WPRI reporter Tim White tweeted that this New York Times article about the United Nations’ accelerated doom-saying about climate change is “truly terrifying.” My response was to ask if this section (emphasis added) doesn’t set off his alarm bells:
Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage would come at a cost of $54 trillion. But while they conclude that it is technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7 degrees of warming, they concede that it may be politically unlikely.
Look, one needn’t be a climate change skeptic to acknowledge the layers of assumptions that go into these scary warnings. First, one must ignore the lack of warming over the last two decades and assume that the models will be more accurate going forward. Then, one must assume that the change really does derive from human activity and that it’s possible to avert the worst. Then, another wave assumptions comes with predictions about the effect on weather, creating soaking rains where that will be harmful and droughts where that would be harmful, all coming together in a way that doesn’t equalize the effects (by, for example, simply moving where farming must be done). Add in the effect of technology and changes in energy production that have made the United States a leader in CO2 reduction. And don’t forget that one must balance the estimated $54 trillion in costs from warming against whatever the cost would be to rework our economy — including an assessment of the people who bear those costs.
Put that all on a scale that pivots on the promise that giving more power to the people who brought the warning, and a tempered reaction to the terror is justified.