For now, at least.
This might be a good time for global warming alarmists to reconsider their goals, then work with skeptics to achieve those goals.
In my view, that portion of global warming attributable to anthropogenic causes is minuscule compared to natural causes such as Milankovich cycles, sun spot activity and cloud formation. Nor am I convinced that global warming is all bad as alarmists like Al Gore and James Hansen would have you believe.
That is not to say that governments shouldn't plan for climate change. They should. Knowing how climate change affects population centers, water supply and food production are extremely important planning issues. Prudent governance demands that we acclimate to climate change. That includes avoiding its adverse effects (such as sea level rise) and capturing its beneficial effects (such as increases in arable land).
Spending trillions on programs that won't affect climate change -- such as cap and trade -- is not only bad governance, but deprives us of the resources needed to acclimate to climate change.
There's another reason I oppose implementing cap and trade policies. It will prove to be an unnecessary financial burden on most Americans while enriching a few that trade in carbon credits (think Enron, but on a much larger scale).
Once folks feel the full burden of cap-and-trade and fail to see any of its stated goals achieved, the environmental movement will be doomed. Anyone that professes a desire to protect the environment will be voted out of office and replaced with a candidate less likely to balance the needs of the environment with demands for a high standard of living.
That's why I say alarmists need to reconsider their goals. Stop using global warming as a panacea for all environmental ills. Push for policies that directly improve the health of our natural environment. Push for policies that encourage the development of alternative energy sources such as wave, wind and solar. Push for policies that enhance energy independence, such as clean burning coal technology, coal gassification, hydroelectric and nuclear energy, and yes, even more offshore drilling.
The merits and pitfalls of those policies should be subjected to vigorous public debate on an individual basis. Attempting to roll them into a single policy to fight climate change serves to stifle the essential public debate and will lead to implementing ill-conceived public policy.
Continuing to frame the debate as "settled science" or "more CO2 won't increase global warming" ensures only one thing -- a lack of consensus on several important issues.
In my opinion, a much better public policy can be achieved and the environmental movement enhanced if we concentrate on achieving attainable goals such as cleaner air, cleaner water, alternative energy and energy independence. There are enough folks on both sides of the isle willing to accomplish those goals that a true bipartisan policy can reached. What's more, those policies can be effective and implemented at a substantially lower cost and with far less government interference than the proposed cap-and-trade policies.