Has the tide turned? Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund has an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal saying “many data-driven climate skeptics are reassessing the issue”.
In 1996 I defined the turning point of the discussion about climate science (the point where we could actually start talking about policy) as the date when the Wall Street Journal would acknowledge the indisputable and apparent fact of anthropogenic climate change; the year in which it would simply be ridiculous to deny it. My prediction was that this would happen around 2015.
But this Krupp piece is just a guest opinion. I’m not sure the WSJ has actually accepted reality yet. It’s just starting to squint in its general direction. 2015 still looks like a good bet.
Anyway Krupp asks for concessions from both sides:
If both sides can now begin to agree on some basic propositions, maybe we can restart the discussion. Here are two:
The first will be uncomfortable for skeptics, but it is unfortunately true: Dramatic alterations to the climate are here and likely to get worse—with profound damage to the economy—unless sustained action is taken. As the Economist recently editorialized about the melting Arctic: “It is a stunning illustration of global warming, the cause of the melt. It also contains grave warnings of its dangers. The world would be mad to ignore them.”
The second proposition will be uncomfortable for supporters of climate action, but it is also true: Some proposed climate solutions, if not well designed or thoughtfully implemented, could damage the economy and stifle short-term growth. As much as environmentalists feel a justifiable urgency to solve this problem, we cannot ignore the economic impact of any proposed action, especially on those at the bottom of the pyramid. For any policy to succeed, it must work with the market, not against it.
I think both propositions are obviously true. I wonder who would be made uncomfortable by the second one.