Global warming, or the big chill?

Just when Tom Schelling had almost convinced me that sacrificing a lot of other things now to prevent global warming in half a century probably didn’t make sense on either equity or efficiency grounds, Brad Delong points to a really scary scenario about changes in the Great Ocean Conveyor and the Gulf Stream. Apparently we could be in for a new Little Ice Age, and relatively soon. Once started, it would likely run for centuries, and the winters in the Northeastern US and and in Europe would average about 10 degrees F colder than they are now. The warning comes from the head of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, who presumably knows what he’s talking about. He reports that we’re close to the threshold right now, and that we could see major changes “within a decade.”

Okay, we all know the Kyoto agreement was a crock and that all the other signatories were delighted to have Bush to blame for killing it, rather than having it fall of its own weight. But has anyone in the Bush Administration even thought about what to do instead?

Maybe the idea is to have enough burning oil fields in Iraq and surrounding areas that the resulting airborne particulate matter increases the albedo of the earth. Might work….

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: