Almost Unthinkable Global Warming Skepticism at NYT

The New York Times' John Tierney is at it again.

As NewsBusters reported last September, the science columnist published a surprisingly skeptical piece concerning man's role in the liberal bogeyman known as global warming.

On Wednesday, Tierney followed suit with a marvelous article entitled "Global-Warming Jujitsu" (emphasis added):

Suppose that the pessimistic forecasts of global warming are accurate. Suppose that the planet’s temperature rises according to the high-end scenario of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and that we experience the economic and social impacts (like hunger, malaria and coastal flooding) projected by the much-publicized Stern Review sponsored by the British government.

Does that mean our best course of action is to quickly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases?

Great question, to be sure. But from the New York Times?

Maybe even more shocking, Tierney answered it by quoting from a new report just published by Indur Goklany of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute:

“The surprising conclusion using the Stern Review’s own estimates,” Dr. Goklany writes, “is that future generations will be better off in the richest but warmest” of the I.P.C.C.’s scenarios. He concludes that cutting emissions will do much less good than encouraging sustainable development in poor countries and policies of “focused adaptation” to deal with disease and environmental problems like coastal flooding. For a fifth the cost of the Kyoto Protocol, he calculates, these adaptation policies could yield more immediate and also long-term benefits than would a policy that entirely halted global warming (which would cost far, far more than Kyoto). He argues that this path isn’t merely an economic but also a moral imperative.

Shocking. Tierney was actually writing derisively about the Kyoto Protocol, and sounding quite like folks his paper normally accuse of being deniers:

I think he points to a real risk in making large sacrifices today to address problems that will be easier to address when people are richer and more technologically advanced. If anything, Dr. Goklany writes, his calculations underestimate the capacity of future generations to deal with these problems because they’ll have technologies we can’t imagine today (just as the advocates of draconian population-control policies during the 1960s didn’t envision that future famines would be averted thanks to improvements in agriculture).

Bravo, John. Keep up the good work.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.