Odd Column on Global Warming

Robert Samuelson wrote an odd column on global warming today, which claims that recognizing warming is due to greenhouse gases is not useful to solving the problem. He claims that only technology will solve the problem.

The trouble with the global warming debate is that it has become a moral crusade when it’s really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don’t solve the engineering problem, we’re helpless.

Well that’s a no brainer. Samuelson has concentrated heavily on economics in his reporting, so it is surprising that the question he seems to be avoiding is: Where will the economic motivation to replace fossil fuels come from?

Governments can put in place policies to make fossil fuels more expensive or limit their use, but only if people are convinced that it is necessary. The recent boom in windpower has come about due to tax incentives, and wind power has become more competive.

First you have to recognize that you have a problem. Recognition by itself does not solve the problem, but neither does sticking your head in the sand.

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One Response to “Odd Column on Global Warming”

  1. I think the solutions are there, but they will cost money. Not a huge amount of money, but they’re not free, either.

    So, is that an “engineering problem” (we just can’t do it unless the solutions not only solve the problem, but pay for themselves too)? Or an economic problem?

    And why isn’t it something of a moral problem? Don’t we have some sort of moral obligation to preserve the carrying capacity of the planet for future generations?

    Tom Gray
    American Wind Energy Association

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