I consider myself a global warming moderate; I believe that global warming is happening, but I don't think it will destroy the planet or throw us back into the Paleozoic.
I'm not sure the future benefits of doing stuff now to fight global warming are worth the present costs.
And I'm reasonably certain that it's all a moot point, anyway-- we won't be able to convince India and China and Africa (let alone Kentucky and Kansas) to sacrifice For the Good of the Planet and Future Generations.
Anyway, I've been impressed with the quality of information at the RealClimate blog, and so was pleased to run across "Real Climate Economics" (thanks Joseph).
And then I was disappointed.
The home page says: "The peer-reviewed literature demonstrates that there is rigorous economic support for immediate, large-scale policy responses to the climate crisis."
OK. "Rigorous economic support" -- is that the same as a general consensus among professional economists?
So I dig a little deeper, and read Frank Ackerman's "Climate Economics in Four Easy Pieces," which is a philosophical piece basically saying that we should assume that the worst is going to happen and we shouldn't try very hard to measure costs and benefits because our environment is priceless. And don't worry, because spending lots of money on global warming stuff will actually be GOOD for the economy.
Well. I'm not a big believer in assuming worst-case scenarios. That's a good way to do stupid stuff like spend money on an extended warranty for your IPod or invade Iraq. But reasonable people can disagree about the validity of the precautionary principle.
As for not trying to measure costs and benefits: What? How can we have a reasonable discussion without trying to get a handle on how big the problem, and how expensive the solutions, are? Yes, it's hard. Yes, reasonable people can disagree about what value to put on ecosystem destruction or species diversity. But what's the alternative? Just do what feels right? Spend as much as the public will bear? (That's what we'll actually end up doing, of course, but I was hoping for a more rational approach)
And if spending lots of money on global warming will create cool new technologies and create lots of jobs... well, wouldn't cost/benefit analysis show very low costs and very high benefits?
When I have more time, I'm going to give Real Climate Economics one more chance. Here's my "are they biased" test: Do they refer to at least one paper on their web site that computes the benefits of Global Warming on the climate in some places?
Or are they 100% gloom and doom?