I really have no idea whether the human-induced climate change some predict will actually eventuate or not.
There appears to me to be a reasonable and growing collection of evidence available which indicates that there’s at least a disturbing possibility of our causing serious problems for ourselves down the line, that deserves a bit of caution – but, who knows? We might be lucky. We haven’t seen how the Earth copes with industrial activity to this extent before – maybe it’s got a hitherto-undemonstrated system for dealing with it without causing chaos to our civilisations. Maybe it’s a lot more resilient and capable of absorbing whatever we throw at it than the climate scientists fear.
That seems to me somewhat doubtful, however. And I suspect that most of the mud thrown at climate scientists is motivated less by an open-minded caution as it is by stubborn resistance to change. And antipathy for the particular people and groups who have taken up the cause.
That’s why much of the opposition is run not by scientists, but professional polemicists.
That said, however, I would be absolutely ecstatic if they turned out to be right. It’s not a “game” that I particularly want the cautious people with whom I’m inclined to agree to “win” – I want them to succeed in having the decision-makers take the results of their research seriously, of course, and if the science demonstrates that there’s (say) a 10% chance of catastrophic climate change, then it would make sense for our governments to allocate an appropriate amount of resources to reduce that risk.
But I don’t want the pessimistic predictions to be right! It’s not as if I’ll be jumping up and down cheering as the seas rise, and I doubt any environmentalists would either.
The reverse would be true, too, by the way. If I were convinced that the environmentalists were completely wrong, and there was NO RISK WHATSOEVER, but I was, so it happens, mistaken – I’d much rather that were proven sooner, when there was still something we could do, than later, when it was too late.
Either way, it’s far from a game – it’s a serious issue.
All of which was a long-winded way of expressing surprise at the manner with which our old friend Mr Blair greeted the news that China has basically declared “screw you” to the rest of the world and promised to increase emissions, and to hell with the consequences:
Continued Chinese economic expansion – and Japanese opposition to emissions cuts – reduces to less than irrelevant any Australian attempts at climey-warmy-carbony-changiness. Penny Wong may as well start looking for a new job.
Ha ha! If there’s any possibility of emission-induced catastrophic climate change, it’s now guaranteed! Our civilisations may well collapse; millions may die; whatever. The important thing is that Penny Wong and other lefty environmentalists have LOST! GAME OVER! Hooray!
But Tim Blair is no more a climate scientist than I am. You would think the possibility that the other side might be right might have occurred to him, even if he’s not convinced by it. A possibility that’s non-zero, and quite serious. (It’s not like we have a backup Earth.) So why’s he really so thrilled by the news that China is going to charge ahead regardless?
I mean, apart from the fact that it will worry people he dislikes, of course.