Lost in her errors and insults flung at the scientific community, and at her political opponents who accept climate reality, was the only part of Megan McArdle's argument that should matter:
....there are folks like me who aren’t sure enough to make a prediction, but are very sure we wouldn’t like to find out, too late, that the answer is “oops, catastrophic.”Okay, so she's very sure that we shouldn't follow a policy pathway that makes catastrophe possible. What does she want to do with that framework? I see she semi-approvingly cites to a lukewarmist, kind of a bad sign. Said lukewarmist said basically stop doing everything we're doing now to fight climate change and impose a carbon tax instead, but doesn't say what we should do given that the Republican Party rabidly prevents all attempts at imposing a carbon tax. McArdle, somewhat to her credit, says he doesn't want to do enough, but again fails to tell us what enough is to her.
My two takeaways:
1. She's mad at the rest of us that her tribe is wrong, so even as she semi-admits they're wrong, she throws as many insults at climate realists and adds as many mistakes as she can, starting with the idea that the flaws in modeling human behavior demonstrate similar flaws in modeling the physics of climate. The important message, that we need to act, gets lost in her discussion of alleged communication failures by people outside her tribe.
2. McArdle has (possibly) made an interesting leap over a divide where many lukewarmists/denialists haven't. A common denialist position short of complete denial is to accept scientific reality up to the point at which that reality would require them to shift their policy positions, and then for mysterious reasons, they suddenly find that the science no longer works. McArdle seems to allow we need to do something. How she deals with the binary choice issue between Republicans and Democrats was left unsaid here, but could be worth pursuing.
Finally, I'd add that I'd write this very differently if I expected McArdle to read this and wanted to influence her. I'm writing to us realists here, and I'm mostly just mouthing off without expecting to change much. Maybe climate realists should try more, or at least check in periodically with people like her, despite the annoyance involved. But for her part, if she were really trying to influence "alarmists", then she's doing it wrong.