Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The other problem

I occasionally write about climate change and energy, but I've also noted, thanks to an initial reminder by Jay Forrest, that we also have to learn how to get along together. Now Lord Nicholas Stern says much the same thing in Expert predicts dire scenarios of climate change: mass migrations and war.

It would seem we have two major problems to address.

Thanks to AltEnergyNews for the tip.

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Blogger Tom Fiddaman said...

I wish it were only two! Energy and non-climate environmental problems seem like good candidates for trouble as well.

Security implications of climate were a big focus of the CNAS war game I was involved in a while back.

I think full-scale nuclear war is probably much worse than anything we could do to ourselves via climate. But, as Stern apparently points out, climate leads to conflict, and conflict can escalate.

Ventana did some post-nuclear-attack recovery modeling years ago. From that, it was evident that one of the worst things you could do to a modern economy was destroy its energy infrastructure, because that made recovery extremely difficult. A rough transition away from the easy oil and gas might be pretty painful too.

Cutting emissions would seem to pay a double dividend, by also reducing the vulnerability of the energy system.

In any case, it's basically the rich who have to decide to pay for the insurance against climate and other catastrophes. It seems like it shouldn't be that hard to invest a bit in getting along, but when I read the WSJ or IBD, I don't see much interest in trying. I don't think we're going to get there by "teach a man to fish".

25 February, 2009 13:42  
Blogger Bill Harris said...

Thanks, Tom, as always. I'm probably cheating in my numbering: I'm really lumping energy and the environment all together.

We seem to face challenges on two levels: dealing with the technical nature of our problems, and dealing with each other as people, which itself becomes more crucial as we also have to deal with the technical nature of these problems.

Thanks for pushing back; you may have helped me clarify how I express that (although it's possible the increased clarity is only apparent to me).

26 February, 2009 19:41  

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