The world is getting warmer and sea levels are rising. What matters is the magnitude of the increases, their impact, and what can be done about them.
The climate debate is often presented as a conflict between those who want to do what is right and those who, for reasons of self-interest or ignorance (perhaps willful ignorance) are unwilling to help. However, good intentions do not guarantee good outcomes. Policies based on bad science and bad economics can lead to worse results than those from unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, IER has long shown that the peer-reviewed economics literature is at odds with some aggressive types of actions taken in the name of climate change.
Economists look at actions in terms of costs and benefits. Further, they question claims of infinite costs or infinite benefits that come with assertions of existential threats. What, then, should we do about cutting manmade CO2 emissions?
Pushing back on claims of an impending existential climate crisis is often dismissed as a form of science denial. Therefore, we will briefly review the science first. Then we can look at the economics of climate action.