Review of R. Pielke’s “The Climate Fix”

The latest issue of Regulation contains my review of Roger Pielke Jr’s The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You about Global Warming. I found the book to be a very welcome contribution to the discussion of climate policy, particularly given Pielke’s unblinkered assessment of the climate challenge. Here’s the conclusion from my review:

The Climate Fix is most effective when making the case that governments will not sacrifice economic growth for carbon emission reductions, and that atmospheric stabilization of greenhouse gas emissions will not happen without dramatic technological advance. Pielke is more successful in puncturing overinflated ideas and identifying critical challenges than setting forth a positive agenda for climate policy. As he himself admits, he is only providing a “rough outline.”

Nonetheless, his clear-headed and non-ideological analysis is welcome in a field dominated by wild-eyed partisans and fear-mongers of various stripes. If one accepts climate change as a real threat, it is essential to acknowledge the lack of clean and easy answers. However urgent global warming may seem, policies to address it cannot be pursued to the exclusion of other concerns, including economic development and access to affordable energy sources. Understanding the depth of the challenge is not only a good place to start, it is essential for there to be any hope of success.