Idealism vs. Political RealitiesJune 3rd, 2008
Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.
David Cox writes in the Guardian on climate change: “It’s surely time for a change of tack. Or should we just wring our hands?”
A further excerpt:
Perhaps, it’s time to get real. Climate change activists should come to appreciate what religious reformers, communist revolutionaries and other utopian visionaries have learned before them. You can’t change human behaviour in the interests of the supposed greater good.
Nonetheless, warming hasn’t gone away, even if its character is less clear-cut than has been suggested by those urging us to make obeisance to it. What should we do about it?
The answer is surely to switch our efforts away from trying to change human behaviour towards other approaches to the problem. The most obvious is technological research into methods of alleviating warming. Up until now, mentioning this route has been considered a sinful attempt to divert attention from the hairshirt remedies on which the prophets of doom have insisted. Perhaps partly as a result, such research is proving surprisingly skimpy.
He raises a good point, which I’d characterize as, if efforts to put a meaningful price on carbon fail, what is plan B?