The New Republic's "dubious" in-house critic

Blog ››› ››› FAE JENCKS

Recently, The New Republic launched a feature on its website called the "In-House Critics" wherein they've called upon two columnists to help them in "Keeping TNR Honest." One of these columnists is Jim Manzi, a contributing editor at National Review and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Manzi is a conservative who acknowledges the realities of climate change, but argues against action to mitigate its effects.

As Joseph Romm noted over at Climate Progress, the notion of hiring Manzi as a "critic" of TNR's articles on climate change is quite bizarre, given Manzi's recent track record. In his first column titled "Why the Decision to Tackle Climate Change Isn't as Simple as Al Gore Says," Manzi's argument against action on climate change essentially boils down to the notion that the impact of climate change on the global GDP will be less than the cost of attempting to mitigate carbon emissions and rising global temperatures.

However, Romm and many others have noted that this rationale is quite easily discredited. Not only does Manzi's argument disregard the non-economic impact of climate change on the planet (which marine ecologist John Bruno describes as including "increased morbidity and mortality from heatwaves, floods and droughts" and "increased damages from storms and floods") he also ignores the fact that the IPCC report he cites states that "developing countries are expected to experience larger percentage losses."

Additionally, Bruno notes that "when the variance around the cost and benefit values in Manzi's analysis is taken into account, there isn't any difference between them. In other words, based on the available information, the 1-5% of GDP benefit is not different from the ~6% GDP cost."

It really makes you wonder: Why would The New Republic invite someone to "call [them] out when they see us making dubious intellectual leaps" whose own argument is quite "dubious" itself?

Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
The New Republic
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