Adapt and die....
For some time now the pensive Rabett has pointed out that neither adaptation nor mitigation alone can meet the existential threat of climate change. While not of the sort that thinks life will vanish from the Earth, he sees a threat to our societies, and recognizes that when the burrow caves in a lot of bunnies go into the cooking pot. It is, as they say, a time of great unpleasantness.
Net noodling this morning Eli came across a 25 July article by Dave Roberts on Gristmill. Dave observes that
A few days ago Roger Pielke Jr. pointed to a paper (PDF) by Tim Dyson of the London School of Economics called "On development, demography and climate change: The end of the world as we know it?" Pielke called it "refreshingly clear thinking on climate change." That's true, if by "refreshingly clear" he means "weep- silently- aplogize- to- your- children- and- throw- yourself- out- a- window depressing." Abandon hope, all ye who download PDF here.Dyson's thesis is that life was pretty scummy back in the 18th century, and it is only by harnessing fossil fuels that we have climbed out of the hole. We have no clue about how to replace fossil fuels. Therefore we will continue burning them. Then there will be significant and very unpleasant climate changes. According to Dyson, as usual, our response will be too little, too late
Finally, the paper argues that human experience of other difficult 'long wave' threats (e.g. HIV/AIDS) reveals a broadly analogous sequence of reactions. In short: (i) scientific understanding advances rapidly, but (ii) avoidance, denial, and reproach characterize the overall societal response, therefore, (iii) there is relatively little behavioral change, until (iv) evidence of damage becomes plain. Apropos carbon emissions and climate change, however, it is argued here that not only is major behavioral change unlikely in the foreseeable future, but it probably wouldn't make much difference even were it to occur.The paper is linked at both Gristmill and Prometheus, so go there for the rest of the comments and context.
Eli apologizes to Dave for having missed this, but he was vacating at the time and had to sneak out from under Ms. Rabett's steely gaze to get to a computer cafe in the seedy areas of strange towns.
Eli is exceedingly cross with Ethon for not bringing this up on one of his frequent visits for milk and liver cookies.
Eli also apologizes to Roger for thinking that Roger was advocating a strategy of adapt and prosper.