Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is There Global Warming? It's The Wrong Question.

There are four possible truths regarding global warming:

1. There currently is no global warming.
2. There currently is global warming.
3. People do affect global warming.
4. People don't affect global warming

and two possible actions:

A. We change our behavior
B. We don't change our behavior.

There are eight possible results.

Outcome 1-A. If there is no warming, behavioral changes make no impact and produce only this:
Lower consumption of fossil fuels, significant changes in daily life, new technology, development of mass transit, significant economic impact on energy producers and automobile makers, new emphasis on renewable energy resources, cleaner environment, lowered dependence on foreign oil etc.

Outcome 1-B. Nothing changes. Unless of course, we run out of fossil fuel and are unprepared for it.

Outcome 2-A. The same as 1-A but there would be a beneficial effect on global warming, though the results will take years to occur.

Outcome 2-B. The world continues to support economies dependent on oil revenue, we continue to promote environmental pollution and hasten the global damage resulting from greenhouse gases in the quest for cheap oil.

Outcome 3-A = 2-A
Outcome 3-B = 2-B
Outcome 4-A = 1-A
Outcome 4-B = 1-B

We should be talking about consequences of being wrong in our assumptions and how quickly and effectively we can remedy any damage caused by a wrong decision.

We will either have to rebuild an economy disrupted by a fear that never materialized or we will have to restore the climate and environmental damage (perhaps impossible by the time it's acknowledged) caused by the continued use of and exploration for fossil fuels.

It seems to me that being wrong about the environmental damage is a far greater disaster than if we are wrong about the economic consequences.

But maybe it's just me