The second coming


Over on Comment is Free, Mark Lynas has mapped out three scenarios for future policies regarding climate change. The first is that the world will maintain the status quo. The second is that the world’s great nations will come together, set and keep high standards that will eventually solve the problem, and then we can all hold hands and sing We are the World. The third, which is a bit more apocalyptic, foresees massive climate disasters in 2010 and 2011 causing a sudden sense of urgency worldwide. Then the UN works its magic, carbon emissions are capped, and temperatures rise less than they would otherwise.

The lack of critical thinking is mind boggling—reminiscent of the many doomsayers before Y2K. The argument that storms are increasing because of global warming is not only fallacious (relying on correlated statistics to imply causation and being emotionally, not empirically based), but its conclusion is also incorrect.

Katrina would have been remembered much like Hurricane Andrew if the levee system in New Orleans had not failed—horrible and destructive—but not at the same level of catastrophe. In Myanmar, the problem was not so much the strength of the storm as it was poor infrastructure—no evacuation system, poor housing, and horrible emergency services. This is why the ten deadliest hurricanes ever happened over one hundred years ago (when engineering was less advanced) or in third world countries.

The sad thing is that in 15 years when everyone realizes the world will be ok, Al Gore will look back and say, "Ah, it’s because we cut our CO2 emissions." To think… he could have been the president. Instead, he's the saviour.