Oct 222011

Years ago, I expressed my (informed, I hope) skepticism concerning climate change in the form of several questions. One of these questions has been answered in a very resounding way by a most thorough independent analysis: yes, the warming trend is real and statistically significant.

So then, my questions are:

Is global warming real?
Is it a future trend?
Is it man-made (caused by CO2 emissions)?
Is it bad for us?

The fundamental dilemma is that on the one hand, it seems irresponsible to advocate the spending of trillions of dollars (and potentially wrecking an already fragile global economy) before all these questions are answered. On the other hand, by the time we have all the answers, it may be too late to act.

But then, perhaps none of it matters. I do not believe that harebrained schemes like carbon trading are ever going to work. Humanity will continue to burn fossil fuels in ever increasing quantities in the foreseeable future, and atmospheric CO2 will inevitably increase. Ultimately, we may be faced with choices such as geoengineering or simple adaptation: moving from coastal lands to higher ground, evacuating areas that become unsurvivable in the summer, but also taking advantage of longer growing seasons or more fertile areas in the north.

 Posted by at 1:36 pm