Denier? Lukewarmer? Alarmist? Why so many pejorative descriptors for those engaging in conversation about climate change? This is among the questions explored in this week’s EconTalk episode with with Matt Ridley.

Now we’d like to continue a civil conversation on this important issue. Please use the prompts below as conversational sparks, and share your reactions in the Comments. As always, we love to hear from you.


1. What part of this week’s conversation most surprised you, and why?

2. What is Pascal’s Wager, and why does Ridley refer to the climate change debate as a new version of this wager? (Extra credit if you can also explain how the reasoning behind Pascal’s wager is different than in the case of a Black Swan.)

3. At approximately the 50 minute mark of the conversation, Ridley suggests that “‘therefore’ is a gigantic leap.” What does he mean by this? Can you think of a time when you made a similar type of logical leap in a decision? What were the consequences?

4. Why has Russ become a little less skeptical about climate change? Can he overcome his own confirmation bias? Has your thinking on climate change evolved over time?