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Climate Math: Adaptation, Not Mitigation

February 21, 2018

Rather than trying to prevent climate change we should adopt policies allowing society to adapt to it.

Ted Nordhaus' “The Two-Degree Delusion,” in Foreign Affairs, exposes the daunting climate math of carbon-dioxide mitigation strategy. Nordhaus argues it is too late to adopt politically unrealistic restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions, and instead governments should adopt market oriented policies allowing societies to adapt to climate change. Based on Nordhaus' assessment of the science behind climate predictions and the costs of efforts to prevent climate change, he argues there is no moral justification for denying struggling, impoverished people the benefits of fossil-fuel driven development. "Lower-emissions levels associated with curtailed development will not provide any meaningful amelioration of climate extremes for many decades to come, whereas the benefits that come with development will make those populations substantially more resilient to climate extremes right now."
Robert L. Bradley Jr., CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research, is a leading expert on the history and regulation of energy markets.