NYT’s John Tierney and Bjorn Lomborg on global warming policies

Today John Tierney — while visiting Lower Manhattan — discusses global warming with Bjorn Lomborg in his science column in The New York Times. The article concludes with these thoughts:

The biggest limitation to his cost-benefit analyses is that no one knows exactly what global warming will produce. It may not be worth taking expensive steps to forestall a one-foot rise in the sea level, but what if the seas rise much higher? Dr. Lomborg’s critics argue that we owe it to future generations to prepare for the worst-case projections.

But preparing for the worst in future climate is expensive, which means less money for the most serious threats today — and later this century. You can imagine plenty of worst-case projections that have nothing to do with climate change, as Dr. Lomborg reminded me at the end of our expedition.

“No historian would look back at the last two centuries and rank the rising sea level here as one of the city’s major problems,” he said, sitting safely dry and cool inside the Bridge Cafe. “I don’t think our descendants will thank us for leaving them poorer and less healthy just so we could do a little bit to slow global warming. I’d rather we were remembered for solving the other problems first.”

Check out the reader responses — most attacking Tierney and/or Lomborg — here.