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Manhattan Institute

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Adding Economic Catastrophism to Climate Catastrophism Does Not Help

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Adding Economic Catastrophism to Climate Catastrophism Does Not Help

National Review Online June 7, 2017
Energy & EnvironmentClimate

I recommend anyone interested in the climate debate read this column by Ryan Cooper at The Week for an illustration of how quickly premonitions of climate catastrophe can become muddled. Cooper has previously warned that climate change, left unchecked, “would quite literally threaten the existence of the United States as an organized community (and, needless to say, kill billions in poorer nations)” and that “hardcore climate radicalism must become an ironclad [Democratic] party commitment.” Here, he responds to my arguments that the projected costs of climate change are manageable and catastrophism like his unwarranted.

Cooper writes that we should not trust that economic growth and technological progress will allow us to cope with the effects of climate change because “if we are talking risk assessment, any future economic projections are on much shakier epistemological grounds than climactic ones.” Economic models assume continued growth, but “it could be that we’ll simply hit an insurmountable technological bottleneck in a decade or two and be stuck there forever.”

Cooper immediately disclaims this argument, saying “I don’t think that will happen,” that “a total stop does seem implausible,” and that....

Read the entire piece here at National Review Online

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Oren Cass is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

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