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Nordhaus & Shellenberger Make a Crappy Argument

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyApril 2, 2006 12:09 AM


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This op-ed in today's New York Times, by "End of Environmentalism" prophets Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, is seriously weak. Actually, I would go so far as to call it lame. To wit:

We can agree to disagree on the causes of climate change. What we all must agree on, though, is that it poses a risk -- one for which we are woefully unprepared.

Yeah, right. If what we're seeing is natural that implies that it will go away. If what we're seeing is human caused that means it won't go away unless we clean up our act. The risk is therefore not the same, not by a long shot. That makes the issue of causation crucial--and it makes Nordhaus & Shellenberger's op-ed pretty pointless. Incidentally, and as Stoat pointed out, a similar illogic was apparent in President Bush's recent remarks on whether GW is natural or anthro. After raising the question, Bush then said, "Put that aside" as if it doesn't matter. Well, from the standpoint of determining what risks we're facing in the future, it matters a very great deal indeed.

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