Monday, July 16, 2007

Taking Precautions?

Have a look at the video on this link. It’s called “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See”. What it sets out to do is to simplify the climate change issues so that the solution becomes obvious.
Dangerous Climate Change will either happen or not happen: two possibilities. We can either take action or take no action: two strategies. This is then resolved into a simple 2x2 matrix:

Plan A
Plan A is Take Action. If climate change is NOT real, this strategy brings negative consequences. We cut back on carbon emissions by suppressing economic activity and we end up with a severe depression and then we find that it was all a waste of time.
However if climate change IS real this strategy helps us adapt and survive. Although we will have changed lifestyles and business models our actions will help us cope with the consequences of climate change.

Plan B
Plan B is Take NO Action. If climate change is NOT real and we take no action then things go on as they are, just getting better all the time.
However, if it IS real and we have done nothing about it, we are in serious trouble. We will see economic collapse, famine, flood, starvation, epidemics war and refugees. This is the worst case scenario.

As you will see from the video, the presenter says our course of action is a no-brainer. If Plan B could lead to the worst case scenario then the prudent course of action is to follow Plan A, because the worst case scenario will then be avoided.

No contest?

Well if we adopt Plan A and eliminate the worst case scenario we also eliminate the best case scenario – no action, no problem, no change. If we adopt Plan A things are going to get worse whether climate change is real or not. Even if climate change is real and Plan A helps us deal with it, our lives will be very different and will be seen by many to be worse. Never mind that they might have been far worse if we had done nothing; people will not have experienced that situation, only the relatively comfortable situation that existed before we started taking action. Many will refuse to accept that action was the right thing.

If dangerous climate change is as likely as no climate change, people will be more likely to accept the status quo and do nothing. If they think that climate change is less likely than no climate change then they will certainly do nothing. After all, two weeks ago a survey revealed that 56% of people in the UK believe (wrongly) that scientists are still in doubt as to whether human activity plays any part in global warming. And if the scientists can’t agree, who’s going to sell their car, stop the foreign holidays and turn down the central heating? Plan B – do nothing – will be favourite.

Maybe the shock of increased energy prices will make people think again, but until something like that happens no government that wants to get re-elected is going to take sufficient action to have an effect on climate change.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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