From his analysis, “Overheated: How Flawed Analyses Overestimate the Costs of Climate Change,” the Wall Street Journal somehow arrived at the following headline for Cass’s recent op-ed: Doomsday Climate Scenarios Are a Joke.
It should be noted that Cass is a Harvard-trained lawyer, with a background in political science, not climate science. And his employer, the Manhattan Institute, for years has promoted climate science contrarianism while pushing fossil fuel development. No surprise that the organization is bankrolled by several conservative foundations, including the billionaire Mercer family, major Trump donors and funders of climate denial.
Cass’s Wall Street Journal op-ed, which begins with “Debates over climate change are filled with dire estimates of its cost,” was quickly trumpeted by the also Mercer-backed right-wing publication Breitbart News.
What Cass is peddling with his “just get air conditioners” argument is known as adaptation. The purveyors of this approach admit the climate is changing but say that it is nothing to worry about because humans will just adapt. This argument is much more popular with the extremely wealthy than with the rest of the world’s population.
Cass proceeds to dismiss several reports from organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S.Government Accountability Office that estimate the impacts of increasing temperatures on the U.S. and global economy by simply saying people will do things like turn on air conditioners. Thus, he concludes, those estimates of the costs which he admits include “deaths from extreme heat, lost hours of work from extreme heat, and deaths from heat-caused air pollution” are “mostly from laughably bad economics.”
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