Now the critical question: what does uncertainty have to do with the question, proceed with costly efforts to reduce CO2 abatement in a hurry, or wait until we know more?
In some public discourse, and in sentiments emanating from the Bush Administration, it appears to be accepted that uncertainty regarding global warming is a legitimate basis for postponement of any action until more is known. The action to be postponed is usually identified as “costly.” (Little attention is paid to actions that have been identified as of little or no serious cost.)
It is interesting that this idea that costly actions are unwarranted if the dangers are uncertain is almost unique to climate. In other areas of policy, such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, inflation, or vaccination, some “insurance” principle seems to prevail: if there is a sufficient likelihood of sufficient damage we take some measured anticipatory action.
Quote van econoom en Nobelprijswinnaar Thomas Schelling in Climate Change: The Uncertainties, the Certainties and What They Imply About Action (members only!) van het webmagazine The Economists Voice dat een poos geleden een speciale klimaateditie uitbracht