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Global Warming: Real or Not, and Does it Matter?

It's a pretty simple question, and the correct answer is surprisingly simple as well, but to enter this debate you'll have to invest 9 minutes and 33 seconds of time into watching this video through to its conclusion. Then feel free to use the comment section below to let others know your choice.

Click on the "play" button in the lower left-hand corner to play the video.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (6 votes cast)

Comments (2)


Here's my contribution to the "debate" -- my choice would be column A.
On a side note: I understand it is highly simplified (for obvious reasons) but one quibble I might have with his analysis is the global depression implied in the "False/Yes" choice -- I can see scenarios where following this path might break even, or even where this choice actually gets a global boom underway.

Jim Manzi:

This guy should have done some research. Amazingly, he is not the first person to have thought of odds and impacts of scenarios in this way. He might start with the decades-long modeling project executed by the Yale School of Forestry and Department of Economics to do for real what he is showing on a whiteboard. For that matter, he might have read the UN IPCC WG2 and WG3 reports which reference a lot of relevant research on this question.

Here are some (example) problems with his video:

1. His "bad case" is overblown and rhetorical. Under a reasonable scenario for global economic and population growth (Scenario A1B), the IPCC projects about 2.8C increase in global temperatures by 2100. According to any competent modelers (for example, the Yale project), this would lead to about break-even net global economic impacts, i.e., the positive benefits of warming would about equal the negative impacts. It's only when you get to warming of about 4C in 22nd and 23rd centuries that you, according to the IPCC, see a net reduction in global GDP of about 1- 5%. That's a lot of money, but it's hardly the Armageddon that he is describing.

2. According to the IPCC, no global climate model currently predicts any of the disaster scenarios he describes for the next century.

3. Without any quantitative consideration of odds of an outcome, you could apply this same 2X2 matrix argument to the risk of space aliens descending from the sky and killing everybody. Why don't we have crash programs that risk global depression against space aliens and a meteor strike and a global pandemic based on a modified version of Avian Flu and, and, and, and....? Because the list of such anxieties is endless and our resources are finite.


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