Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lomborg on Newshour

Bjorn Lomborg, whom I consider to be one of the top 3 or 4 smartest people on the planet on Newshour.

There are multiple things going on but for convenience's sake a distinction between the science and the politics (or what to do).

There is another movie making the rounds (view here) The Great Global Warming Swindle on the position against Global Warming. While it is well crafted and (tries to be) convincing just watching it, the ideas in it fall through. Critical response point by point here via

The problem I have with RealClimate is not the science but the politics. RealClimate is just straight down the line pro-Kyoto Accords, call for massive carbon cuts, etc.

This is where Lomborg is so genius. Instead of this (what I think of) useless argument pro/con, you deal with the eventuality of change and how to create human resiliency networks to deal with the consequences.

Resiliency then is the buzzword. It cuts across security (terrorist-networks), health (AIDS-malaria), and environment (Climate Change). Doesn't get into blame games, massive economic cuts/anti-market forces as is common in green proposals.

BL says that right now it is $30/ton for carbon reduction. Better to spend the money on reducing the cost he says to $3 per.

Humans need wealth for resiliency.

Global Warming/Climate Change is not about saving the earth. The biosphere is going to explode with life due to Climate Change.

As Lomborg says we shouldn't care about climate change per se but rather its impacts on humans.

Viruses, bacteria, weeds, many different forms of life are going to flourish in a climate change/global warming scenario. Every phase of mass life extinction on the planet (think the dinosaurs) has led to a further explosion of different forms of life. Same with this. If there is human induced change (which I do believe but am not apocalyptically so) AND change or no we are in the midst of one of 6 or so major extinction periods of life on this planet, then we are headed for a major life flourishing.

Just not of the human variety. Humans will go extinct. Not the planet. Not the Earth. So let's cut out all "Save the Planet" bullshit. We need to talk about saving humans.

Global Warming is to the left what War on Terror is to the Right, a myth that keeps them from being responsible political beings who have to make decisions based on what is possible and what good can be done among the many many ills our society and planet faces.

This is Lomborg's point: you can only do so much so why not do what we can do, do well, and do less expensively than all the carbon cuts, and make human communities more resilient to deal with the consequences.

As he says, "Kyoto is a bad investment." Massive carbon cuts by the rich countries is not the issue. The mass of carbon is increasingly going to be in the courts of China and India. They are not going to stop development for the earth.

A basic understanding of Spiral Dynamics and human values systems will tell you why not.

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