Global Warming: Avoiding the Worst that Could Happen

Vote for column A.

It makes sense when you watch the video, which is a risk/benefit analysis for global warming. What’s the worst that could happen if global warming is true, and if global warming is false. I prefer column A.

(link via Knightopia)

2 thoughts on “Global Warming: Avoiding the Worst that Could Happen”

  1. This guy should have done some research. Amazingly, he is not the first person to have thought of odds and impacts of scenarios in this way. He might start with the decades-long modeling project executed by the Yale School of Forestry and Department of Economics to do for real what he is showing on a whiteboard. For that matter, he might have red the UN IPCC WG2 and WG3 reports which reference a lot of relevant research on this question.

    Here are some (example) problems with his video:

    1. His “bad case” is overblown and rhetorical. Under a reasonable scenario for global economic and population growth (Scenario A1B), the IPCC projects about 2.8C increase in global temperatures by 2100. According to any competent modelers (for example, the Yale project), this would lead to about break-even net global economic impacts, i.e., the positive benefits of warming would about equal the negative impacts. It’s only when you get to warming of about 4C in 22nd and 23rd centuries that you, according to the IPCC, see a net reduction in global GDP of about 1- 5%. That’s a lot of money, but it’s hardly the Armageddon that he is describing.

    2. According to the IPCC, no global climate model currently predicts any of the disaster scenarios he describes for the next century.

    3. Without any quantitative consideration of odds of an outcome, you could apply this same 2X2 matrix argument to the risk of space aliens descending from the sky and killing everybody. Why don’t we have crash programs that risk global depression against space aliens and a meteor strike and a global pandemic based on a modified version of Avian Flu and, and and….? Because the list of such anxieties is endless and our resources are finite.

  2. 1. He fully admits his bad case is the worst that could happen. He said the same for what happened if global warming is false be we act anyway–assuming the worst. And reading up on the IPCC, I’m not seeing anything talking about a neutral impact–what ‘positive’ benefits of global warming?

    It is not possible to be certain whether there will be any positive benefits of global warming. What is known is that some significant negative impacts are projected, and that these projections drive most of the concern about global warming, as well as attempts to mitigate it or adapt to its effects. Most scientists agree, however, that the negative effects will outweigh the positive effects. (Wikipedia)

    2. Interesting that the IPCC you highlight has been known for understating potential dangers.

    3. But this is an anxiety that we (humanity) seem to be causing and can do something about by simply changing our actions. We’ve got evidence to back it up, even if it is disputed. This isn’t on the level of aliens. And for diseases, um, I think we do take measures to prepare for global pandemics. That’s what the Center for Disease Control is for.

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