Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oregonian Op-Ed

I have an op-ed in today's Oregonian: "Climate Change: The Last, Final Problem."

Basically, it argues that climate change is, long-term, essentially an insolvable problem. The proposals being advocated today -- take less car trips, car pooling, mass transit, making your home energy efficient (if you can) -- are far, far too little, and far too late.

The drastic and overwhelming changes we need to address the global warming problem as so enormous that we cannot afford to delude ourselves into thinking that a few small lifestyle changes will solve the problem. They won't. We literally need to completely remake our lives -- and that has never happened in the history of mankind, and there's absolutely no evidence that it will happen today, or anytime in the future.

It's not a pleasant situation, and I don't know the answer. Geoengineering is probably the best answer, with all its uncertainities and unintended consequences. The long-term physics are simply against us. We should have have listened to scientists like Wallace Broeckner three decades ago. We did not. We can't even get it together today, and there's no evidence we will get it together tomorrow.


Dano said...


We - as individuals and as a society - are not geared this way, have not evolved this way, and cultural evolution is far down another path.


The GF and I just had this conversation and asked why we don't give up. Morally, we must act. It is a moral imperative to try.



Michael Tobis said...

Do you think this approach is constructive, David? I don't agree.

However f***ed we are, we can always get f***eder. Or less f***ed. At least until we are well and truly extinct.

I can't see how advising people to despair helps matters.

I agree with Dano that it's a moral imperative to try, but that's not all. It's a moral imperative to find a path to a solution, however unlikely, and work toward it.

EliRabett said...

Well, if that's the case, let's take Roger Pielke both, Benny Pieser, S. Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen, Bjorn Lomborg and Co. who have dedicated themselves to blocking action and line them up against the wall, perhaps metaphorically, but they will have deserved what they get.

If it's not the case, let's work towards doing what we can.

Douglas Watts said...

You haven't convinced me of your thesis.

But proving something is "impossible" there is "no hope" has always been a challenge.