November 22, 2013

In his Nov. 18 op-ed column, “Warming to a carbon tax,” Robert J. Samuelson agreed with economist Robert Pindyck, who, after examining computer models that estimate the effects and cost of climate change, concluded that, in Mr. Samuelson’s words, “climate change and its adverse economic consequences could be wildly overstated. He also thinks they could be wildly understated. The effects might ultimately be catastrophic. We simply don’t know.”

So what are we to do? Mr. Samuelson recommended a “middle path” that will not prepare us for a catastrophe because it might not come. Was Mr. Samuelson ever a Boy Scout?

I’d bet that, if Mr. Samuelson came to a fork in the road where going one way meant risking a catastrophe while the other way was much longer and required expensive tolls but would be safe, he would ante up and prepare for the harder trip.

John Mathwin, Rockville