"A question for climate skeptics: I presume you agree there’s at least a chance you could be wrong, just as you assert those pointing to a clearcut climate apocalypse have little basis for their claims. On that front, I’d be curious to know what you’d propose as a backup plan if the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 turns out to be higher than you think?"
We are not talking about one potential disaster but two: Potential Disaster #1 is some sort of climate apocalypse from CO2-caused warming. Potential Disaster #2 is an economic apocalypse via contracting economies and drastically reduced energy consumption that result from aggresive CO2 abatement programs.
In all but the most dire climate forecasts, the economic disaster from aggressive CO2 abatement is at least as large in terms of its contribution to human misery as any hypothesized climate disaster from not abating CO2.
This statement might be open to debate, but here is one that is not: No matter which disaster is worse, what we know for sure is that the economic disaster is orders of magnitude more likely than the climate disaster. Because if there is a 0-5-10% chance of a apocalyptic climate disaster from inaction on CO2, there is a near 100% chance that efforts that truly abate CO2 (current recommendations are to reduce it in 30 years by 80-100%) will result in an economic disaster which will cause untold human misery — particularly if alarmists refuse to accept nuclear as a viable abatement option. We may actually not experience the disaster so much in the US — after all, as a nation we are quite rich. But the disaster in terms of lost opportunity for the billions of people who for the first time in millenia have the chance to escape grinding starvation-level poverty will be absolute.
This is what climate alarmists and their lapdogs in the press always fail to explain — in order to avoid a hypothesized climate disaster we have to set ourselves up for almost certain economic disaster. And the only way that this might not happen is if some new technology, like solar energy panels that are two orders of magnitude cheaper, comes along to bail us out of this tradeoff. But if that occurs, there is still little need for drastic action, since the market would adopt such a technology in seconds with or without a climate disaster looming.