Feeling Lucky?

I'm not.


Anonymous said...

My only problem with this arguement is that in column 1, Row 1. Following a massive depression Large Scale War has followed. Granted there's no garuntee that large scale war wouldn't happen in all 4 boxes because of the contraversy, but I also feel that we can make a positive impact without making massive drastic changes that denies most people the freedoms they enjoy.

If most of the hypocrits out there would (a) carpool (or use cars/motorcycles that used less fuels), (b) follow those grade school maxims of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, and (c) Stop wasting our resources by telling us how we're wasting our resources; I am certain that things will be markedly improved.

And if the coast-line raises a few feet, those lucky people with coastal homes might have to move them inland a bit, boo hoo.


Matoushin said...

Large Scale War is least likely to occur in Column 2, Row 2. It is relatively somewhat likely to occur in Column 1, Row 1. It is unlikely, though possible to occur in Column 1, Row 2.

Column 2, Row 2 really can't be described as Large Scale War so much as Complete Collapse of Civilization (as we know it).

I think you underestimate how drastic the changes you suggest are culturally. Japan is already doing these things you speak of, it's a part of their cultural mindset. The US, largely, doesn't do these things because of our own cultural mindset. We believe in 1) freedom, 2) individuality, and 3) The American Dream (TM). Everything you mentioned infringes on one or more of these to different extents, and that's enough for most people to ignore them.

If we can do a 180 degree turn in our culture, those suggestions won't be drastic at all.

As for the coastline there are a lot of coastal communities in this and other countries that aren't simply rich and wealthy people living the good life on idealistic beaches. Not all towns, villages and cities on the coasts have attractive beaches. A 20ft rise in the sea level could sink New Orleans permanently, much of Boston, and large portions of Florida around Miami. Look at http://flood.firetree.net/ to play around with it.

Anonymous said...

Of the 4 boxes, the one which annoyed me was column 1, row 2. If we make economic sacrifices to control global warming (choosing column 1), the ensuing worldwide depression is not affected by whether the sacrifices were necessary. Rows 1 and 2 of column 1 should be the same. But that quibble doesn't undermine his argument.

One real reservation I have about his approach occurs when he asks that we forget our knowledge and opinions of whether humans are causing global warming, because he can draw some useful conclusions without resolving the debates over that issue. He then draws the diagram in which the two alternatives in the debate get equal space, 50-50. The rows have equal size. The problem is that few people understand the situation in that proportion. Make row 2 small enough, and his conclusion does not follow.

My other reservation is that he's supposing we have a single choice to make between column 1 and column 2. That is not even an approximation to the way humankind behaves. People, corporations, and nations react to events and immediately visible threats. So far, global warming is at most a scientific fact, not an event or an immediate threat. We can see how far from effective action are the real players in this situation. They're at the point of holding international conferences that set toothless guidelines, and of developing trail balloon technological approaches. The real conclusion is to get ready for climate change and the ensuing disruptions.