But the anti-global-warming industry seems to be on autopilot, churning out books that only half-jokingly propose eating your pets. Others insist that Americans will have to restrict themselves to only one child, just like in authoritarian China. If those are the costs, free people will not pay them.
In response to popular reluctance, the Jeremiahs are not only getting more shrill, they're starting to resent democracy itself, sounding more and more like they want to make an end-run around the people.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, for example, has made no secret of his envy for China's ability to Get Things Done. In 2005, he wrote: "I cannot help but feel a tinge of jealousy at China's ability to be serious about its problems and actually do things that are tough and require taking things away from people." Last month, he lamented that the GOP's refusal to bend to Democratic cap-and-trade proposals demonstrated that our system of "one-party democracy" is worse than China's "one-party autocracy."
Meanwhile, an international bureaucracy pushes "global governance" to combat climate change, heedless of popular sentiment. America's founders revolted to protest too much taxation and too little representation. The notion that America will sacrifice its sovereignty and treasure -- and dogs! -- to reduce warming by a fraction a century from now is absurd.
If you cannot afford -- politically, morally or economically -- the solution to a perceived problem, then it's not a solution. We cannot afford to end the use of carbon-based energy, so a better strategy is to develop remedies for the bad side effects of carbon use.
That's the case Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner make in their book "SuperFreakonomics," which is already being torn apart by environmentalists horrified at the notion they might lose their license to Get Things Done as they see fit.
Is the atmosphere getting too hot? Cool it down by reflecting away more sunlight. The ocean's getting too acidic? Give it some antacid.
The technology's not ready. But pursuing it for a couple of decades will cost pennies compared with carbon rationing. Moreover, you just might get to keep your dog.