Climate Change

Ecomodernism Is the Solution to Man-Made Climate Change

The Breakthrough Institute's Ted Nordhaus urges Americans to reject both doomism and denialism.

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In "Ignore the Fake Climate Debate," an essay in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, the Breakthrough Institute's Ted Nordhaus cuts through the co-dependent alarmist/denier dialectic that drives headlines and fuels overheated tweet-fights. Americans should reject both climate doomism and climate denialism, he argues; ecomodernism is the best way forward.

First, Nordhaus points out that there is no real debate over the fact that human activities are boosting concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that this is contributing significantly to increases in average global temperatures. "In the fake climate debate, both sides agree that economic growth and reduced emissions vary inversely; it's a zero-sum game," Nordhaus writes. "In the real debate, the relationship is much more complicated."

Among the complications is that we're seeing more or less the opposite of the worst-case emissions scenario. Instead of being on a trajectory in which humanity burns 10 times more coal by 2100, the amount of carbon used to produce a dollar of GDP has fallen by more than half since 1990. Thanks to improving energy efficiency and ever-cheaper renewable energy supplies, Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado argues that global carbon dioxide emissions have likely ceased rising.

This is just one indication that humanity is becoming more technologically adept. And we will probably become more adept, because more and more of us are better off: While 36 percent of the world's population lived on less than $1.90 per day in 1990, today less than 10 percent do. Both technological prowess and rising wealth enable people to respond better to whatever weather extremes and natural disasters may occur in the future. Nordhaus cites a new study in the journal Global Environmental Change that reports "a clear decreasing trend in both human and economic vulnerability, with global average mortality and economic loss rates that have dropped by 6.5 and nearly 5 times, respectively, from 1980–1989 to 2007–2016."

Nordhaus' ecomodernist solution to climate change mirrors my own analysis from back in 2009: "It is surely not unreasonable to argue that if one wants to help future generations deal with climate change, the best policies would be those that encourage rapid economic growth. This would endow future generations with the wealth and superior technologies that could be used to handle whatever comes at them including climate change."

Taking economic growth and technological trends into account—along with the fact that the world's population will probably peak before 2100—the Breakthrough Institute's Zeke Hausfather and the University of British Columbia's Justin Ritchie recently calculated that the real business-as-usual trajectory of future emissions would result in an increase of global average temperature of about 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Challenging, but not apocalyptic.

So Nordhaus is certainly right when he concludes:

The utopian dreams of those who wish to radically reorganize the world to stop climate change are not a plausible global future. Nor will denying the relationship between carbon emissions and global warming make the real risks of climate change go away. The world will tackle this problem the way that it tackles most other problems, partially and incrementally, by taking up the challenges that are right in front of us—adaptation, economic development, energy modernization, public health—and finding practical ways to address them.

Disclosure: I have had the pleasure of attending several Breakthrough Dialogues and participating in discussions where I made the case that supporters of free markets are natural ecomodernists.

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  1. Thanks for the information. I will look for and follow these ideas. There is little real debate on the fact that climate change is occurring. There are of course deadender, but everything tells us that people in the know (businesses and military) recognize the problem and are planning for its impacts. The real debate should be how we address this problems and I welcome all thoughts.

    1. Just because people who run large institutions buy into something doesn’t mean it is true or isn’t’ a panic. The people in the military don’t know shit about climate change. What they know is what is fed to them. Moreover, the people in DOD pushing it are doing so with a political agenda. That doesn’t mean they are wrong but it hardly means they are right or an appeal to their authority is persuasive much less conclusive.

      1. As I noted, there will always be deadenders.

        1. No. you just told the board that you think begging the question counts as argument. Try harder and people will take you more seriously

    2. The problem is if you give the Eco warriors the benefit of the doubt of admitting there is a problem that gives them a license to say we must do something. So just saying no there isn’t a problem and doing nothing is probably the best course of action one can take as it’s probably better net than doing anything anyway.

      1. Doing nothing is a poor strategy. Applying solutions early means you have options that allow for free market idea. Waiting generally means a bigger solution and more need for government actions.

        1. no it really doesn’t. We’ve cut are emissions by a great deal using capitalism and efficiency’s and we weren’t even part of kyoto protocol yet were one of the few that met the emission goals anyway. We did that by doing nothing and relying on markets.

          1. We didn’t do nothing we fracked like hell and switched electricity generation to natural gas.

            1. Free market searching for efficiency all by itself.

        2. Problem is those ‘solutions’ usually mean handing out crony subsidies to crack pot companies and higher taxes (ie carbon) that will do exactly sweet fuck all except to make countries and people poorer.

    3. So, tell us what ‘climate change’ you have experienced?

      1. Walleyes (a popular sport and eating fish) populations are down in northern Wisconsin. As the water warms and bass move into the area and eat the walleye fry.

        1. Except that the population movements don’t cleanly line up with the measured atmospheric temperature changes.

          They do, however, line up reasonably well with water temperature changes that are the result of industrial releases, run-off and things we do that directly affect the local water.

          1. We are talking northern Wisconsin, industrial release and run-off are almost none existent.

            1. Well, given the results of this study which focused on Canadian waste heat discharges (that is, even further north), I’m inclined to disagree with your assertion.

              1. The paper you referenced does not address wildlife but rather the warming of waterbodies. It is also talking about Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence both of which are more north but also more eastern and more heavily impacted by urban discharges, including Quebec and Montreal. Northern Wisconsin waterways are much more isolated and more impacted by global temperature rises. I suggest as an alternative paper the following;

                Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2018, 75(12): 2291-2301, https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2017-0311

                This directly points to climate change as a factor in walleye population decline.

    4. I will address global warming with air conditioning, just like I did when I moved to Texas. And by not buying a house in a low lying coastal area, which not even the rich liberal climate crusading celebrity types seem to avoid.

    5. I disagree the debate is live and well. One question of many, how does increase CO2 effect the NAO both in theory and fact. Most people in the know who talk about the NAO agree it cannot be forecast for no more then 2 weeks in advance. This is a major player for both cold and snowstorms along the east coast. Please let me know with CO2 levels (without man made effect) how the NAO would be different this winter then what it has been so far.

  2. The bottom line is that the world is too big of a place for therre ever to be a “sollution” to this assuming it is even a problem. If a country wants to use coal, they will do so and there isn’t anything anyone is going to do about it short of invade and occupy them. And that isn’t an option when you are talking about places like China or India.

    The entire debate is just a fantasy. It is debating solutions that will never be implemented in any meaningful way to a problem that is uncertain to exist in the first place. No good can come of it. At best it is a waste of time and at worst it is an excuse for horrible infringements on people’s freedom.

    1. China does have a program to reduce coal. The air pollution there is unbearable in many places.

      1. To the extent that is true is also to the extent that market forces apply there.

  3. “The Breakthrough Institute’s Ted Nordhaus urges Americans to reject both doomism and denialism.”

    Then he’s sure to be denounced by both sides.

    1. The fact that he calls anyone who questions this “denialists” doesn’t really help his credibility. Anyone who doesn’t entertain at least some doubt about AGW, even if they believe it to likely to be true, is just a believer and not being reasonable.

      1. And what do you call anyone who doesn’t entertain at least some doubt about asphalt getting hotter in the sun than white sand ?

        Thermodynamics doesn’t care what denialists believe.

        1. You know nothing about thermo, obviously…

        2. Thermodynamics has formulas.
          What’s the formula for climate?

          1. CO2 = opportunity to fleece the public for socialist goals

        3. “And what do you call anyone who doesn’t entertain at least some doubt about asphalt getting hotter in the sun than white sand ?”

          Dunno, but we can see that you’re beating hell out of that strawman.

        4. A skeptic?

          The cynic in me thinks using the term ‘denier’ is by design and reminiscent of witch hunters.

          I have a hhhhhuge problem with people who should know better using that stupid word.

          It suggests a ‘settled’ conversation or one in which the base line to a discussion is ‘ man made climate change is real’.

          I’m sorry. I reject this outright.

          Noting is settled and if I’m a ‘denier’ for being open, then I reserve the right to call the people who push extreme alarmism ‘cultists’.

          See how that works?

  4. “It is surely not unreasonable to argue that if one wants to help future generations deal with climate change, the best policies would be those that encourage rapid economic growth. This would endow future generations with the wealth and superior technologies that could be used to handle whatever comes at them including climate change.”

    It should be pointed out to denialists that this is something we should be doing regardless of whether AGW is real or a threat.

    The emphasis on economic policies that favor the distribution of wealth over its creation with accelerated growth has all sorts of negative impacts that have nothing to do with climate change.

    If there is anything we should be doing differently because of climate change, surely it’s those things we should be doing differently anyway–regardless of whether climate change is real.

    1. What solution is there to climate change that doesn’t involve making some forms of energy artificially expensive? None that I can see. If nuclear or some other form of energy becomes cheaper than fossil fuels, that source will replace fossil fuels without any government or collective action needed.

      So anyone talking about a “solution” is almost certainly advocating making energy prices artificially high and implementing some kind of centralized economic planning.

      1. There isn’t one this whole thing is a backdoor way to stratify our class structure in this country and keep the poors and thirdworlders from developing anyway they can. These people love the lifestyle being a capitalist society has brought them and hate all the downsides of it. They want to live in a world where everyone but them is relegated to public transit and stuck working where they live like some kind of feudal caste system.

        1. Goes hand in hand with open borders.
          “Libertarians” for serfdom!

      2. Take electric cars.

        The dream is to phase out gas and use electric. Fine.

        But there’s no way in hell they’re going to achieve this in the time frame they’re suggesting (there are all kinds of obstacles economically, engineeringly, environmentally scientifically and culturally (the last one is conveniently ignored) to consider) is completely unrealistic unless they ram through policies to meet the standards. And that means a lot of pain for citizens.

        More than we think.

      3. “What solution is there to climate change that doesn’t involve making some forms of energy artificially expensive? None that I can see.” if only the article could have said something about reducing demand by making more efficient use of all forms of energy! Reading is fundamental, son.

        1. Yeah because people don’t already have the motive to do that. Reading is fundamental. Try reading and economics book you fucking moron. My God, how do people as dumb as you appear to be exist?

      4. “What solution is there to climate change that doesn’t involve making some forms of energy artificially expensive? None that I can see.”

        There are a million different solutions, and each one of us should be free to implement them if we choose within the context of markets–as each of us sees fit.

        Here’s one solution: blankets. Instead of burning oil during the winter, some people might choose to set their thermostats lower at night and use more blankets instead. Cheaper forms of energy are not the only solution. Entrepreneurs inventing, developing, and marketing products that use less energy brings all sorts of other solutions.

        What about the smart thermostat? That doesn’t require more energy. It’s a tool for people who choose to minimize the amount of energy they consume–and save money.

        Here are a couple of other solutions:

        1) People choosing to move to parts of the countryh with more temperate climates.

        There are plenty of places to live where it doesn’t get so cold in the winter and doesn’t get so hot in the summer. The reason retired people migrate to warmer climates isn’t just because it’s more pleasant. It’s also because their incomes are fixed, and living in a place with warmer temperatures requires less income.

        2) People choosing to work from home.

        You can eliminate your daily commute that way.

        I can think of plenty more. The point is that there are all sorts of ways that individuals can substitute other things for energy within the context of markets, and everything we do that lets individuals or companies keep more of their income, that stops the government from confiscating their capital gains, that deregulates the economy and makes it less expensive for people to make different choices will necessarily be a good thing.

        . . . and those are all things we should be doing anyway.

        Socialism is about government taking effective ownership of industry, government redistributing wealth, and government setting prices. Taxing corporate profits is the government taking effective ownership of industry. They are confiscating profits as if they were shareholders. Taxing income and capital gains is a wealth redistribution program. These are socialist policies that should be dismantled regardless of whether AGW is a problem for all the same reasons we should dismantle socialism anyway.

        Meanwhile, IF IF IF AGW is a legitimate problem, the millions of solutions that entrepreneurs will need to finance and innovate will be best served by a system that doesn’t discourage investors from investing in those solutions because the government will confiscate a portion of their capital gains when the stock rises and because the government will confiscate a fat chunk of the profits via corporate taxes.

        To whatever extent socialism promotes innovation, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the innovation enjoyed by market participants in a capitalist system. The reasons silicon valley didn’t emerge in Moscow under the Soviet Union isn’t because the Russians were no good at science and math. If and when we come up with better and cheaper forms of energy, that’ll be great. Regardless, we’ll want more innovation.

    2. I maintain it’s better to be called a denialist and troglodyte and cut them off at the pass by not even giving ground to the possibility of even needing a “solution” that will inevitable result in a warmer world anyway.

      1. I just look at the people who are doing the climate change is real screaming. There are some troubling ideas from rationing to population control. And everything in between.

        It’s communism by other means. It’s an opening for the left. Environmentalism is the Trojan Horse one can say.

        Fuck that.

      2. The worst possible outcome is definitely that we sacrifice our standard of living, and it doesn’t make any difference.

        I hope it’s clear that I’m not calling for anyone to sacrifice their standard of living by referring to people as “deniers”.

        The things I’m calling for are associated with increased standards of living rather than sacrifice. If anyone would have to sacrifice under the libertarian capitalist changes I’m advocating, it would be government bureaucrats whose useless jobs would no longer be financed with corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, and income taxes.

        Like I keep saying, the best things we can do to help in the fight against climate change are the things we should be doing anyway–regardless of whether climate change is a real problem. The left has persuaded a lot of people that climate change can only be fought with authoritarian socialism. They’re lying about this just like they’re lying about everything else. Don’t believe the hype.

    3. “…The best policies would be those that encourage rapid economic growth…”

      For who? And at what cost? In a vacuum, sure, let’s make the Third World good little Rotarians, living an American lifestyle. It’ll cut down their population growth, if nothing else. But not if it means the West needs to take it in the ass financially for the next 30 years.

      What are the tradeoffs for these proposed policies of ecomodernism?

      1. “For who? And at what cost? “

        Eliminating the capital gains tax would benefit both entrepreneurs and the people who benefit from their inventions.

        Slashing the income tax benefits both the wealthy and unskilled workers, the latter of which are only competitive on cost. Why should the government artificially inflate the cost of employing unskilled workers–so that more wealth can be redistributed?

        All of these are pro-growth policies, and I could go on all day. They may not benefit everyone equally, but neither do socialist programs that promote the redistribution of wealth at the expense of growth.

  5. There is no solution to Man-mad climate change. It doesn’t exist.

    I repeat. There. is. no. solution.

    1. Sure there is.
      Human sacrifice.
      But not some half assed bullshit.
      Sol and Gaia will accept nothing less than climate activists throwing themselves into active volcanoes

      1. I’d watch that, but it would probably be pay-per-view.

  6. Market based solutions? economic growth? Good luck getting the left involved in that, all their plans involve killing cows and white people.

    1. Does their plan include cooking the muscle tissue until it’s just this side of medium rare, and eating it? Because I’m good with that.

      (The cows, not the white people)

  7. the real business-as-usual trajectory of future emissions would result in an increase of global average temperature of about 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Challenging, but not apocalyptic.

    At this point, I’m now convinced the only reason people are trying to model/project this stuff 80 years into the future is to justify/rationalize the use of debt to deal with it. Or more accurately to rationalize the use of debt to look busy in pretending we are dealing with whatever we have predicted that turns out to be correct – while ignoring everything that turns out to gobsmack us. But hey when the future turns out to be different than expected – when black swans show up to poop on everything and create discontinuous crises, we can be sure the debt will still be there to make us pay for past mistakes.

    Thy wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
    Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
    Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
    But house or hald,
    To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
    An’ cranreuch cauld!

    But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain;
    The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!

    Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
    The present only toucheth thee:
    But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
    On prospects drear!
    An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
    I guess an’ fear!

  8. Facts, nuclear is a great way to produce electricity, natural gas is the best for home heating and cooking , not to mention electricity. and oil is best for transport and used to make so may products people want and need.

    1. If we made nuclear cheap enough we could manufacture hydrocarbons from water and atmospheric CO2.

  9. >>reject both doomism and denialism

    so just live? done.

  10. “In the fake climate debate”, there is a single variable, CO2, with a 1.0 correlation to temperature

  11. “First, Nordhaus points out that there is no real debate over the fact that human activities are boosting concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that this is contributing significantly to increases in average global temperatures.”

    So he is wrong from the first thing.
    Human activities are the ONLY activities reducing ‘global climate warming change’. Good old mother nature (God or Darwin as you prefer) ain’t doing a damn thing, so I don’t feel compelled to institute Fascism.
    Fact: CO2 is sometimes called plant food.
    Fact: Warmer temperatures open up additional farming lands, and can make existing lands more productive.
    Fact: No USA East cost city has been submerged, despite that being predicted since the sixties, to have occurred starting at the turn of the century.
    Fact: No government has ‘fixed’ a problem, real or imagined, outside of the problems of world wars.
    Now; you go do whatever you wish to increase or reduce your carbon footprint, but get off my lawn.

    1. there is no real debate over the fact that human activities are boosting concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that this is contributing significantly to increases in average global temperatures.

      Nordhaus is dead wrong. One need only review the terrible track record of the models to know the relationship is complex with CO2 a minor player, if relevant at all.

      Boosting economic and technological advance is always the right answer, regardless of the question.

  12. Man, the future is going to be awesome! I hope I live long enough to get there.

    1. See if you can reserve a spot in the cryofreezer next to Ron. He’ll be thawed out when his retarded technologically illiterate utopian fantasies come true. Which is to say sometime after the heat death of the universe.

  13. Nordhaus is half-right in the opening premises. Maybe two-thirds depending on how you count it.
    Yes, there is no debate that human activities are boosting concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    Yes, there is no debate that human activity is contributing to increases in average global temperatures.
    No, there is still considerable scientific debate and research over whether those contributions are “significant”.

    The rest of the article is okay.

  14. Poor old Ronny just doesn’t get it. There is no scientific proof that CO2 can cause more than just a blip in temperatures. But I understand. His scientific training leaves much to be desired. Maybe he could get a job raking leaves in the fall, when ‘climate change’ is very apparent….

  15. The reason behind coal emissions fell precipitously from projections isn’t because of renewable energy or a move towards energy efficiency—though those help—it’s because those sources of power have switched over to natural gas. Which isn’t renewable or carbon-neutral, last I checked.

    1. nor is natural gas sustainable even in the pretty short-term. The huge increase in production was financed by subsidized debt taken out partially in the aftermath of 2008 and partially as a consequence of slightly earlier lease requirements. Which is great – free money up front means you don’t even need to include interest in the price. Subsidized debt = cheap energy. Let the good times roll.

      Only an absolute party-pooping asshole would point out that that debt needs to get paid off (ha ha) or rolled over (ha) at some point. And golly – $1.2 trillion (and god knows how many trillions in swaps levered on that) will be coming due in the energy sector from 2022-2024. Hmm – looks like 10/15 and maybe a few 20 year bonds coming due. All of which is now junk (excludes the actual investment grade stuff in the sector) – at the boomingest point ever in America when the future is so bright – where are them damn shades.

      One thing is for sure though. The denialists will crawl out of the woodwork demanding taxpayer bailout and subsidy when that shit hits the fan. That won’t be some BS subsidy for autistic hipsters and their commie windmills. Nor is it really even a subsidy because good hard-working Americans don’t ever do ‘subsidy’. No sirree. This is an investment in making America great again. Reducing our dependence on the Middle East so we can continue to fuck around in the Middle East without the consequences that might ensue if we were dependent on the Middle East while fucking around in the Middle East. This is national security. Defense. Patriotism. Anyone who opposes that is a traitor and probably a closet raghead too.

      1. Hey, Hank Phillips changed his name!

        1. JFree is his own special kind of stupid. Hank Phillips is just a historically illiterate old drug addict who blames his Republican parents for not letting him having weed when he was a kid. JFree is psychotic stark raving fucking lunatic who thinks that the CIA ruined the glorious Chavez regime, among other things.

      2. It’s funny because literally not single dime of subsidy or taxpayer money has gone into the natgas or oil industry while over a trillion dollars in direct subsidies and transfer payments have been spent on your masturbatory ”””””green energy””””” fantasies that do more environmental damage than the oil industry does in a century.

        It’s almost like you’re a deranged psychotic lying cunt conspiracy theorist or something.

      3. No one here will be supporting any bailouts for oil and gas OR ANY OTHER companies. O&G pay billions in lease payments every year, and of course the state and fed governments add a lot to the price of fuel, so O&G are subsidizing everyone, albeit indirectly.

        What do you think will happen if/when those payments decrease significantly? It won’t be pretty.

  16. I don’t mind the last paragraph. I can do without the ‘denial’ lingo.

    “Taking economic growth and technological trends into account—along with the fact that the world’s population will probably peak before 2100—the Breakthrough Institute’s Zeke Hausfather and the University of British Columbia’s Justin Ritchie recently calculated that the real business-as-usual trajectory of future emissions would result in an increase of global average temperature of about 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Challenging, but not apocalyptic.”

    Right. Because trend forecasting is set in stone. A lot can happen before then. Haven’t we learned to be careful with this prognostication stuff? We can’t even predict the markets accurately (we’re accurish at best) and that involved actually HUMAN activity but we’re gonna punch in some numbers and – presto! – understand Mother Nature when we don’t even comprehend human nature?

    Man the hubris.

    I trust Ron read the study and hopefully the models used are sound but, as we know, more often than not the models are bogus and manipulation of data marks the cottage industry aplenty. Can you confirm the methodology is sound, Ron? Just curious.

  17. Prior to the Industrial Revolution the world was dying from lack of CO2. Plants can use CO2 up to 1400 ppm. We aren’t destroying the planet we are saving it!

  18. Ron finds the salvation from his pseudoscientific death cultism in his technoutopian masturbatory fantasies.

    Cool story, Ron.

  19. “First, Nordhaus points out that there is no real debate over the fact that human activities are boosting concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that this is contributing significantly to increases in average global temperatures.”

    The first part about no real debate about humans increasing CO2 concentrations is true. The second assertion about no real debate that this is causing significant increases in temperature is an absolute lie. The mainstream media refuses to cover it and the anti real science “the debate is settled”, “now is the time to act” crowd are actively trying to silence the debate.

    There is plenty of debate about whether it’s causing significant warming. Hell, there is plenty of real evidence and debate as to whether current warming trends are not almost entirely natural climate cycles. And there is plenty of debate on how much stock one should put into the global warming narrative considering the climate zealot’s track record of manipulating data, horribly inaccurate predictions and attempting to silence opposing points of view not to mention the obvious conflict of interest that pushing their narrative is vital to keep getting research funding.

  20. First, Nordhaus points out that there is no real debate over the fact that human activities are boosting concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that this is contributing significantly to increases in average global temperatures.

    Why do you people always do this?

    First, you must accept my entire premise as fact.

    And then, any action taken will also do so, with the purpose of ignoring anything you might say.

    Finally, all actions will be directed at working with or on the premise that you must just accept.

    The fact that every single prediction made using my premise has been wrong? Nothing to see. The fact that my premise can’t even prediction known past instances with all variables known and entered? Who would care about such a thing?

    My premise is simply fact.

    Because.

    No wonder you fuckers have made a saint out of a 16 year old girl–you all share her reasoning capability.

    “I’m right. Because.”

  21. “Why do you people always do this?

    First, you must accept my entire premise as fact.

    And then, any action taken will also do so, with the purpose of ignoring anything you might say….”

    It’s been how they’ve rolled in all of the impeachment articles so far.

    …there’s really not much question about the facts of the case at this point. The first article of impeachment says Trump tried to get a foreign government to conduct an investigation of one of the president’s chief political rivals—something that clearly happened, since Trump literally did it while standing in front of TV cameras on the White House driveway.

    I’ve heard of ‘stealing a base’ in an argument; these people are trying to steal the entire run.

  22. “Americans should reject both climate doomism and climate denialism…”

    I adhere to optimistic muddle-throughism.

    “… along with the fact that the world’s population will probably peak before 2100”

    Fact? At best a guess.

  23. More liberal art majors “finding” their meaning in life sounds more like it. Climate Change Zealots are ridiculous…it is always about taking our liberties away so they can ‘save the world” while making themselves billionaires…pretty much every govt program works this way…usually very inefficient, bloated, ineffective or actually causes the problems it is set up to fix and very lucrative to the well connected folks. Housing, Banking and now “Climate change” will ensure the “right” folks become very very rich.

    Please stop publishing this writer on Reason until he takes and passes a few calculus based physics classes and differential equations…he might then be able to ask some tough questions to the religious zealots..

  24. Can someone find out Mr. Norhaus’s background? It seems he went to Berkeley and has sold himself as an “eco expert”..with family members all in the eco “meal ticket” movement. I sense he is typical of a certain group of liberal art majors from NYC who seem to become “experts” in the media’s eyes due to their connections and perhaps cultural affiliations.

    WE don’t need any more self appointed experts to run our lives..

  25. “Challenging, but not apocalyptic.”

    These projections are just models. Economic modeling based on already questionable climate modeling. And a 3 degree increase could well be catastrophic for food production if summer heat waves are lengthened or intensified, as one would expect in a normal distribution of temperatures.

    1. I suspect food production will move the other way. Somewhere I read that NASA has detected increases in continental mass. When examined, it turns out to be increased plant matter (esp., forests).
      The “greenhouse” label is fitting. A warmer world will be a wetter world (more evaporation from the oceans). And CO2, as someone else said here, is basically plant food. Add to this that the world’s land masses are somewhat V-shaped; with less land at the southern isthmus and more at higher latitudes. As increased heat makes Mexico and Algeria less pleasant, that same heat is slowly converting frozen Canada (and/or Russia) into a garden.
      More arable land, more rain, and more plant food / CO2 should all make for more food.

      1. The CO2 is not so much a problem as the heat. The food crops we eat like wheat are vulnerable to intense heat. A warmer climate in the frozen wastes of Canada won’t change it into a garden. A garden needs soil and the Canadian Shield doesn’t have the soil required. Not for large scale commercial agriculture.

  26. Our economy encourages greed and waste. When cash flow is the priority, our things are made cheaply and disposable. The cycle from resources to landfill is fast and short.

    We lament when the plastic straw factory closes.

    Simply requiring that products last 30 years would immediately change our economy, and reduce our pollution. We’d still have the same things, we just wouldn’t throw them away so quickly.

    It takes a special kind of ignorance, greed and apathy to refuse to recognize the benefits of making things to last.

    1. And simple minded mandates to make things last longer than they need to would waste resources by making stuff more costly to make.

      If you want less waste, make people pay to dispose of their trash, and liable for any damage their pollution does to others.

      1. Paying after the fact for “damages” doesn’t undo the suffering.

        Regulations to prevent suffering are the basis for civilization.

    2. “Simply requiring that products last 30 years would immediately change our economy”

      Easy to say, hard to do. Allowing the government this authority would completely upend both our economic and legal system. Careful what you ask for, you might get it (good and hard).

      Reminds me of a SNL skit where congress had the CEO’s of the big three automakers in for hearings. Quote from a legislator, “We’ve passed laws requiring cars to get 135 MPG. We’ve done our part, why haven’t you stepped up?”

      (Not that I disagree, my mother bought a set of Hamilton Beach kitchen appliances which lasted between 35 and 45 years. No such product is even available since no one would be willing to pay $200 for a toaster. It’d be nice to at least have the option.)

      1. When cheap plastic toasters are no longer available, by regulation, if you want one, you’ll pay what it costs,

        You’ll probably want to keep it for 30 years.

  27. A warmer climate is better for human civilization, agriculture, and animals. Earth is barely in the habitable zone around the sun. We’re on the edge of an ice age if things go the wrong way for a few years. People have been moving to warmer climates for decades, now we get the warmer weather at no extra cost.

    I just don’t get how so many people buy into the “extinction crisis” rhetoric. I guess their lives are void of meaning and they’re looking for some sense of importance.

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  29. I love the rise above it all concept that is being asserted in this article. But it fails its major test by stating if is a fact that human C02 emissions are “contributing significantly” to the earth warming.

    I mean, how do you go from “don’t be a doomdayer” and still feel a lack of hypocrisy when stating “contributing significantly?”

    This “contributing significantly” is not an established fact, and is very much in question. So no, I can’t buy in to your initial premise, which sadly then takes away from the rest of what you are trying to say.

    At this point, I’m tired of scientific articles and conclusions using words like significantly, majority, most, much, and so forth. I’m tired of climate change advocates claiming such things without actually being able to quantify what “significantly” means. What amount? How much? What are the exact, or near exact values? Stop with the wishy washy words and tell me how much, otherwise, claims such as “contributing significantly” really start to hold no weight because it’s clear you can’t actually tell me how much.

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  31. “First, Nordhaus points out that there is no real debate over the fact that human activities are boosting concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that this is contributing significantly to increases in average global temperatures.”

    The problem with this article is that is assumes something to be true that hasn’t been proven to be true. That “something” is that humanities’ actions are what is driving climate change.

    CO2 is a primary plant food and is responsible for more than 40% of the increase in food production since the 70’s. Plants thrive on CO2 levels up to 1200 ppm. This is why professional greenhouse growers install CO2 generators in the greenhouses. CO2 concentrations aboard Navy submarines regularly exceed 5000 ppm with no ill effects.

    Climate is primarily driven by solar activity (number of sunspots and light emittance) as well as axial tilt and axial wobble. The topic is complicated but that doesn’t mean we don’t know what is happening. Man can do a lot of damage to the planet but at least with real pollution we can fix it. The same is not true of climate change.

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