Tuesday, June 12, 2007

global warming may be real--but it has benefits


One month ago (actually, January of 2007), the world heard that global warming could lead to a global catastrophe "on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century." This assessment, from Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank, made banner headlines and led prominent leaders such as British Prime Minister Tony Blair to urge immediate action to stem global warming.

Is this true? Does the earth face imminent destruction due to the curse of man-made global warming? Will all of mankind, not to mention the fuzzy-wuzzy polar bears, be instantly annhilated by the crock pot slow-cooker that Spaceship Earth will become because of our failure to heed the words of the messianic Brother Al Gore and his Church of Global Warming?

Not so fast, my friend! (I love quoting Lee Corso!)

I now introduce you to Richard S.J. Tol. His credentials (quoted from Lawrence Solomon's article):

Tol is a Denier, to use the terminology of the "science-is-settled" camp in the increasingly polarized global warming debate. Like many other Deniers, Tol doesn't think the evidence is in on global warming and its effects, he doesn't think there's reason to rush to action, and he doesn't think that crash programs to curb global warming are called for.

Also like many other Deniers, he doesn't fit the stereotype that those who use the epithet imagine. Anything but.

Tol is no fringe outsider to the scientific debate. He is at the centre of the academic investigation of global warming, a central figure in the scientific establishment that has been developing the models and the knowledge to understand the global warming phenomenon. At the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, considered by most the authoritative body in the field, Tol is involved as an author in all three of its Working Groups. He is also an author and editor of the United Nations Handbook on Methods for Climate Change Impact Assessment and Adaptation Strategies. He is also a mover and shaker in the prestigious European Climate Forum. He takes global warming seriously and has dedicated his professional life to making a contribution for the better in climate policy and related fields.

The really ironic thing about Tol is, he is so completely respected and esteemed within his field that Sir Nicholas (or was that St. Nicholas?) actually used Tol's work to support his own study. The problem was that Sir Nicholas distorted Tol's findings in order to support his own science fiction and to find favor with the global warming crowd.

Read the article yourself and you will find that Tol finds two major faults with the Sir Nicolas study. First, it was fraudulent. Second, the study exaggerated the supposed disasterous consequences of global warming while, at the same time, ignoring the benefits.


That's right. According to Tol, global warming may in fact be real, but man's ability to invent and adapt will, as usual, overcome any of the harms of global warming at a fraction of the cost that the more draconian Al Gore solutions have. Further, those adaptations and inventions will benefit mankind in ways that we can't even imagine today. In other words, says Tol, let's back off on the pseudo-science and the doomsday scenarios, and let's let real scientists work with the situation in order to really benefit mankind.

Sounds reasonable to me.


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