than convincing people there is a problem and convincing people there is a problem has remained elusive. It might be easier if the people who telling us to be worried about climate change behaved as though there were a problem but they can’t be convinced to do that so there’s an impasse.
Meanwhile, I note that somebody, in this case Robert Samuelson, has noticed the difficulty of solving the problem, something I’ve been pointing out for some time:
It’s useful for environmental groups to have global warming “deniers” (and, of course, behind them the sinister oil companies) as foils. The subliminal message is that once the views of these Neanderthals are swept away, we can adopt sensible policies to “do something” about global warming.
The reality is otherwise. The central truth for public policy is: We have no solution.
From 2010 to 2040, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects global emissions will increase almost 50 percent. About 80 percent of global energy comes from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), which are also the major sources of carbon dioxide emissions. At present, we have no practical replacement for this energy. No sane government will sacrifice its economy today — by dramatically curtailing fossil-fuel use — for the uncertain benefits of less global warming sometime in the foggy future. (The focus of the U.S. global warming report on the present seems aimed at bridging this gap.)
I think the problem is actually slightly worse than he’s painting it. I think that any conceivable reductions in U. S. emissions will be more than offset by Chinese and Indian increases.
It seems to me that people who are genuinely serious would be paying a lot more attention to projects like Sandia National Laboratory’s “Sunshine to Petrol” project.
Or we could produce much, much more energy, presumably using nuclear reactors. With enough energy the problem becomes relatively easy to solve.