I’m a pacifist because I think that you shouldn’t kill innocent people unless you’re reasonably sure that such killing will have very good consequences. Occasionally I meet a thoughtful hawk who ably disputes my skepticism. For the most part, though, hawks are so eager to kill that they barely consider the long-run consequences of their killing. In The Atlantic, Dominic Tierney documents that the U.S. government ignored the long-run consequences of Iraq War II, and will probably do the same in the war against ISIS.
Writing in the Detroit News, my former research assistant Mark Perry explains that the best way to clean the environment is to rely upon entrepreneurial, market-tested innovation (rather than on diktats from politicians).
Nor can it be the consequences of this recent slight temperature increase that worries world leaders. On a global scale, as scientists keep confirming, there has been no increase in frequency or intensity of storms, floods or droughts, while deaths attributed to such natural disasters have never been fewer, thanks to modern technology and infrastructure. Arctic sea ice has recently melted more in summer than it used to in the 1980s, but Antarctic sea ice has increased, and Antarctica is gaining land-based ice, according to a new study by NASA scientists published in the Journal of Glaciology. Sea level continues its centuries-long slow rise—about a foot a century—with no sign of recent acceleration.
The latest science on the “sensitivity” of the world’s temperature to a doubling of carbon-dioxide levels (from 0.03% of the air to 0.06%) is also reassuring. Several recent peer-reviewed studies of climate sensitivity based on actual observations, including one published in 2013 in Nature Geoscience with 14 mainstream IPCC authors, conclude that this key measure is much lower—about 30%-50% lower—than the climate models are generally assuming.