Another depressingly clear example of public figures being uber clueless about matters scientific, not to mention economic! Sadly, though, it’s probably not that simple, as it’s hard to imagine being so willfully contentious without there being some significant (financial) incentive. Which version of “nearly all scientists who have studied this agree that we ought to be very nervous” does Barton not get? And what version of free-market economics did this guy study in school (assuming such radical events as studying happened in his misspent youth) where incentive didn’t lead to innovation and markets? We already have new cars and new industries in the hybrid market alone, and you can bet that a major cap on emissions would radically increase competition and investment in a whole host of arenas.
Frankly, I think it’s this last bit that really depresses me. Even if you have your doubts about how serious or imminent the threat is, these arguments against taking steps to improve the situation just make no sense. Fossil fuels are a finite resource, and burning them pollutes. These are indisputable facts. Burning less of them and more slowly would seem to just be common sense. Creating political and economic structures that encourage the exploration of alternative approaches would seem equally sensible. If the U.S. really is full of smart, creative people, let’s leverage them to find new ways to do things, and help them make plenty of good capitalist green in the process.
And, given the enormous lag times in these ecological systems, I would be especially inclined to do it early, before things have really hit the fan (assuming that hasn’t already happened, which isn’t entirely obvious).
We’ve obviously got to make it clear to these yobs that we the people think this is a serious issue that badly (if not desperately) needs attention. I certainly hope it becomes a major issue in the upcoming election cycle…No tag for this post.