It seems to me that there are about eight questions that you’d need to ask to learn someone’s full opinion about global warming:
- Is the planet currently warming?
- To what extent is anthropogenic carbon dioxide responsible for global warming?
- How bad will global warming get?
- How much time do we have to respond?
- When will our understanding of global warming be sufficient to allow us to deal with it effectively?
- When will technology be advanced enough to deal with global warming?
- How do we handle the economics of dealing with global warming?
- How do we handle the politics of dealing with global warming?
I made a list of what I thought were possible, reasonable answers to each of these questions, and came up with two answers for the first, four for the second, five for the third, and so on. Multiplying the number of possible answers for each question I got:
2 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 6 x 6 x 3 x 5 = 129,600
So there are 129,600 possible combinations of answers. Some of the possible combinations, though, are internally inconsistent. For example, someone who believes that global warming will never get bad at all would not believe that we need to respond right away. Being conservative (because, hey, we’re conservatives), let’s say that only 10 percent of the possible combinations are logically consistent. That leaves us with 12,960 possible opinions on global warming.
An important question for New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, then, is: Which of these 12,960 opinions are legal to hold? This is not a rhetorical question given that Mr. Schneiderman is currently investigating ExxonMobil for the possible crime of holding the wrong opinion.
Note: My “matrix” of questions and answers is available on request. Just send me a Ricochet message.