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Friday, June 6, 2014

Premature failure report on climate change

Yesterday at Vox, Ezra Klein had an impressive but frustrating piece "7 reasons America will fail on climate change." Impressive because it makes many valid points, and frustrating because the tone of defeatism is unproductive and will never convince anybody of anything. For decades, many conservatives thought the Communists were going to win the Cold War; such thinking threatened to be a self-fulfilling prophecy and it was only in the 80s, when conservatism took a notably more optimistic tone in the Reagan years, that the scenario of a triumphant Soviet Union receded and then was falsified.

I've written before about how the politics of climate change could be reshuffled as the topic shifts from whether it's real or a problem to what to do about this real problem. Will a lot of time have been wasted and a lot of damage have been done by the time that shift is well underway? Yes. No denying it. But things change in American politics, sometimes fast. And predicting what won't be doable on the technological front is always a gamble.

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