When determining if we should do anything about global warming, I propose a four-step approach:
1. Are global temperatures warming?
2. Do the negative consequences of the change outweigh the positive consequences?
3. Can we do anything that will reverse the change?
4. Do the net positive consequences of the action outweigh the net negative consequences of doing nothing?
Notice, the steps have nothing at all whatsoever to do with whether or not global warming is anthropogenic. The climate’s “naturalness” is actually irrelevant. If a 10 kilometer-wide asteroid were hurling toward earth at 100,000 km per hour, it would be a completely natural event. However, just because the meteor wasn’t anthropogenic doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t take actions to deflect it.
Notice also, that we could change question 1 from “warming” to “cooling” and the four-step approach still works. And quite frankly, cooling is probably a more historically problematic situation.
If the answer to any one of the above four questions is “No,” then we should do absolutely nothing about a changing climate. If the answer to all of the questions are “Yes,” then, and only then, should we take any actions.
This is not the discussion we have been having for twenty years. Instead, we have been chased onto an anthropogenic side path well worn by Rousseauian “modern man is bad” theorists. The discussion over naturalness is not only, as I have already said, irrelevant, it is also self-destructive, as the question itself presupposes that natural is good and that anything that deviates from it must be returned to a state of nature.
Peter Ferrara: Global Cooling is Here
Edited to add the word “net” to question #4 per a comment from a reader.