I still haven't seen any convincing evidence for global warming.
Originally Posted by Naleh
Thing is, I also think that "Is global warming happening?" is the wrong question to ask.
The right question is, "Should we do something about it?" No matter how sure you are about your answer to the first question, you could be wrong, and you have to factor that possibility into your answer to the second question. So consider the matrix of possibilities:
|It's not happening||It's happening|
|We do something||Wasted money*||Averted catastrophe (hopefully)|
|We do nothing||No problems||Global devastation|
Yes, I know that oversimplifies things. The weighting on each column isn't necessarily the same, depending on whether you think it's happening or not. But you'll need incredibly strong evidence against global warming before you can ignore that bottom right cell, because its consequences are so grave. It outweighs the other cells entirely.
* Also we have to spend the money sooner or later anyway because fossil fuels are nonrenewable.
Quite interesting matrix, but you know there a few problematic assumptions here (including global warming if true equals doom). That what you presented seems a bit thinking in the box. Let's make a more complicated version:
Is contemporary climate optimal for us? Would we like hotter/colder?
(For example - hotter climate with higher CO2 dose means much higher yields and lower heating costs in winter time. For my country a bit hotter climate would presumably be beneficial)
Let's say that we reached a conclusion that we have a climate that is changing in unfavorable direction. What can be done about it:
- greenhouses gas emission reduction (or increase if we want to heat it up more)
- other forms of geoengineering (like increasing cloud cover by proper sulfur oxides emission), trees planting, fertilizing oceans, etc.
What is cost of future harm, what's the cost of prevention? What's your discount rate? Would investing in preventing climate change count as effective one or another sub prime?
What are alternative approaches? I mean let's say you reached a conclusion that because of the global warming in a century your coastal cities would be below sea level. Immediately there is a question what are alternative solutions. For example big part of Holland is below sea level. Would building similar dams be cheaper or more expensive than combating carbon dioxide emission? What about about an evacuation that would make the most boring disaster film in history - in the areas that are about to be lost you forbid any new constructions and slowly allow the existing ones to depreciate, while you channel the funds to build a new cities more inland?
Also another question is to what extend serious reduction is politically possible. The EU is proud of its reduction, but all numbers merely mean that dirty industries were moved to Asia and instead of emitting on our own we merely import from them. Also for two main economies of next decades - India and China the economic growth would be the priority so world wide agreement is unlikely. So thinking in line of maybe geoengineering and for sure adaptation seems wise.