No one really knows what would happen if average temperatures hit 5 C higher than 1850 -- a level we could easily reach within a century under a business-as-usual scenario -- but changes to the physical geography of the planet become probable: land masses would vanish; ecosystems would collapse. Human civilization would change, and not for the better.Corrections would urge the author to credit the human race with some modicum of intelligence. It is unclear that a global climate change would harm civilization, as a whole. Afterall, the flood urged Noah to build the world's largest boat. Rational human beings will begin to invest increasingly in technology that will prevent serious climate change as soon a such change becomes worrisome. In fact, many have done so already. Assuming people discount the future, they may be willing, for some time, to put off trying to solve the global warming problem in favor of leisure activities or other types of invention. When demand for a solution becomes large enough, individuals will certainly shift their production toward climate innovation. Just because we currently see no social investment in the problem of global warming (beyond shopping in a special "organic" aisle at the grocery store), does not imply that such investment will not take place. Warning readers that "human civilization will change, and not for the better" is contingent on the same, ageless refrain "if current trends continue..."
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Backing down on climate change
The LA Times recently ran an editorial called "Backing down on climate change" (February 5th, 2010) that claimed