I agree with the theory of better being safe than sorry. So why not take action? However what are the lost opportunities from acting? Has this been calculated? Billions of additional dollars to government, that is one big lost opportunity cost. What technological developments will not occur if all that capital is diverted to government?
Well of course there has been a lot of thinking about economic models, mitigation mechanisms, and the economic tradeoffs in transition to non-carbon energy sources. One of the problems is, economic models are much less reliable than physical science models (like climate models). It's very hard to do some sort of cost-benefit analysis because the answer depends to on how much value one puts on avoiding future problems by incurring political and economic costs in the near term, and also to a great deal on what value one puts on the lives of people not alive today. It is really question of moral judgment.
In my opinion this is sort of a false choice. On the one hand, the risk of some very bad things happening in a worse-case climate scenario is not zero, the potential consequences are severe enough to outweigh any economic argument. On the other hand, transition away from fossil fuels looks to be difficult but achievable. And partial transition is not really very hard. The drawdown project referenced earlier is an excellent example of thinking out the problem in detail, and makes a plausible case this is a problem that is feasible to solve in a way that is not free, but certainly very do-able.
I would like to see a panel of an equal number of climate scientists from both sides debate the issue head on so we can all become more educated.
Well, please, no. First, scientists, while they are entitled to their own politics, aren't the ones to lead an economic/political discussion at least not any more than anyone else. They have no special authority/place there. What they can do is lay out the constraints we have to operate under : "if emissions are kept to a certain level the most likely scenarios are X and Y, but we also have to consider Z if things go poorly. " Second the "debate" over scenarios occurs, and is occurring, all the time, in the open literature. You can read that, and you can read the various summaries of it (for example here: https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uplo...er11_FINAL.pdf
) as well are more easily accessible materials such as the ones referenced in previous post.