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Tom Friedman Has a Standing Invitation to My Weekly Poker Game: The Abused Insurance Analogy for Climate Change

By Jim Manzi -- December 17, 2009

Editor’s Note: Jim Manzi is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and blogs at both National Review’s The Corner and at The American Scene.

It is amusing to watch advocates of rapid, aggressive carbon dioxide emissions reduction, when confronted with the plain facts of the consensus scientific projections for climate change and its associated damages, move from “science says we must do this or die” to “well, actually, the science is pretty uncertain, so it’s possible that we might die,” and then proceed to some restatement of Pascal’s Wager.

Friedman’s Throw

Tom Friedman’s recent New York Times column is a perfect illustration of this logic.  I’ll quote him at length, before demonstrating that his emission-cuts-as-insurance analogy breaks down once you plug in actual numbers:

This is not complicated.