17 February 2010

Retreating to a Comfort Zone

With prospects for U.S. cap and trade legislation now completely extinguished, it is interesting to see some of the most vocal supporters of cap and trade silent on the implications of its failure and what should be done next on climate policy. Instead, Thomas Friedman and his favorite climate expert have decided to fall back onto debating the science and increasing emphasis on warring with the "deniers." Friedman writes today:
It is time the climate scientists stopped just playing defense.
Do we really need a further politicization of climate science? Haven't we had enough of that already?

Friedman's emphasis on stirring up the climate science wars is a shame because it obscures a really important point that he makes:
Even if climate change proves less catastrophic than some fear, in a world that is forecast to grow from 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion people between now and 2050, more and more of whom will live like Americans, demand for renewable energy and clean water is going to soar. It is obviously going to be the next great global industry.
What is this? There is good reason to decarbonize the global economy independent of uncertainties about climate change? You'll be hearing much more about this from me in coming months.