Don't Apologize for Being Honest about Climate Change
A response to Ross Douthat’s lukewarm lukewarmism
Writing about climate change in the New York Times, Ross Douthat describes “lukewarmers” as those who:
“accept that the earth is warming and that our civilization’s ample CO2 emissions are a major cause. They doubt, however, that climate change represents a crisis unique among the varied challenges we face, or that the global regulatory schemes advanced to deal with it will work as advertised. And they raise an eyebrow at the contrast between the apocalyptic, absolutist rhetoric with which these schemes are regularly defended and their actual details, which seem mostly designed to enable the globe’s statesmen to greenwash the pursuit of economic and political self-interest.”
Douthat placed himself among the lukewarmers and very graciously referred his readers to some of my recent work for a longer discussion of those themes. But his column was also quite gracious in conceding two problems with lukewarmism, which instead deserve rebuttal.
Douthat’s Problem #1: “No less than alarmism, lukewarmism can be vulnerable to cherry-picking and selection bias, reaching for any piece of evidence — and when you’re dealing with long-term trends, there’s a lot of evidence to choose from — that supports its non-catastrophic assumptions, even if the bulk of the data starts to point the other way.”
This is a generic critique that might apply to any position on any issue. School-choice advocacy is vulnerable to cherry-picking and selection bias, as is....
This piece originally appeared in National Review Online