Is global warming any more harmful than an extra layer of Thinsulate?
I just finished the Times Article on Climate Change. I’m really not sure what to say. We all keep thinking of climate change in terms of, “oh, golly jeepers, it might hurt the economy to slow down our use of greenhouse gases.”
Yeah, that’s true. Recent evidence from Arctic ice drilling suggests greenhouse gas levels are the highest in 650,000 years, and they’re rising faster than ever recorded.
Huh. Let’s see. We’re basically heading into totally uncharted climactic territory at a historically unprecedented rate, and we don’t want to slow down (much less stop) because it might hurt the economy.
Well, it strikes me that tinkering with something like the ecosphere is delicate business. All kinds of unintended conseqeunces come about when we do simple things like over-hunt a predator and its prey suddenly populates out of control.
Global warming is that times a million. Entire species are getting out of sync as the migration patterns of birds change faster than the birthing patterns of their prey. All kinds of things can get out of balance, and we barely understand 1% of 1% of the possible implications.
I’m worried that we might just tweak something essential for human survival. A single volcano splitting could send a devastating tsunami around the world. What would a melting ice sheet do? Or a bunch of them? Or maybe the extinction of part of the food chain that is critical for human survival?
Come on, people, this isn’t a matter of a new cutsie little tax. It may be bad for the ecomony to behave smartly towards global warming, but it could be fatal for the economy to ignore the problem.
We seem to believe that our current levels of economic expansion are somehow normal or healthy. There’s no particular reason to believe that. Through most of human history, we’ve developed much more slowly.
Personally, I’m a super-conservative kind of guy. I like life. I’d much rather slow or growth or enter steady-state while we figure out if we’re killing ourselves than run ahead at full speed, possibly right into oncoming traffic.