I wish Jim Manzi weren't so goddamned persuasive, but he's slowly convincing me that our current approach to climate change is doomed to fail and probably not worth trying. If you read one thing, read this post, and follow its links. Jim does not deny global warming or man-produced CO2's contributing to it. He's just unpersuaded that we can prevent anything more than a fraction of it at costs no one will want to pay. The collapse of the Lieberman-Warner bill is a harbinger. Money quote:

As far as I can see, proponents of emissions reductions will respond with four arguments: (1) inflate the analyzed costs of global warming by claiming the science actually now says things will be even worse than we previously thought, (2) inflate the analyzed costs of global warming by embedding indefensible discount rate assumptions in the black box of econometric calculations used by economists to conduct the cost-benefit analysis, (3) deflate the analyzed costs of emissions mitigation by claiming a free lunch – that there is a cost-free or low-cost way to radically reduce emissions, and/or (4) turn this into a moral crusade asserting that we have a moral duty to the poor of the world because of our past sins of emission. I have laid out responses to each of these objections: 1, 2, 3 and 4. When considered carefully, emissions mitigation proponents have no persuasive arguments.

I fear he's right. The key will be private and public innovation of non-carbon energy, and possibly carbon capture technology. Frankly, however painful it is for many, the high price of gas is perhaps the best anti-global warming non-policy there is.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to