Climate Policy: A Reality Check

William O’Keefe’s remarks At The Annual Meeting Of The Society Of Environmental Journalists on September 30, 2005.

If any environmental issue was in need of a reality check, it is climate change.  Doing so, however, requires distinguishing reality from image and myth. That is not easy, as evidenced by the fact that most of what passes for conventional wisdom about climate change bears little resemblance to either scientific or economic reality.  Journalists face a daunting task in getting it right.

Much of the climate change debate and the international policy to address asserted human influence on it are driven by assumptions and complex computer models reflecting those assumptions.

A certain amount of fact based reality is beginning to replace what has passed as reality since the late 1980s. I hold no illusions, however. The special interests and advocates who gain from an apocalypse scenario will fight hard to maintain the illusions that have proven profitable.

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