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November 27, 2008

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Kimball Corson

It does not matter who is to blame for the climate change or what caused it. It is beyond the scope of our capacities to materially change the outcome, so why have a snitfit about it. It is like major macro economic forces: they are going to force the adjustments we need for economic sustainability and stability whether we like the process and outcome or not. It is sheer arrogance to believe we can materially change much in these quarters, but if some lunatics want to seed clouds, let them. A little rain never hurt anyone either.

Nathan Richardson

Mr. Corson:

Interesting - I've heard the hubris argument used by climate change skeptics (arguing essentially that humans lack the ability to influence the climate), but you seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum - a climate change fatalist. Are you really suggesting that we should do nothing about the problem because we are powerless to solve it? If so, that requires some support.

Even if it is possible/likely that we can't do anything about warming, don't we have to do the same kind of risk analysis we would anyway? For example, if you believe we have only a 10% chance of being able to materially affect the course of climate change, that shouldn't lead you to the conclusion that we should give up and do nothing - it should just cause you to discount the expected benefits of any action.

You analogize to "macro economic forces" - and I see your point, but I still don't think the conclusion is to quit talking about the problems and do nothing, as you appear to suggest. It may be true, for example, that oil prices will increase over the long run, and that we can do litle about that, but that doesn't mean we don't react. We can try to delay the problem by finding new sources of oil, and address its impact by switching away from hydrocarbons entirely.

Just because there is a "force" out there doesn't mean public policy just gives up.

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