Global Warming 1

Over on Antariksh Yatra, there is a discussion of the state of the effort to fight global warming. The problem is that, as I see the Rules of the World seeing it, nobody is going to be seriously inconvenienced by global warming — at least, nobody worth mentioning. Yes, we’ll have bigger hurricanes, but the insurance companies are already factoring that into their price structure. Yes, we’ll have sea level rises, but that can be fought with tax increases on the middle class to finance dikes and pumps and things. Drought and famine and starvation? Well, they’ll happen in those dusty countries where they already happen. None of that is going to hurt this quarter’s earnings. In the far future, say, ten years out? There’s always winners as well as losers, and the winners can always find a bigger fool to buy their condo in Miami beach, and then just shift the money across national borders and buy beachfront property in Vancouver or Halifax or some other future resort area. It’s not that they don’t understand the implications of global warming, it’s that understanding it is not in their best interests — some homespun philosopher once said that it’s hard to get a man to understand something if his paycheck depends on him not understanding it. There are more optimistic views, for example, Sara Robinson over at Orcinus. Note: I have later comments on the problem, from a systems perspective.

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