Slate has published my reply to economist’s Steven Landsburg’s ill-informed hit-piece, “Save the Earth in Six Hard Questions: What Al Gore doesn’t understand about climate change.”
The editor wisely cut out some of my snarkier comments (Note to self: Slate is not Climate Progress!) but kept the title: “Save the Earth in Two Not-So-Hard Questions: What Steven Landsburg doesn’t understand about climate change” and the last paragraph:
Landsburg seems to believe that only economists can discuss climate change seriously, while the rest of us are wasting everyone’s time: “If you’re not talking about discount rates and levels of risk aversion, you’re blathering.” Landsburg’s piece proves that you can talk about those things and still be blathering.
I do have a serious point to make in the piece. There are two key questions that everyone in the climate change debate needs to answer:
- How great a threat does inaction on climate change pose for future generations’ quality of life–and for life itself?
- Will significant action on climate change require sacrificing our quality of life in any meaningful sense?
To see that the answer to the second question is a definite “no,” you need to define the threat in question 1, which I do at length in my book (and on Climate Progress) and briefly in the piece. My bottom line: