Climate change poses large and difficult issues. The potential stakes are enormous, but there is vexing uncertainty about the likelihood of a catastrophe, our ability to mitigate it, the economic costs of taking action, and the desirability of doing so without the participation of the world’s rapidly developing economies. This article outlines a prudent response to these uncertainties. Given the state of the economy, it does not endorse high taxes or other severe curbs on carbon emissions. But unlike John Kunich’s article in the same volume, it does not suggest it would be appropriate to do nothing. Instead, the article recommends a measured approach to climate change: (1) substantial government funding for clean energy research and development, (2) limits on greenhouse gas emissions that begin at a modest level but gradually escalate in accord with a predetermined schedule; and (3) use of diplomatic tools to induce China, India, and other rapidly developing countries to adopt a comparable program.
John B. Kirkwood,
A Prudent Approach to Climate Change, 1 Seattle J. Envtl. L. 137