I have read several articles by economists lately comparing some sort of action against climate change to insurance. There is another by Robert Frank in today's NYT.
The basic idea is this: Scientists believe the climate is being changed by human activity. They don't, however, know for sure how much the temperature of the planet will rise over any given period of time. The lower range of estimates would be slightly painful, the upper range a complete disaster. So, the extra costs that we would suffer under a sensible program to curb carbon output should be viewed as insurance against what MIT scientists estimate as a 10% chance that temperatures would reach a level by the end of this century.
Now, think about the insurance you buy. I am pretty sure the chance of my house catching fire is less than 10%, yet I buy homeowner's insurance, because a fire would be financially devastating. We all do.
Of course, the people with their heads completely up their asses on this issue (Republicans, Fox News Pundits, the oil industry) say that the scientists are just running a scam......because we all know that scientists are far more likely than politicians, oil execs or TV personalities to be bullshitting us. Their claim that the snow on the east coast recently disproves the science shows how completely ignorant.....or what lying scumbags....they are.
So tell me, does it not make sense that we buy some insurance for the continued health of our planet?