My concern is that economists should have nothing to say about his first two concerns:The only thing I can see.. absolutely the only thing I can see economists being able to add to the "Is climate change happening? Is it manmade? How bad will it be?" debate is our personal experiences with large scale computer models with hundreds of variables. Fortunately I am young enough to have missed 1970s-style macroeconometrics, but I believe it is fair to say that our attempts to create large-scale computer models of the economy ended largely in failure. So I can understand economists being somewhat skeptical of the results of climate change models on those grounds.
Forgive me for my snide rhetorical questions. My view is that economists, as part of their professional role, have absolutely nothing to say about the first two concerns. Economists should take estimates of temperature rise, sea-level rise and etc. (and their uncertainties) and plug them into economic models and determine the costs and benefits of mitigation.
- Economists who think climate change isn't happening? Based on what professional knowledge? Your ability to teach ECO 760: Advanced Micro?
- Economists who think climate change isn't manmade? Based on your extensive ecological and geological fieldwork?
But the vast majority of economists are not also physicists or meterologists nor do we have any background in ecology. We have absolutely nothing to add to the discussion that sets us apart from lawyers or doctors or Starbucks baristas. We do the profession a great disservice when we try to pass ourselves off as experts in a field we know nothing about. There are enough people out there who believe economists are just a bunch of apologists for conservative political causes (or worse, apologists for Augusto Pinochet) pretending to be scientists.