Adapting to Global Warming

Published May 31, 2006

Dear Editor:

Your June 5 cover story, “Global Warming: Can We Live With It,” rightfully pointed out that “humans have always adapted to their environment.” But that doesn’t mean we should push for more government involvement in our adaptation.

Individuals and governments are different. Even in large numbers, individuals can quickly abandon one path for another, so long as they are free to make choices. Governments (especially at the state and federal level) are slow to adapt due to their bureaucratic top-down organization.

The danger of state-level or even national adaptation “strategies” is that we will not be able to switch directions as our knowledge of the problem improves. Government adaptation policy carries the risk of discouraging more effective individual and community level adaptation or, even worse, enforcing measures that could prove unnecessary.


Michael Van Winkle

Michael Van Winkle ([email protected]) is a research assistant for The Heartland Institute.