A Predictably Liberal Take on Global Warming


250 karl marx wiki.png

Jim Manzi slaps me with two charges of being a predictable liberal and one (implicit) charge of being insufficiently familiar with the blogging oeuvre of Jim Manzi. Your honor, I'd like to contest one of those charges. Manzi says I claim the science "now says things will be even worse than we previously thought," as a way to "inflate the analyzed costs of global warming." I think that pretty adeptly misses the point of my last post, so let me try making it again.

Once more: I don't think making a compelling case for regulating carbon emissions requires cherrypicking the most apocalyptic warming estimate. (The cherrypicking is sufficient but not necessary.) Even if we maximize the shared space of factual agreement -- by looking at the uncontroversial 2007 IPCC report -- it's fairly easy to find a compelling case for regulating emissions. That case doesn't rest on the prediction of a world in which Manhattan is underwater and global output -- much less American output -- falls by 10 or 15 percent. The case for regulation rests on those things happening to developing nations that are (1) less responsible for and (2) less able to adapt to climate change.  

Is that a predictable, moralistic, high-horse liberal crusade? Yup. But, happily and naturally, being predictable doesn't imply being wrong. And I don't even get the sense that Manzi thinks the crusade is "wrong." He just thinks it's "not as obvious" as I suggest. Well, inquiring minds can decide for themselves. Here's a link to the latest IPCC report. Give it a read.


Picture of some predictable liberal via Wikimedia Commons.
 

Presented by

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors at a world-class life sciences lab are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Videos

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Politics

Just In