Saturday, December 06, 2008

Allen vs. Lomborg -- the people who look for spare PC time around the Internet to run climate models -- has a nice debate video between Bjorn Lomborg and Myles Allen that took place in October. I learned a lot from it in a short period of time -- it's worth checking out.
  • I have never heard audio or video of Lomberg before -- I am amazed at how American he sounds, with no trace whatsoever of a Danish accent.
  • I like the simple way that Allen quantifies the debate -- to me it is a different perspective:
    • 0.5 TtC = 1°C warming (though I wonder if this simple rule takes into account the logarithmic dependence of temperature and CO2 level)
    • Let 1°C warming be defined as = 1 GWU (global warming unit)
    • (TtC = trillion tons Carbon)
    • total carbon burned so far = 1 GWU
    • reserves of conventional oil and gas = 1 GWU
    • reserves of coal = 5 GWU
    • unconventional reserves = 3 GWU
  • Overall, I think I agree with Allen -- I think Lomborg neglects to consider what happens in 2100+, when, if we don't curtail GHGs soon, will be in serious straits. Also, Lomborg is only talking about $50B -- chump change today. Can't we contain malaria and provide clean drinking water across the world and cutback on GHGs? Don't we have to? You can't long ignore a serious problem in your life just because you have other problems. We had $700B to bail out Wall Street at the drop of a hat (literally -- I heard yesterday that the Treasury Department can't even keep track of all the money because it's heading too fast out the door). Why can't the entire world find $50B?
  • Why do they introduce these speakers like it's a TV game show?

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