Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bring on the warmth

Maybe it won't be so bad

Interesting how this latest UN report about global warming changed the way some people see the problem. Check out this article from Newsweek:

"Don't be fooled. The dirty secret about global warming is this: We have no solution.
Considering this reality, you should treat the pious exhortations to "do something" with skepticism, disbelief or contempt. These pronouncements are (take your pick) naive, self-interested, misinformed, stupid or dishonest. Politicians mainly want to be seen as reducing global warming. Companies want to polish their images and exploit markets created by new environmental regulations. As for editorialists and pundits, there's no explanation except superficiality or herd behavior.
Since 1850, global temperatures have increased almost 1 degree Celsius. Sea level has risen about seven inches, though the connection is unclear. So far, global warming has been a change, not a calamity. The IPCC projects wide ranges for the next century: temperature increases from 1.1 degrees Celsius to 6.4 degrees; sea level rises from seven inches to almost two feet. People might easily adapt; or there might be costly disruptions (say, frequent flooding of coastal cities resulting from melting polar ice caps).
What we really need is a more urgent program of research and development, focusing on nuclear power, electric batteries, alternative fuels and the capture of carbon dioxide. Naturally, there's no guarantee that socially acceptable and cost-competitive technologies will result. But without them, global warming is more or less on automatic pilot. Only new technologies would enable countries—rich and poor—to reconcile the immediate imperative of economic growth with the potential hazards of climate change.”

Wow. That’s Newsweek(!) basically saying what many skeptics (like yours truly) said all along: We don’t know enough, there is no way to pay for cutting huge levels of CO2, and our best bet must be around new technologies.

Now, there is another side of the debate which is not even being considered yet: the fact that if global temperature rises mildly, let’s say on the low end of current projections, we might be actually better off! There will be a lot of new land to be used for agriculture, less spending on heating, and so on.

I agree that this is all speculation at this point but so is all the end of the world scenarios that will give Al Gore the Nobel Prize.