Repent, Recycle, Reuse

james

sweet_chestnut_forest

First of all, read about this New Report: Global Warming is Irreversible.

The old tired argument about whether global warming is a reality (and whether or not its human caused) has always been directly related to whether you watch Fox News or listen to NPR.  I’m sure it doesn’t have to do with the fact that one is tyrannically controlled by a billionaire who stands to lose much (like all billionaires do) if people started being more conscientious about how their everyday lives affect the environment (not to mention funded by multinational corporations who are in the same position), while the other has always been donor-funded and exists solely in the public interest.  But I digress, the arguments and the “proof” matters less when you think about it in terms of consequences for being right or wrong.  Thus, Pascal’s Wager.   I am sure I am not the first to make this adjustment to Blaise Pascal’s famous Wager…

Pascal’s Wager Applied to Global Warming

1. If global warming is false, and you don’t do anything about it, you have not lost or gained anything in relation to the environment.

2. If global warming is false, and you do whatever you can to slow it down, you’ve lost nothing, and gained a healthier, greener planet.

3. If global warming is true, and you have done nothing about it, you’ve contributed to the greatest human catastrophe of all time.

4. If global warming is true, and you do everything in your power to slow it down, you may (along with the concerted effort of the rest of the human race) stop unimaginable suffering and loss.

This new study seems to indicate that we need to hurry up and make the intelligent wager now, before the stakes (counted in human lives) get higher than they already are.

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18 Comments

  1. James,

    If only you had kept reading the blessed Fox news report in its entirety, then you would know that all your hippie non-sense about the environment is a moot point. Physicists in Switzerland are going to destroy the earth with black holes long before climate change has a chance. Therefore I proclaim to you, eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die in a swirling vortex of hyper-gravitational, imploding doom. Yeah Science!
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,483477,00.html

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  2. I hate to sound like a 9th grade teacher (which I am) who just yelled at his class for not reading their homework (which I did), but did you read the article, George? The point of taking steps to reduce carbon emmissions is to mitigate the damage; to save human lives. Just because a train can’t stop in time to keep from smashing into a school bus which stalled on the tracks doesn’t mean the engineer isn’t going to slam on the brakes (assuming said engineer is texting at the time).

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  3. James:

    Yes, I read the article. I’m amused by several remarks by Susan Solomon, such as this one: “It’s essentially an irreversible change that will last for more than a thousand years.” And then what, will it reverse itself? Or, “The carbon dioxide and heat will eventually start coming out of the ocean. And that will take place for many hundreds of years.” And then what, will it reverse itself? My primary point here is terminological: effects that last for hundreds of years are bad, but they’re not irreversible. So, at least let’s get the terminology right.

    George

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  4. Ok, you’re allowed to be picky about technicalities as long as you recycle and don’t drive an F-3,000,000 truck.

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  5. I don’t recycle as a matter of principle. I’m doing my best to fulfill the Scripture that speaks of the earth dissolving with a burning heat. And forget the F-3,000,000 truck. I drive a Hummer, even when I could walk.

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  6. I’m still on the fence on this.

    On the one hand, I think it’s good to be conscientious of the decisions we make about recycling and conservation. If God truly gave us dominion over the earth, shouldn’t we be respectful of that?

    On the other hand, Al Gore is super annoying. Plus, he’s looking pretty old, have you seen him lately. Holy crap.

    Anyway, it’s good to see that we are fulfilling the Biblical ideal of being all things to all people here at theophiliacs. We have the ideas people, the encouragers, the debaters, and even the irritating I’m-always-right-no-matter-what-you-say types. Can’t imagine it any other way!

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  7. I’m always astonished by the resistance of the far right to notions of conserving energy. Even if Global Warming is a farce (which it’s not) what is the damage of conserving the goods we use? Isn’t this the same thing our grandparents and great-parents were asked to do during the depression and wartime?

    Why should we conserve gasoline? Because its efficient. Why does it make sense to buy food that’s been grown locally? Because it’s reinvesting in the local economy and not wasteful. Why should we recycle? The same reason my grandpa always made me clean my plate before I left the table.

    The problem is that conserving energy is always marketed as a “revolutionary, hippie, liberal socialist” type of thing and it makes people nervous.

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  8. Guys, it’s a bit disingenuous to say that recycling is the goal of proponents of anthropogenic global warming. They’re calling for a fundamental re-arrangement of the way modern societies do things: from energy usage to free markets to agriculture. Indeed, one of the most persuasive arguments against Al-Gore-type arguments is “Cool It” by Bjorn Lomborg. Lomborg stipulates that he believes in AGW. But he approaches it from a cost-benefit analysis and argues that the benefits from Gore-style programs do not begin to outweigh the costs. He goes further and argues that any number of humanitarian projects (malaria prevention, clean water treatment, HIV/Aids investment) will do more to help humanity at far lower costs than radical anti-AGW programs. Check out his Copenhagen Consensus project for a list.

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  9. George,

    What about the observation that the 10% of radicals that polarize issues are keeping 90% of the population in a workable middle ground? Do you ever completely agree with everything that someone on an extreme end of an argument is saying? I think their function in society is annoying but necessary. AGW proponents may not be the best or final word, but what if they get 90% of us to rethink our wasteful ways and move us toward reasonable, wise lifestyles? Would they be as successful at it if they weren’t so “extreme?” This is just a thought that creeps in every time I look at the far political left AND right in our government. They both drive me crazy, but seem to have me rethinking my lifestyle nonetheless.

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  10. I have a dim view of Al Gore and his acolytes. Gore himself is a hypocrite, as evinced by the energy use of his house, his private jet use, his use of SUVs to drive from one event to another, and his monstrous house boat. The day he moves to a 2,000 square foot house without airconditioning, flies commercial, drives a Prius, and quits spending like a nouveau riche hillbilly, I might listen to him.

    Many of his acolytes are not hypocritical, but their arguments are extreme and (to me) unpersuasive. To be perfectly honest, I’m unpersuaded by the anthropogenic arguments. The earth has gone through global warming and little ice ages before, none of them causally related to humanity’s energy usage or industrial capability. And while environmentalists critique the West for its consumption, they conveniently forget to factor the benefits of modern economic and industrial arrangements.

    One last question which I’ve never seen a straight answer to. What precisely is the optimum temperature for the globe? When its winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere. My wife is back in Indiana and one night the wind chill reached -45 degrees Farenheit. It reached over 100 degrees in some sub-Saharan African countries at the same time. If the earth can handle a 145-degree range of temperatures, why can’t it handle a two-degree increase over 100 years, which is basically what we’ve experienced in the 20th Century?

    Reply

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