I'll Move to Oslo

Michael Novak, theologian to the business class, has a heck of a post up arguing that we shouldn't care if carbon dioxide is making the earth warmer because, hey, when the earth was warmer hundreds of years ago Vikings established a colony in Greenland that later died off when the world got cold again.

Which is all great, I suppose, if you own waterfront property in Greenland (or, more to the point, property that will be on the waterfront once ice melts and sea levels rise) but is probably not going to be much consolation to drowning Bangladeshis or hurrican-ravaged residents of the Caribbean or Gulf coasts.

More to the point, what this sort of analysis misses is that thanks to carbon-generated warming the earth is going to warm up and then keep getting warmer. Something like a one-off increase in temperature of several degrees would be very disruptive, but it's certainly possible that it would be cheaper to simply adapt to the change rather than prevent it from happening. But that's not what's on the table. We're looking at a scenario where the earth gets warmer and then it gets . . . even warmer and where things get worse and worse and worse until maybe they get bad enough to precipitate an economic collapse bad enough to significantly reduce emissions.