Problems With The Precautionary Principle For AGW
Posted by Jeff Id on February 11, 2010
Dr. Leonard Weinstein,
The idea that we should do something just in case it might warm enough to cause major problems brings up the counter point that we should actually do something in case it cools significantly instead. The reason the choice should favor the precaution for cooling is due to the fact that cooling may have much larger negative effects than warming (at realistic levels). Crop loss due to cooling would cause mass starvation. Warming would possibly cause some groups to relocate from very low-lying areas, or need to build water barriers, but this is far less likely to occur on a short time scale. Increasing glaciers would threaten land, where retreating glaciers would make land available. Human history has indicated that warm periods were generally productive times, and cold times much worse. Since the temperature is presently tending to dropping, and since we are in fact near the end of the present interglacial period (as compared to the several previous ones), worrying about cooling is potentially the far larger problem, especially with a growing population.