Thursday, August 23, 2007

Reihan on Manzi on Climate Change

Maybe Arnie is finally going to push some Republicans and conservatives to get their heads out of their backsides, so the electorate has a choice between massive economic cuts climate model (Gore) and something other than Tom Coburn and Fred Thompson saying it's all a fabrication.

Essentially, Manzi was articulating a strategy for a Republican candidate: rather than continue to deny that anthropogenic climate change is real, an increasingly untenable position, conservatives ought to (a) accept that it is real, (b) advocate increased funding for research, and (c) advocate low-cost strategies for adaptation and mitigation. 

Substantively speaking, I am drawn to large-scale efforts to sharply reduce carbon emissions, like Al Gore and many other left-of-center environmentalists. But this is simply not a very smart political strategy. Why? The costs of climate change are uncertain, unpredictable, very diffuse, and (mostly) in the future. Someone like me, obsessed with the future and not averse to intervention, is strongly inclined to take action, indeed to take sweeping action. Someone who works in the automobile industry, or someone who is very tax-sensitive, will likely feel otherwise.

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