Becker Is Shortsighted On Global Warming
Gary Becker's myopic view is an example of the thinking that has caused current economic malaise ("On global warming, let the coolest heads prevail," Economic Viewpoint, July 20). The global-warming phenomenon will never be proven to everyone's satisfaction, but taking actions to cut CO2 emissions, most of which are energy-related, would have far-reaching benefits even if they don't affect the climate.
For instance, aggressive energy conservation would reduce oil imports and eliminate the nation's trade deficit. Research into photovoltaics and other efficient energy-production technologies might allow the U.S. to recapture the lead in those technologies and the accompanying jobs. We will get more jobs per government dollar by redirecting our infrastructure investments to favor mass transit. Energy-efficient lighting and architecture will cut housing and business costs. If the air pollution associated with CO2 emissions were reduced, so would health costs. To ignore the benefits of actions like these is to condemn the U.S. to being a technological follower with unnecessary fixed costs.
Arthur S. Merrow