Maybe it’s time to stop talking about climate change.
And to stop pushing for comprehensive “climate policy.”
That’s what New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, did last week when he gave $50 million to the Sierra Club to fight coal plants. Coal plants should be shuttered, he said, because they endanger public health, pollute the air, deposit mercury in lakes and contribute to asthma. “This is not about the future,” he said, “This is about today.” [See my blogpost, Mike Bloomberg takes on coal.]
Now here comes a group of international scholars and analysts, known as the Hartwell Group, with a new report called Climate Pragmatism, [PDF, download] which argues that the best way to enact policies around climate change is to talk less about climate and more about curbing air pollution and promoting clean energy innovation.
Telling people to study climate science and make sacrifices–in effect, what Al Gore has tried valiantly to do–hasn’t worked and won’t, the report says.
Nor will the argument that we need to “save the planet” for future generations.
The report says:
The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in time–benefits who attributes, magnitude, timing and distribution are not knowable with certainty.
The new framework now emerging will succeed to the degree that it prioritizes agreements that promise near-term economic, geopolitical and environmental benefits to economies around the world, while simultaneously reducing climate forcings, developing clean and affordable energy technologies, and improving societal resistance to climate impacts.
I called Michael Shellenberger, president of the Breakthrough Institute, to talk about the report. [click to continue…]