We moved around a lot when I was growing up. I went to six different schools by the time I was in sixth grade, and lived in Melbourne (mild, like a California down-under), Seattle (rainy, lots of slugs), Anchorage (often quite cold indeed, but a great place to be a kid) and just Northeast of Santa Barbara (perfect weather almost all the time).
Maybe that's why Global Warming doesn't freak me out. I'm pretty confident about the human species' ability to adapt; I wouldn't choose to live in the snow like an Inuit or in the desert like a Las Vegan or behind a dike like a Netherlander, but I would adapt if forced.
Don't get me wrong-- I'm not a Global Warming Denier. The scientific evidence is pretty convincing that Global Warming is happening, and that we're almost certainly the cause.
I'm just skeptical that it will be a Global Environmental Crisis, and that it requires Drastic and Immediate Action. I think it would be easy to over-react and spend (say) a trillion or three dollars on a War on Global Warming. The War on Terror and the War on Drugs haven't exactly been shining examples of efficiency and effectiveness.
There's no such thing as a free lunch, so if we spend heaps of money fighting global warming that means we're not spending that money on something else. If the "something else" is a war overseas, then sign me up! Coming up with clean (or cleaner) energy solutions is certainly a more productive use of resources than killing people and blowing stuff up.
I'm not smart enough to figure out where the War on Warming should be on the list of Global Issues-- I have no idea if we should spend more money finding a cure for cancer, finding a way to burn coal that doesn't put carbon dioxide into the air, growing more corn for ethanol, producing solar cells to put on our houses, or banning cars that get less than 42 miles per gallon.
Nobody is that smart. I think the best we can do is create a society where smart, creative, dedicated people can work on the issues that they care about, and be confident that some of those smart people will figure it out.
PS: Looks like we're going to get biofuels in our home heating oil soon, just like we get ethanol in our gasoline-- not because it makes environmental or economic sense (it probably doesn't), but because somebody in our government thinks they're smart enough to know that doing so is The Right Answer.
I like making wild-ass predictions, so here are two:
1. Biofuels (of the sort they're mandating that we use now) will turn out to be worse for the environment, and more expensive, than oil/gas/coal, once all of the hidden costs are accounted for.
2. Within 25 years some smart person somewhere will figure out an insanely great way of creating energy, that's a lot cheaper and cleaner than anything we're using today.