Economically literate libertarians can’t deny that, if climate change is a major risk, the rational thing to do is put a tax on greenhouse emissions. Therefore, in order to oppose that sort of government action, they have to deny that climate change is a major risk. And that’s how we get this mind-bending piece from the Cato Foundation. Last year’s sharp rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Cato’s Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger concludes, is cause for celebration.” Here is how Knappenberger gets there:

[C]arbon dioxide is building in the atmosphere and rising to levels that have probably not been seen in along time (hundreds of thousands of years).
This rise is a continued reminder of the steady drumbeat of human progress. The carbon dioxide that is building in the atmosphere, at least in part, gets there through human emissions of carbon dioxide that are the by-product of burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) to produce the vast majority the energy that has powered mankind’s industrial and technical ascent since the Industrial Revolution. . . .
The only concern that arises from growing atmospheric CO2 levels stems from the potential climate changes that may result. . . . We continue to detail the evidence that the earth’s “climate sensitivity” to carbon dioxide is less than expected.

For a brief, readable explanation of why Cato’s assurances about climate sensitivity shouldn’t give you much comfort, see The Post’s recent treatment of the state of climate science here. Then marvel at the the perversity of cheering on a strategy that would, through inaction, bet human welfare on the notion that elite scientists with their elite models and elite consensus are so spectacularly and systematically wrong on the risks of greenhouse emissions that the rational strategy is to rapidly ramp up fossil fuel burning.