Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Would you like to live in a Sudanese refugee camp?

I just came across an piece in the Western Standard, Cooling it on Warming.

I can't say that I am swayed by Jan Narveson's editorial. He obviously hasn't much of a grip on the subject, as shown by his confusion of weather and climate change. He does make the point that if everybody lived up to Kyoto, the net result in terms of climate cooling over 50 years would be in the order of 0.1 degree Celsius - equivalent to nothing.

To me, this just indicates that Kyoto doesn't go nearly far enough. We have been abusing the biosphere ever since the Industrial Revolution. It is going to take a long time to revert that cumulative abuse.

I do agree that science doesn't have all the answers. Also that there is only a certain probability that continuing CO2 emissions will lead to environmental disaster. But three things are very clear to me.

  • Our excesses of population and lifestyle are a gross abuse of the biosphere upon which we depend for our life.
  • The natural systems that drive our climate are very complex. It is impossible to accurately predict their behavior under abnormal circumstances.
  • These natural systems are huge. If they do suddenly switch into a permanent catastrophic mode, there is nothing we can do about it. Nothing.

This is a high stakes game that we cannot afford to loose. I for one would prefer some relatively insignificant hardships now in the hope that we can avert much worse consequences later.

Have you ever considered what it would be like to live somewhere like a Sudanese refugee camp?

Because that could be the consequence of doing nothing about global warming.

No comments: