Environmenalist dating

Lomborg's optimism about humanity’s potential to make the best of a difficult situation is a substantial counterweight to dire prophecies of inevitable collapse.Matthew Kahn, a professor of economics at UCLA, is thoroughly in this camp.

Instead of hectoring humanity to amend its carbon-producing, fossil fuel consuming ways it asks provocative and controversial questions: Will climate change really be so bad for the world? Will it introduce new opportunities for human thriving?

Early on in Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future (first published, in hardcover in 2010) he acknowledges the fact of climate change and the significant (though not, for Kahn, catastrophic) changes it will effect.

He does so, however, in the context of a conviction that no amount of denunciation will lead people to change their behaviors.

More significantly, reference to fictional characters in a work that purports to predict how actual people will behave often serves as shorthand that stands in for actual research or modeling. Instead, Kahn offers speculation that while sometimes interesting often seems profoundly simplistic: if cities in California become too hot or find themselves under water, then smart people will head to Detroit, far from the worst effects of climate change, thereby reviving the fortunes of that ailing city; if we’re using too much water in a time of shortage, price hikes will make people more careful consumers; climate change might make it more difficult to produce fresh fruit but the market for dried fruit will rise commensurately.

Kahn’s speculations aren’t necessarily incorrect (though, being speculations, they’re not necessarily correct, either), but they’re presented with a nonchalance that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

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