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Author Topic: A Teachers Primer on Climate Action  (Read 6703 times)


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A Teachers Primer on Climate Action
« on: February 07, 2010, 02:28:33 PM »


There was an article in today’s N.Y. Times in its Editor, Andrew Revkin’s Dot Earth column entitled “A teacher’s Primer on Climate Action” featuring the blog by Anna Haynes (attached) on the book by Greg Craven on “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate” which relates to his excellent YouTube video, “The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See” having over 7.5 million hits and called to my attention by Ted Wysocki.  It better offers the same argument I have offered in my YouTube presentation, “Energy Insurance” which I posted two years ago, but only attracted 128 viewers.

I highly recommend that you look at these videos as I believe they present an argument difficult to deny, even by the deniers who may be critical of the scientific evidence.  The following is a comment which I posted on Revkin’s column expressing my view.
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Amherst, MA
February 7th, 2010
1:57 pm

Mr. Craven presents an approach I've tried to use myself, but he does it better. Rather than arguing whether the science of global warming is right or wrong, he does it from the point of view of risk management. I think that most deniers would agree that the chances that global warming supporters are correct may be at least 10 - 20%. I ask my fellow deniers whether they have fire insurance for their houses. Most say they do. Then, I ask them what they think the probability is that their houses will burn down in the next 10 - 20 years. This guess is often in the range of 1 - 3%. Then, I say that the risk that the scientists are right and that global warming will come during that period may be 5 to 10X that of your house burning down. If you buy fire insurance, shouldn't you do something to protect yourself against this risk of global warming? After all, the consequences to your life could be much more serious than that from a house fire.
The point to convey is that while climate science is complex and we cannot be sure of its predictions, there is a reasonable chance that its predictions of dire consequences of global warming are correct. In that case, doesn't it make sense to protect yourself against this happening? If it doesn't happen, you may have spent some money needlessly, but if it does, and you don't protect yourself against it, it could be disastrous.
There are some, who are risk takers, who refuse to buy fire (or life) insurance and are willing to bet against disaster. They often believe that if the bad thing happens, someone will come along to bail them out. This is sometimes the view of the teenager who may do stupid things with the belief that their parents will rescue them if they get into trouble. However, if global warming comes, there may be no one around to come to the rescue, To hope there will be may be wishful thinking!
Goessmann Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Home: 5 Berkshire Terrace, Amherst, MA 01002
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