Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not-all-that-interesting-interview with Al Gore about climate-gate. There are two important points he makes in the interview though. Here's one:

"The physical relationship between CO2 molecules and the atmosphere and the trapping of heat is as well-established as gravity, for God's sakes. What do they think happens when we put 90 million tons up there every day? Is there some magic wand they can wave on it and presto!—physics is overturned and carbon dioxide doesn't trap heat anymore? And when we see all these things happening on the Earth itself, what in the hell do they think is causing it?"

Of course, I assume everyone reading this pretty much agrees with me already about climate change, so I won't say much, but I still think it's an important point. One can never prove the causal human activity and global warming, but only track the correlation between emissions and temperatuer, and assign a probability of causation cased on certain models. Even if the greenhouse effect isn't behind the warming trend, we know it's not helping. The climate change skeptics, on the other hand, have no plausible model and no explanation for rising temperatures.

What I don't understand about climate change skeptics is that despite the fact that they're almost certainly wrong, they don't even recognize that probability. Even if there were no consensus about the science and the cause of global warming, wouldn't it still be worth doing something about it? If there were only a 50%, instead of well over 95%, chance that climate change has athropogenic roots, wouldn't it still be worth sacrificing 5% of our wealth now for a good chance at avoiding environmental and economic catastrophe later? It seems to me that even the worst deniers, even if they're right about the science by some freakish accident, are wrong about policy.

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