At the Washington Post, Ezra Klein thinks he is advocating for a strong climate policy when he says:
One of the conceptual difficulties with trying to evaluate various energy bills is that the problem of climate change is qualitatively different than other problems. Usually, whether a bill makes a problem better is the primary question underlying whether senators should vote to pass it. But with climate change, if we don’t stabilize carbon emissions, it’s game over. So it’s hard to know what to say about a bill that would move us forward on clean energy while still not doing nearly enough.
But he is wrong. Stabilizing carbon emissions is just a small beginning, and indeed there is some indication that it has already happened in America. What is required by the physics of the situation is stable concentrations, which in turn means near-zero net emissions.
The confusion endemic in the policy sector and the press about this is awfully tedious. Efforts from people who have some understanding of the science to make exactly this point have been ongoing for a long time, to very little effect.
I compare CO2 emissions to mugging little old ladies…. It is wrong to mug little old ladies and wrong to emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The right target for both mugging little old ladies and carbon dioxide emissions is zero.