The left-wing blogoworld was all in-a-tizzy yesterday over some (not so new) revelations about New York Times darlings Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner's new book SuperFreakonomics and specifically its chapter on global warming (or is it global cooling?).
Climateprogress.org takes specific issue with this SuperFreakonomics statement:
In other words: it’s illogical to believe in a carbon-induced warming apocalypse and believe that such an apocalypse can be averted simply by curtailing new carbon emissions.
For the record, it’s perfectly logical to believe that — indeed, I daresay most of the world’s leading climate scientists believe that if you could curtail all new carbon emissions (including from deforestation) starting now (or even starting soon), you would indeed avoid apocaplyse.
Climateprogress.org is taking a very extreme interpretation of the word "curtail." A standard conservative critique, which I believe is being made here by Levitt and Dubner's book, goes something like this:
If you believe that global warming is a catastrophic problem that requires extreme action right now, you cannot also claim that we can combat it relatively painlessly. There must be sacrifices.
The global warming alarmists like Al Gore try to have their cake and eat it too by hyping up the near-term catastrophic implications of global warming but saying that all we need to do is start gradually curtailing (not immediately cutting to zero) carbon emissions.
Certainly if you believe that new carbon emissions are the problem, then you believe that cutting them to zero you would avoid the global warming apocalypse. This is impossible. Like it or not, the world still runs on carbon and will run on carbon by necessity for the foreseen future. If you believe that we're at the carbon tipping point, gradual and (relatively) painless measures like Waxman-Markey are unacceptable. Catastrophic global warming alarmists cannot have their cake and eat it too.
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