Saturday, October 14, 2006

The virtue of unintended Lomborgianism

If you think about the proposition that we should win the battle of SOx, NOx, Hg, O3, etc. pollution first before dealing with climate change, it is not a bad idea, because among other things you get

  • huge reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions
  • observable and immediate local improvements
As was discussed in an earlier post adaptation has immediate benefits both temporally and locally. The benefits of mitigation, on the other hand, will take a long time to emerge and will not be obvious everywhere. Thus a policy which achieves substantial mitigation coupled to immediate local benefits is a good thing.

First because diffuse sources such as automobiles and home furnaces will have to become more efficient to meet such requirements. Second because coal will become a much less used fuel as the cost of cleaning up the emissions rises..

Thus the virtue of unintended Lomborgianism.

There is an apples and oranges issue though which is often missed. SOx, NOx, Hg, O3 have short residence times in the atmosphere. The effect of any particular packet of emissions only lasts for a few years . Adding excess CO2 to the atmosphere now(and yes it is a pollutant in large enough doses) has effects that lasts for centuries.

If you want a medical analogy, the former are poisons, the latter causes cancer.

(Reposted and enhanced from the bunny's clever sayings at Science and Politics of Global Climate Change)

2 comments:

J. S. - (Wacki) said...

Just curious,

What is the worst application of science Lomborg shown? He says: "Our oceans have not been defiled" in his book. So I point to the fact that 90% of big ocean fish are gone, CO2 driven ocean acidification, bleaching corals, and this video showing that theres not enough fish so people are going after jellyfish:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/oceans/la-oceans-flash-day1,0,7544983.flash

Can you think of anything better? If a man has an insulting word like "lomborgism" assigned to his name surely there is a very clear and precise way to make your point. Yes, I agree with your post but it certainly doesn't work on your typical uneducated skeptic.

EliRabett said...

Ah, it is even worse, not Lomborgism, but Lomborgianism. Lomborgianism is a diversion and he can't even get that right. The biggest joke is that the Danish government did not accept the verdict of scientific dishonesty about his work because they said is was not science. We agree. For further comments on my position see: meta denial.