Or ‘what it would take to convince a skeptic we need action’ (in no particular order):
1) Something beyond mere speculation that there will be catastrophic harm from climate change. (Might some warming not offer net benefit, as a majority of economists believe?) Offer substantive evidence that global warming would amount to a net harm (assuming, of course, it is anthropogenic).
2) Offer substantive proof that warming is anthropogenic — i.e. not due to natural climate variability, nor other non-human-induced causes such as heat from the sun, or radiation.
3) Proof that local-level adaptation is inferior to hobbling the global economy (again, given GW is anthropogenic).
4) Guarantees that developing nations would not defect from global agreements (where global unanimity is required for any plausible mitigation strategy) — despite overwhelmingly strong incentives to defect, especially in the developing world (a prisoner’s dilemma problem).
5) To resolve the correlation/causation question about the ice cores. (Temperature and CO2 correlate in that warming period, but alternative explanations show increased temperature will result in more CO2 from the oceans. So which is it? The chicken or the egg?)
7) Proof that any political mitigation strategy would actually result in mitigation rather than a mere symbolic gesture.
8) Guarantees beyond mere words that any national mitigation policy such as a carbon tax would pre-empt any and all state and local climate change mitigation laws, and mean the death of subsidies for biofuels and other wasteful climate pork.
9) Guarantees beyond mere words that any US GDP growth below 2 percent would cause any taxes or caps to be rescinded.
10) An 80 percent reduction in shrillness from the media, the environmental left, and politicians.
(Number 11 would have been guarantees that the mitigation policy wouldn’t harm other areas of the environment — as with felling the rainforests due to increased use of ethanol.)
(Note: This might be a good proposal if we could crack the question of natural climate variability.)