Global Warming - Some Convenient Truths

Global Warming - Some Convenient Truths - Some Convenient...

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Some Convenient Truths Runaway global warming looks all but unstoppable. Maybe that’s because we haven’t really tried to stop it by Gregg Easterbrook ..... If there is now a scientific consensus that global warming must be taken seriously, there is also a related political consensus: that the issue is Gloom City. In An Inconvenient Truth , Al Gore warns of sea levels rising to engulf New York and San Francisco and implies that only wrenching lifestyle sacrifice can save us. The opposing view is just as glum. Even mild restrictions on greenhouse gases could “cripple our economy,” Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri said in 2003. Other conservatives suggest that greenhouse-gas rules for Americans would be pointless anyway, owing to increased fossil-fuel use in China and India. When commentators hash this issue out, it’s often a contest to see which side can sound more pessimistic. Here’s a different way of thinking about the greenhouse effect: that action to prevent runaway global warming may prove cheap, practical, effective, and totally consistent with economic growth. Which makes a body wonder: Why is such environmental optimism absent from American political debate? Greenhouse gases are an air-pollution problem—and all previous air-pollution problems have been reduced faster and more cheaply than predicted, without economic harm. Some of these problems once seemed scary and intractable, just as greenhouse gases seem today. About forty years ago urban smog was increasing so fast that President Lyndon Johnson warned, “Either we stop poisoning our air or we become a nation [in] gas masks groping our way through dying cities.” During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, emissions of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, threatened to deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. As recently as George H. W. Bush’s administration, acid rain was said to threaten a “new silent spring” of dead Appalachian forests. But in each case, strong regulations were enacted, and what happened? Since 1970, smog-forming air
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This note was uploaded on 12/14/2009 for the course GOVT 32 taught by Professor Lind during the Spring '09 term at École Normale Supérieure.

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Global Warming - Some Convenient Truths - Some Convenient...

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