books climate change

What if we’re wrong about climate change?

I’ve been reading Thomas L Friedman‘s ‘Hot, Flat, and Crowded’ this week. Review to follow, but this passage struck me and I thought it was worth quoting in full. It’s very similar to my own view, which I wrote up here.

“If those of us who have become concerned about climate change turn out to be wrong – but we refocus America anyway on producing clean electrons and the most energy-efficient vehicles, appliances, and buildings in the world, and we make America the global leader in aiding the protection of tropical forests and natural habitats, what is the worst that will happen? Our country will have cleaner air and water, more efficient products, more workers educated in the next great global industry, higher energy prices but lower bills, greater productivity, healthier people, and an industry in clean power products that people across the world will want to buy – not to mention the respect and gratititude of  more people around the world than ever. And we’ll have fewer wars over natural resources – because if the human race cannot create greater abundance, we will fight over everything that is in shortage, which is going to be a lot of things in a world that is hot, flat, and crowded.”

This is a vital message for climate skeptics to grasp. Sure, the science may be evolving. We may be completely wrong. Ultimately, climate change is not the only crisis we face. Acting to stop it will also prepare us for peak oil, reduce our drain on the earth’s resources, protect species and their habitats, reduce pollution and improve human health and wellbeing.

If we act on climate change and are wrong, we lose nothing. If we don’t act and are wrong,  the consequences are complete devastation.

Five climate skeptic blogs:

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  1. If we are wrong on climate change and introduce policies that increase the cost of energy then we *will* increase the amount of human poverty, suffering and even death. The idea that acting on climate change is a risk free option is naive and dangerous.

  2. Acting on climate change obviously isn’t risk free. My point is that the price of being wrong is considerably higher on the skeptic side.

  3. ‘If we’re wrong about climate change’ really only applies to the effects of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It doesn’t really apply to the effects of putting more CO2 into the oceans; simple chemistry says that will turn them acidic, with obviously damaging consequences for marine life. Which is another argument for limiting our carbon emissions.

  4. Yoy know where my most concern?? The anti-global warming org are pushing people (especially in africa and third world country) to use solar power. They have oil and they can produce their own power and could generate BIG INCOME to them. Should I still support the Anti-Global warming despite people are hungry because of poveryt in the 3rd world country? yes if we we’re wrong about the climate change.

  5. There may be a lot of oil left in Africa, but it’s as much of a curse as it is a blessing! Oil supports a corrupt and oppressive elite in places like Angola, Sudan, and Nigeria. Equatorial Guinea was a stable country until oil was discovered.

    It would be much better for this oil to be left in the ground, and the poor encouraged to skip a whole generation of technology and go solar, if the only alternative is Africa being plundered again for its oil.

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