Economist Robert Samuelson examines the models that underlie the claim that we can overcome the effects of global warming at virtually no cost. (For example, he quotes the Environmental Defense Fund: “For about a dime a day (per person), we can solve climate change, invest in a clean energy future and save billions in imported oil.”). Such claims, Samuelson argues, are wildly — even dangerously — unrealistic.
The selling of the green economy involves much economic make-believe. Environmentalists not only maximize the dangers of global warming — from rising sea levels to advancing tropical diseases. They also minimize the costs of dealing with it.
Actually, no one involved in this debate really knows what the consequences or costs might be. All are inferred from models of uncertain reliability. Great schemes of economic and social engineering are proposed on shaky foundations of knowledge. Candor and common sense are in scarce supply.