Yes, I am frightened by climate change. I read the executive summaries and press accounts of the latest studies and predictions, and my discomfort increases. Just this week came the National Climate Assessment, with its subsection outlining the effects of climate change already felt in the Northwest: average temperature up 1.3 degrees in a century, average snowpack down 20 percent since 1950, beetle-infested forests, intense wildfire, early runoff, reduced power production, rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers. Even accounting for the proven tendency to exaggerate environmental threats, this is cause for serious concern, and I don’t doubt that mankind’s century of pumping carbon into the atmosphere bears much responsibility.
Just as frightening, however, are the mistaken and expensive policies forced upon us in the name of counteracting the threat. Based on the record so far, it would be fair to conclude that the very people scaring us with their climate predictions don’t really know how to fend them off, other than slowing economic growth with enforced expense.