14 December 2009


14 December 2009

Some things I don’t get: lottery tickets, for instance. Any look at the odds says there is no chance of getting that payoff, but people still buy the things. It says something about the irrationality of our species. Similarly confusing to me is the climate change gamble. I know so many intelligent people that adamantly refuse to believe that humans are having an impact on the climate, in the face of essentially irrefutable evidence. Of course we are all aware of the climate denial industry, but that does not explain it.

Is it perhaps our fear of change? Or fear of loss of indulgences? And similarly, the gamble here is so great; like the future of humankind. And the ante is really so small: moderate changes in our consumption patterns.

Copenhagen talks stalled today, and it would probably be better, as James Hansen argues, if they collapsed instead of producing some ineffective fluff.
And yes, no matter how it’s sliced, the developing world will get the short straw. But oddly, in the developed world we are slipping back from commitment. George Monbiot, in the Guardian, argues that fewer people believe in climate change than two years ago.

And of course, there are still some people out there that believe the world is flat.


green said...

"the gamble here is so great; like the future of humankind. And the ante is really so small" - ah, Henri - this is the same argument used in 'Pascal's Wager', and as that reasoning doesn't convince a whole lot of people to profess faith in God, I'm thinking it might not be persuasive in the matter of climate change, either.

Anonymous said...