David Friedman (son of Milton F.) has a good post here in which he asks the question of why we don’t focus more on the possible positive impacts of man-made global warming, rather than always focus on the bads. If you live in Siberia or have endured the winters of Canada, the idea of a bit more warmth will, well, warm your heart. And assuming the net impact of AGW is to leave more people with climates that have positives, such as longer growing seasons, fewer deaths from cold, etc, then surely this is a good thing? I remember Bjorn Lomborg, in his book, Cool It, looking at how many people die every year from cold and comparing that with current deaths from extreme heat and projected deaths from more heat.
The good thing about the way David Friedman poses this question is that he is not taking a view on whether AGW is bunk or not. Rather, he is saying that assuming X or Y is happening, we need to weigh the positive impacts as well as the bads before deciding on the right response.
Of course, from a cynical point of view, the reason the bad effects of AGW get so much attention is because it is more fun for grant-seeking scientists and journalists looking for a good story to play up disaster. Greater crop yields in northern Canada don’t sell newspapers.
Thanks to EconLog for the pointer to the Friedman piece.