18 Dec 2009

Jim Manzi Talks About the IPCC Consensus and Tom Friedman

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I loved this Jim Manzi guest post at MasterResource, particularly because I recruited him for the task. The irony is that the latest IPCC report does not support aggressive emission cuts. You’ll notice that the people who do propose such actions will say things like, “Things have gotten worse since the IPCC AR4 report came out, as this paper in Science suggests…” Here’s Manzi:

It is amusing to watch advocates of rapid, aggressive carbon dioxide emissions reduction, when confronted with the plain facts of the consensus scientific projections for climate change and its associated damages, move from “science says we must do this or die” to “well, actually, the science is pretty uncertain, so it’s possible that we might die,” and then proceed to some restatement of Pascal’s Wager.

Tom Friedman’s recent New York Times column is a perfect illustration of this logic. I’ll quote him at length, before demonstrating that his emission-cuts-as-insurance analogy breaks down once you plug in actual numbers…

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