocked them out of using global warming and have largely stopped anything significant in the US.

    Gun rights on the right and abortion on the left has shown that uncompromising resistance is the way to stop bad policies.

    1. Islam has learned that even a small intolerant minority, no more than 3-4% of the populace, can force the majority to give numerous concessions (provided the cost isn’t to high). Likewise, a large minority can prevent concessions from being given when the cost is high to everyone. The latter is the case with climate skeptics, or so-called “deniers”.

  18. I’ve been tracking these Adler climate threads for a while. Saw them go from complete ‘the climate isn’t changing – the models are bunk just like back with global cooling!’ to ‘the climate is changing, but the models are bunk – it’s not human action.’

    I’m now seeing a rise of ‘the climate is changing, and who cares if it’s us – we don’t need to do anything about it; what’s a few inches of ocean rising, after all?’

    And, of course, the right’s sober and objective view has never changed – it’s held #insert position here# since the beginning.

    1. And, of course, the right’s sober and objective view has never changed – it’s held #insert position here# since the beginning.

      The temperature rose from 1910 to 1940, but not in response to an increase in CO₂. The temperature declined from 1940 to 1975, but not in response to a reduction in CO₂. Do these facts cause a sober and objective person to change his opinion that long-term warming and cooling have causes other than anthropogenic CO₂? Are you saying that the most likely reason such a person didn’t change his opinion is that he has surrendered to his emotions or to groupthink? What is your explanation for these things?

      1. In service of your arguments, you’re conflating variations of .1 degree with those of a whole degree.

        I’m all for changing your mind if you have reasons – but what I see is people insisting they’ve always had positions that these threads have not evinced in the past. Best explanation: groupthink.

    2. Yes, the right has remained fucking stupid.
      The left has remained fucking stupid.
      Rejecting both, as Adler does, is the only sane approach.
      But tribalism.

    3. Genuinely curious, do you recall if these were the same people, and commenting in the same context?

      I ask because your examples aren’t mutually exclusive. The models can be bunk, while climate change is occurring even if not driven by human action. Or it could be partially driven by human activity, but the majority due to solar radiation (or far too many alternatives to list).

      If it’s the same people in the same context then your critique is valid, but if it’s different people, or the context was different, then it’s pretty silly to expect consistency when it’s not appropriate.

      1. Assuming VC commenters are a random sampling of the right, that nevertheless bespeaks a pretty big shift that no one is acknowledging.

        e.g.
        http://volokh.com/2013/09/05/global-warming-reduce-threat-posed-atlantic-hurricanes/

        A model can be bunk, but all of them being bunk would require some common assumption to be wrong, which thusfar has not been addressed other than hand-waving ‘Climate is hard.’

        I see the global cooling yahoos have arrived below. They’re…not very intellectually robust these days.

  19. Huh? Libertarians have been arguing for decades for deregulation (particularly the energy sector and geoengineering research) as an effective approach to dealing with the threat of climate change. The problem is the bulk of the left refuses to engage with “bandaid solutions” that only address the ‘symptoms’ of climate change and not its ‘root cause’ which invariably ends up just being some variation of ‘late capitalism’.

    1. Read these comments. The issue is not with the left refusing to engage, dude.

      I’ve seen geoengineering discussed on the left quite seriously.

  20. Well, ok. The climate has always been changing and always will be changing. There’s little or nothing we can do to prevent the climate from changing, least of all reducing global carbon emissions, which the UN bureaucrats have openly stated they view as nothing but a convenient excuse for implementing a global system of wealth redistribution (their opinions only mind you).

    A few thousand years ago the Great Lakes were 13 feet higher. That would definitely be a “threat” if it were to occur again.

    There may be things we can plan to do to mitigate negative effects. There are also many positive effects of climate change which may outweigh the negatives. But while Adler’s idea may seem convenient, unfortunately addressing a threat requires assessing the threat.

    1. A few thousand years ago the Great Lakes were 13 feet higher.

      At the end of the last ice age, 19,000 years ago, global sea level was 120 meters lower than it is today.

  21. Making policy changes based on what might happen yields support for all kind of nonsense.

    In particular, the ice age might return with a vengeance, a potential pretty much as well supported as dramatic warning, and with far more devestating effects on human existence, given the effects cold weather have on food production.

  22. Have you considered that you come in late to the discussion? There are people who were on it from years back, and while they were talking about it, warning the rest of us, making plans, you spent the time calling it a hoax, and accusing them of being power grabbing socialists.

    And NOW you want to tell them that you have a better plan???

    Couldn’t you at least, before you offer your ideas, show some humility and beg forgiveness of them?

    And do not be surprised if you are told to go jump in the lake

    1. That’s a pretty anti-scientific argument for something that purports to be science based. A pretty good comment on humanity, but anti-scientific.

  23. “Similarly, we don’t buy insurance or install smoke detectors in our homes because we know when disaster will strike. We take such measures because the chance and cost of a calamity are great enough to justify prudent steps to reduce the likelihood and magnitude that such risks will come to pass. Climate change is no different. The potential negative consequences of climate change are large enough and probable enough to justify significant action.”

    This is where the trick is. Sure, I install smoke detectors because they are cheap. But I don’t install a sprinkler system, hire a guard to watch for fires, install escape slides by each window, or take other expensive measures even though they would be even more effective at mitigating the risk. And I know what happens if my house catches on fire. It burns down and I must buy another (and may put lives at risk).

    I don’t deny the climate is warming; that’s just math. I also don’t doubt humans contribute to it (even the majority of it); that’s what smart people who study this tell me. But we don’t have good, reliable predictions on what will happen because scientists are all over the board. And politicians and the most vocal scientists give the most dire predictions to get the most attention.

    Instead, it’s a lot of arguing that everything is climate change. One local meteorologist and vocal climate-change speaker blamed an increase in tornadoes on climate change. The next year, when tornadoes were at a low, he blamed the lack of tornadoes on climate change. In each of the last couple winters, we’ve had weeks of bitter cold here in Minnesota (at or lower than records). Those are accompanied by stories about how global warming will actually cause these bitter cold streaks (and maybe colder winters overall).

    Then, as others point out on here, instead of addressing real solutions, we get a wish list of progressive policies all squished into some climate change framework. When you push back on those plans, you’re called a science-denier and told you better go along with their plans because the science is settled.

    Get back to us when the fixes are about actually fixing the problem, rather than justifying desired political outcomes.

    1. scientists are all over the board

      No they are not. At least not the ones that are paid other than by the oil industry (and even some of those).

      1. “paid other than by the oil industry”

        Paid by oil industry, bad.

        Paid by government and foundations, good.

        1. Yeah, the oil industry’s PR arm is about the same as government research agencies and also foundations.

          You’re willfully blind.

      2. I’ve seen that claim a lot, but who exactly are these scientists who are paid by the oil industry?

        I really hope this isn’t just a guilt by association claim (though that is literally what you said) and you’re going to name professors at schools that received grants from industry, because that model would rule out literally anyone on any subject.

      3. They are when it comes to a lot of the predictions about what will happen. When heat waves and droughts hit, we are told it’s climate change. This year, the Midwest is wet and we’re told there will be more rain because warmer air holds more moisture. I also gave the example of the local meteorologist who blamed both an excess number of tornadoes and fewer tornadoes on climate change. That was just one year apart. Again, which is it?

        We can do this with all sorts of stuff. In 2005, when there were 28 named tropical storms, we were told it was the future because of climate change. In 2014, there were just 8. We were told that that too was climate change (as storms would be less frequent, but more severe).

        I suppose there is a line of scientific literature where you don’t see these contradicting positions. I haven’t read it all. But the frequency with which we see this suggests there’s a lot of post-hoc rationalizations, which looks more like religion than science.

  24. Like Ronald Bailey, I used to be skeptical that climate change posed a serious environmental threat and questioned the wisdom of policy responses. Climate change featured prominently in Bailey’s Eco-Scam, and I edited a book and helped develop a policy program aimed at forestalling U.S. adoption of limits on greenhouse gases. And like Bailey, I no longer hold to that view, and I’m now willing to consider policy interventions I would once have rejected out of hand.

    I fail to see what virtue you and Ron seem to see in shouting from the mountaintops that you’ve both gotten old and stupid.

  25. One of the Milankovich Cycles is Obliquity, the angle of the earth’s axis, a cycle of 40,000 years or so. The steeper the angle , the more the climate tends toward a cold environment. The range is 22.1° to 24.5°. Th present angle is 23.4° and decreasing, a strong indicator of a long-term warming trend.. Between that and the intransigence of India and China, it’s high time we started to adapt rather than to attempt an American tinkering with the planet’s thermostat by throwing money at it.

  26. This is beyond stupid. So we are going to spend $trillions more to combat something that in all probability doesn’t exist? Is this guy some government hack? I guess liberals and socialists are more powerful than the sun and earth’s natural way of altering the climate. Go back millions of years, something the climate freaks will never do, and you will see enormous changes in climate before man was even a thought. Dino farts probably caused more climate change than man ever will and they survived for 175 million years.

  27. The best national defense policy entails taking prudent steps to provide security, while eschewing government interventions that are themselves a particularly serious threat to individual liberty. Striking the right balance can be difficult, but it is what serious policy requires.

    Okay, so? What ARE those interventions? I’ve read through every single “I know you are but what am I?” comment laid out here and have yet to hear anyone in Adler’s camp spell out what it is, exactly, the government is supposed to do and how it will ultimately help prevent a climate crisis.

    But, it doesn’t really matter, because there is no such thing as a government intervention that isn’t a particularly serious threat to individual liberty and striking the right balance is impossible.

    There is a lot that individuals can do that will certainly make it look like they are acting in an effective manner, but much of it would be extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient and ultimately largely useless.

    1. We could agree that natural gas being flared at oil wells is bad and so we should allow pipelines to be built so the gas could be used as a less-carbon-intensive alternative to other fuels. That would increase liberty and fuel efficiency in one step.

      Anything that makes the trade in natural gas less encumbered and more widespread will lower carbon emissions.

      We could agree that sending extra trucks out to pick up “recycling” that no longer gets recycled is useless, expensive, and excessively carbon-intensive.

      We could cut government spending on nonessential programs so those programs do less and therefore pollute less.

      We could get rid of ethanol in gasoline.

      There are lots of things like that.

      1. Right. But all those solutions are about loosening the grip of government control and regulations, about individuals and businesses saying “enough.” They are not about giving government the power to combat environmental/climate problems in “more better” ways.

        That’s what I’m asking Adler: what “policies” specifically do you want government to implement? Unless those policies are, as you seem to point out, about getting out of the business of regulating anything at all, in which case, good luck. When in history has government ever pulled back from itself. Instead, Adler argues, when it comes to the climate, we libertarians need to put our core principles—individual liberty, freedom from aggression—on the back burner in favor of a “greater good” that no one as yet has been able to define.

  28. Know what I find truly laughable? That all these save the planet people can’t be bothered to reference actual scientists and engineers with CREDENTIALS to talk down to us about our future.

    This guy is a lawyer. So is Al Gore. For what it’s worth, I’m NOT a lawyer, but I did teach grade school earth science nearly half a century ago (1970s). Yes, I taught climate change, back when Gore was telling us the next ice age was coming.

    REASON can just get back to me when they’ve got actual scientists doing the talking. They can start with Judith Curry. Until then, stick a sock in it.
    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/11/i-was-tossed-out-of-the-tribe-climate-scientist-judith-curry-interviewed/

  29. Invest in nuclear power NOW before it’s too late. Oh, they don’t like nuclear power? Oh, because of that Jane Fonda movie?

  30. Reason is not such a great magazine anymore. It’s staff have all become stars and are hanging around with a lot of folks who do not like Libertarians and the staff is just kissing up to their lefty rich friends instead of serving Liberty as they originally did.
    Too bad, it is hard for Liberty to remained not compromised when it’s players become fat and rich and hang with the very elite that Libertarians are generally against.

  31. >Like Bailey, I no longer hold to that view, and I’m now willing to consider policy interventions I would once have rejected out of hand.

    Yes, pay no attention to that pod under the bed. You are getting sleepy….

    This comment not approved by Silicon Valley brain slugs.

  32. Please tell me what the quantitative goals are regarding climate. We don’t want to overshoot it on the downside and have to worry about another ice age.

  33. If climate change is a problem now, it was more of a problem in 1200 AD, the Medieval Warm, and even more in the Roman Warm, and more still in the Minoan Warm, and even more at the Holocene Optimum 8000 yrs ago. Not to mention the Eemian, 120,000 yrs ago, 2C warmer and sea level at least 6 m higher. We didn’t have anything to do with those warmings, nor did CO2.

    All GHGs of course act on thermal equilibrations, as do the other 8 forcings. And CO2 is arguabley one of the least important at these levels, at this time.

    The proper presumption, then, for rational people is that, barring evidence to the contrary, we are neither responsible for the current warming, when/if it resumes, nor is there anything we can do to combat it.

    Although, since people did very well during the prior warmings, we might even consider the possibility that we may do well during this current, too.

  34. What is the correct climate for any time in history? Will the theoretical rise in temperature be bad for us and the earth? How accurate have the computer climate models been over the years?

    The author notes that libertarians will be as vigilant with federal spending on climate catastrophe as they have been on military spending. Well , vigilance has not done much to curtail federal spending in the military.

    1. Spending on the military at least has some visible effect.

  35. ECO-SCAM!! — That’s what it was in the 1970’s during the “Global Cooling” scare and that’s what it is still today — 1980’s “eco-scam” models said by 2020 we’d be in a global dust bowl for sure if not sooner….. No dust bowl to be found. I can’t believe people buy into this B.S.

    I can’t believe Reason is peddling this sh#t either.

  36. Humanity will eventually settle on a consensus view on the causes of climate change and the extent to which it exists; Nature has a way of making itself heard loud and clear. When it comes to devising solutions, however, we’re on our own. So be worried.

    A reduction in our species’ “carbon footprint” is the key component in every climate change solution I’m aware of. And, without exception, in order to achieve a global reduction in carbon consumption, some sort of supranational enforcement mechanism is proposed. Consequently, all the policies offered as solutions to climate change today are policies that would transfer power from the nationalist to globalist.

    There are those who would regard any such power transfer from the national to the global as frosting on the cake. Others, less sympathetic to the cosmopolites, regard that transfer of power as regrettable, but nevertheless worth it due to the severity of the danger posed by climate change. Unfortunately, both groups are hobbling our efforts to find a solution to climate change by tethering those efforts to yet another bureaucracy, making it more than likely whatever solution we come up with, it will be ineffective, expensive, and hopelessly political.

    But that’s not the half of it. The transfer of political power from the nationalist to the globalist actually diminishes the likelihood humanity will adopt the one climate change solution that would actually be effective, the one solution that would not only drastically reduce the rate of growth of per capita carbon consumption, but could quite possibly achieve the impossible dream of an actual reduction in worldwide per capita carbon consumption. Moreover, it is a solution that could be implemented tomorrow, and not only would it not be expensive to implement, it would result in lower government spending. A supranational response to climate change–with the attendant transfer of political power from the nation to the globe and the consequent further eroding national borders–makes it harder to bring an end to the immigration epoch.

    Using data from a Yale study on carbon footprint by country and demographic data from the CIA World Factbook, I discovered that the real back-breaker for the climate is that there is a mass movement of people from the low carbon-consuming countries to the high carbon-consuming countries. And that’s something we COULD do something about.

    The impact is stark. The difference in the year at which I was looking between the amount of carbon consumed by migrants in their new countries and the amount they consumed in the old was 19,062,351,983 tons–as much as the entire country of Morocco consumes in a year. And that’s per capita increase.

    Worse, while climate change activists are insisting each human must reduce their individual carbon footprint, high rates of immigration appear to increase even the per capita consumption of carbon in the receiving country on top of the net increase of consumption on the part of the migrants themselves.

    As it turns out, it doesn’t matter what characteristic you choose to compare to a country’s carbon footprint, nothing correlates with a high and growing carbon footprint like high immigration.

    Total population, population growth rate, population density, size of country’s land area, fertility rate, median age, and tough environmental laws all came in with r < .1 –essentially no correlation. Urbanization showed a .28 positive correlation–more than double any other variable.

    There was one exception: percent of the population who are migrants. That variable blew them all out of the water with a .54 correlation. The countries that consume the most carbon, it seems, have an equally strong appetite for cheap immigrant labor.

    So, what about those climate warriors demanding we nationalists turn over a bunch of power and money to the globalists so they can "save the planet" from climate change? Don't buy it. It's a naked power grab and nothing more.

    Want to save the planet? End the immigration epoch.

    1. But, Devil, there’s not the slightest reason to believe that lowering CO2 will change the climate trajectory at all. The natural experiment was conducted in 1929-1931, when human CO2 production went down by 30%, CO2 rise continued in languid fashion, and temp kept rising to 1941. At which point, during WWII and postwar reconstruction, temps went down – only slightly, but enough to generate the headlines “New Ice Age Coming” – see Time and Newsweek and ScienceNews in the early 70s.
      Arrhenius was observant enough and honest enough to note that the GHG effect of CO2 declines exponentially, with 50% of its effect in the first 20 ppm.
      We are in the fifth half-life of that decline, so the next doubling to 800 ppm will increase its GHG effect by less than 2%.

      And, of course, there has never in 550 million years been a temperature reversal preceded by a CO2 change. Have you thought of sacrificing a virgin, if you can find one?

  37. The earth’s climate has always been changing since its formation about45 billion years ago. About 20,000 years ago the top two or three tiers of the US states were covered with snow. Man is also producing climate change by deforestation, urban heat islands, irrigation, and other changes. There is an excellent app for modeling changes in the earth and earth’s climate with time. See the app by CR Scotese that vividly illustrates the changes in earth’s climate as a function of time. If one wants to learn about climate and climate change review the work of Roger Pielke Sr on Research Gate. His publication of peer reviewed research (679) and his citations by his peers (32,683) exceeds that of most Nobel Laureates (Research Gate). Pielke is a scientist’s scientist.

    1. The earth is about 4.5 billion years old. There should be a way to correct errors such as the omission of the period between 4 and 5 resulting in the erroneous value of 45 billion years for the age of the earth. I was unable to edit after posting.

  38. The problem Adler faces is well illustrated by this comment thread. His call for conservative approaches to climate change, and other environmental issues, presumes good faith on the part of the right.

    That presumption is unwarranted. The right does not care a whit about the environment. Adler should know that, and probably does.

    1. First of all, libertarians are not “the Right.” And your blanket statement about the Right not caring about the environment is so hackneyed as to not warrant addressing. But one thing conservatives do know is that it’s impossible to have good faith in the government, who mucks up everything it touches.

      Neither does the government ever do anything “conservatively.” What Adler should be calling for is an end to the kind of government meddling that does nothing to help the environment. He should be making the case for private action by individuals and businesses to work in their own best interest. NOT implementing more rules and regulations that are only designed to make people feel good but which accomplish nothing.

      1. And your blanket statement about the Right not caring about the environment is so hackneyed as to not warrant addressing

        “Hackneyed?” Maybe, because all the evidence supports it. Conservatives routinely fight any effort to improve environmental conditions.

        It’s almost as if they retrying to expiate Nixon’s sin of creating the EPA.

  39. Why bother debate if something that is completely fake exists. Just tell the people the sky is actually purple and make them believe it. What a joke.

  40. As a general rule, it is considered improper to impose sentence without first making a determination of guilt.

  41. “While there is still substantial uncertainty as to the precise consequences of increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, there is more reason to fear harmful effects, and seriously adverse scenarios cannot be ruled out. Like it or not, the science has continued to converge in support of the theory that human activity is contributing to a warming of the atmosphere.”

    You are blurring two quite different questions. I agree that there is good reason to believe both that global temperature is trending up and that humans are in large part responsible. But that doesn’t settle the question of whether the net effects are bad, very bad, neutral, or good.

    Most of the public discussion ignores the large positive effects. Doubling the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere increases the yield of most crops by about 30%, an enormous increase in the food supply. Unlike the arguments in the other direction, this one is well established by experiment, and has been for years. And it depends on only the first step in the causal chain, the increase in CO2. Claims about reduced food supply depend on very uncertain views about the effects of warming. It’s worth noting that the 4th IPCC report blamed AGW for increasing droughts, the 5th report retracted that claim. Hurricanes have not been increasing–increases in loss, as I believe the IPCC has conceded, are the result of more population and buildings in coastal areas.

    Sea level rise will shift coasts in, if not diked, but not by very much. The 5th report projected, at the high end of the high emissions scenario for the end of the century, a rise of about a meter, roughly half the distance between high tide and low, and enough to shift the average coastline in by about a hundred meters. Meanwhile, warming will shift temperature contours towards the poles, increasing the amount of land usable by humans by two or three orders of magnitude more than the loss due to SLR.

    Hotter summers will increase summer mortality, milder winters will decrease winter mortality. A _Lancet_ article some time back concluded that global mortality from cold is about twenty times as large as from hear. And the interaction between CO2 and water vapor, both greenhouse gases, means that warming will be greater in cold times and places, when there is little water vapor in the air, than in hot.

    I am old enough to remember the population scares of the 1960’s. The reason they were wrong was not that population was not increasing–it was. The reason they were wrong was that they assumed that the increase would have large negative consequences. The predicted consequences did not occur–nutrition in poor countries went up, not down, global extreme poverty went down, not up. Similarly here–the issue is not whether warming exists or is anthropogenic but what its net effects will be. That is a question we do not know enough to answer, but there is no good reason to believe they will be negative, let alone catastrophically negative.

    1. Thanks, David. A well-presented and factually based argument for society’s need to adapt to the warming trend rather than tinker with the chemistry while forcing society to assist.
      An old allegory, the Tower of Babel story, might be our ancestors’ warning about messing with things we shouldn’t “adjust”.

    2. Obama’s new $15 million dollar Martha’s Vineyard mansion he purchased in August of this year will be among the first properties to go. I guess he’s not too concerned.

    3. Absolutely right, Friedman!
      GHG warming definitively is
      more at night
      more in winter and
      more at the poles.
      And the next doubling of CO2 to 800 ppm will in theory increase its GHG effect by less than 2%

  42. INSANE. NO EVIDENCE. Think otherwise, spell it out.

  43. If the author were honest about his views, that climate change exists (which NO ONE denies) and humans should respond, then he would be equally exercised about the growing evidence that the climate is now changing in the direction of COOLING.

    An honest assessment would conclude that cooling kills humans in the tens of thousands, while warming is at best a minor inconvenience. Over all recorded history, human civilizations have thrived during warming periods and suffered and died during cooling periods.

    But this author is not honest. His argument that humans should respond to climate change is an oh-so-reasonable-sounding masquerade for his true argument– That climate change is only in the direction of warming and it is caused by humans and it will stop if only humans stop burning fossil fuels and if we don’t human civilization is threatened and we MUST spend scores of trillions dollars and upend our whole economy BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

    1. Right, geezer.
      The world has been cooling since the Holocene Optimum 8,000 years ago (wonder why they called it that, chaps? It was warmer.), with interval warmings since then: the Minoan, the Roman, and the Medieval – each warming slightly less than the previous.

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