William Nordhaus and the Climate Skeptics

William Nordhaus

On Jan 26, 2012, the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed signed by sixteen scientists skeptical of climate change.  In support of their view, they cited the work of William Nordhaus, a Yale economics professor who has conducted studies on the economics of climate change.  In an article published in the New York Review of Books, Nordhaus rebutted the original op-ed.  This started a discussion, with each side contributing one further letter to the conversation.

We feel it is worthwhile to highlight this conversation for two reasons.  First, as Nordhaus notes in his first piece, it can be difficult to identify and take stock of the arguments of climate skeptics because they are widely distributed among many online sources.  The skeptics’ WSJ op-ed “is useful because it contains many of the standard criticisms in a succinct statement.”  We believe that some familiarity with the most common skeptical arguments is useful when arguing for forward-thinking energy policy in today’s political environment.

Second, we feel that Nordhaus does a good job explaining the true situation regarding the issues raised by the sixteen skeptical scientists.  Links to the pieces are below:

No Need to Panic about Global Warming
– The Wall Street Journal, 1/26/12

Why the Climate Skeptics are Wrong
– The New York Review of Books, 2/22/12 (March issue)

Note: the next link contains a letter from the climate skeptics followed by a letter from Prof. Nordhaus:
In the Climate Casino: An Exchange
– The New York Review of Books, April issue