What if we prepare for disruptive climate change and it doesn’t get as bad as feared? Where will we be? We will have cleaner air to breathe, and cleaner, more efficient power generation and transportation systems.
America faces two serious national-security threats today that look wildly different but have one core feature in common — they both have a low probability of happening, but, if they did happen, they could have devastating consequences for our whole country and the world.
One of these threats is called North Korea. If the reckless leader of North Korea is able to launch an arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles that strike the U.S. mainland, the effect on America will be incalculable.
And even though the odds of that happening are low — it would be an act of suicide by the North Korean dynasty — President Donald Trump is ready to spend billions on antimissile systems, warships, cyberdefenses, air power and war games to defuse and deter this North Korean threat.
And if we prepare for a North Korean nuclear attack and it never happens, we will be left with some improved weaponry that we might be able to use in other theaters, like fighter jets, ships and missiles — but nothing particularly productive for our economy or job creation.
The other low-probability, high-impact threat is climate change fueled by increased human-caused carbon emissions. The truth is, if you simply trace the steady increase in costly extreme-weather events — wildfires, floods, droughts and climate-related human migrations — the odds of human-driven global warming having a devastating effect on our planet are not low probability but high probability.
But let’s assume for a minute that because climate change is a complex process — which we do not fully understand — climate change is a low-probability, high-impact event just like a North Korean nuclear strike. What is the Trump team doing when confronted with this similar threat?
It’s taking a spike and poking out its own eyes. In possibly the most intellectually corrupt declaration of the Trump era — a high bar — Scott Pruitt, a longtime shill for oil and gas companies now masquerading as the head of the EPA, actually declared that even discussing possible links between human-driven climate disruptions and the recent monster storms was “insensitive.” He said that after our country got hit by two Atlantic Category 4 hurricanes in the same year…