Last week Barkley Rosser gave a very brief description on the nature of a debate that occurred at James Madison University campus after a talk given by Pat Michaels from the Cato Institute as well as an economist from the 1970s ‘new right’ Heritage Foundation of the name David Kreutzer.
Barkley mentioned discussion about the possibility of ‘fat tails’ and, what Michaels referred to as the ‘non-trivial possibility’ of a combination of nonlinear effects [in climate change] that would lead to a sharp rise in temperature.
This discussion, as described, is what should rightfully be labeled as ‘academic’. The real debate about climate change is over. Climate change has occurred and no one, apart from business lobby groups and their funded organisations, disagrees about what should be done to address our crisis.
Whether or not global temperatures rise by 2C or 14C in the foreseeable future is quite irrelevant to our immediate challenge. We need to move to clean and renewable forms of energy and other forms of technology and practice as quickly as we possibly can.
"Not even Mills, or Chomsky in his New Mandarins essay, could have anticipated the world of the Heritage Foundation, of "Kissinger Associates," of numberless power-worshipping, power-seeking magazines and institutes interlocking across the dissemination of culture, priority, information, and opinion. But Mills did write, in 1942:
When events move very fast and possible worlds swing around them, something happens to the quality of thinking. Some men repeat formulae; some men become reporters. To time observation with thought so as to mate a decent level of abstraction with crucial happenings is a difficult problem."
The Chorus and Cassandra, Christopher Hitchens. 1985