Why We Can’t Delay on Global Warming

From ASLADIRT a rebuttal of the skeptics 

William D. Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, wrote an interesting rebuttal to global warming skeptics in the recent issue of The New York Review of Books. Obviously peeved that his research has been misused by those who argue warming isn’t really happening, Nordhaus gives a blow by blow account of how the skeptics are wrong.

Nordhaus writes that the arguments of warming skeptics can be summed up by a January 2012 editorial in The Wall Street Journal written by a group of scientists called “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” The article says “the globe is not warming, that dissident voices are being suppressed, and that delaying policies to slow climate change for fifty years will have no serious economic or environment consequences.” To counter this, Nordhaus argues that these scientists, some of which are at top universities, offer “incorrect or misleading answers.” He believes this is particularly dangerous given these public wranglings “muddy the waters” at a critical time.

While he agrees that there are still major uncertainties, why delay on acting on global warming and roll the dice? “Policies implemented today serve as a hedge against unsuspected future dangers that suddenly emerge to threaten our economies or environment. So, if anything, the uncertainties would point to a more rather than less forceful policy—and one starting sooner rather than later—to slow climate change.”

Furthermore, don’t listen to the skeptics who argue that systematic changes to regulations will have catastrophic effects on the economy: ”The claim that cap-and-trade legislation or carbon taxes would be ruinous or disastrous to our societies does not stand up to serious economic analysis. We need to approach the issues with a cool head and a warm heart. And with respect for sound logic and good science.”

Read Nordhaus’ full analysis in The New York Review of Books.

In related news, check out a worrying article in The New York Times explaining how U.S. forests aren’t holding up well in a warming climate (already), which is a major problem given trees are a key carbon sink that also help mitigate temperature rise.

Also, explore ASLA’s comprehensive resources on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Image credit: Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong / NY Review of Books

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