Hey conservatives: Here’s a new way to talk about climate change

This week, leaders from 150 countries are meeting in Paris to discuss global solutions to climate change. The conference will likely be much of the same old song and dance we’ve seen among government leaders over the past few years: unanimous agreement on the threat of climate change, condemnation of “denialists,” and support for solutions like cap-and-trade and carbon taxes.

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Of course, the scientific reality is much more complex than politicians will admit. Matt Ridley explains in Scientific American:

The climate change debate has been polarized into a simple dichotomy. Either global warming is “real, man-made and dangerous,” as Pres. Barack Obama thinks, or it’s a “hoax,” as Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe thinks. But there is a third possibility: that it is real, man-made and not dangerous, at least not for a long time.

Liberals and conservatives can debate the science behind climate change until the cows come home. Ridley’s point is that even if you assume humans are contributing to climate change, the increase in temperature is nowhere near the doomsday predictions peddled by progressives. He continues:

In 1990 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was predicting that if emissions rose in a “business as usual” way, which they have done, then global average temperature would rise at the rate of about 0.3 degree Celsius per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2 to 0.5 degree C per decade). In the 25 years since, temperature has risen at about 0.1 to 0.2 degree C per decade, depending on whether surface or satellite data is used. The IPCC, in its most recent assessment report, lowered its near-term forecast for the global mean surface temperature over the period 2016 to 2035 to just 0.3 to 0.7 degree C above the 1986–2005 level. That is a warming of 0.1 to 0.2 degree C per decade, in all scenarios, including the high-emissions ones.

This is the new conversation libertarians and conservatives should be having about climate change with liberals. Instead of outright denial, we shouldn’t be afraid of playing in progressives’ own ballpark because the science is ultimately in our favor.

Manhattan won’t be underwater anytime soon. So the question then becomes: does the threat of climate change justify any radical government action?

I don’t think so, but even if progressives disagree with me, at least we won’t be talking past each other.

What do you think?

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