7/30/2015

On Why AGW is an Endless Battle


These are some of the main reasons why the AGW debate is endless:

1. CO2 is indispensable for life. We'll all die of starvation and cold without a sufficient amount of it in the atmosphere. I don't think there is a single reasonable person that questions this. So far, so good.



2. Yes, it is indispensable but, how much is too much? Here the arguments begin. Some want to return to the "primeval" 280 ppm CO2 concentration. Others arbitrarily state that the target should be 350. At the other extreme, we have people comfortable with 1,500 ppm. Since we have already exceeded 400 ppm and our global emissions are not being curtailed, the 350 ppm seems like an impossible objective. Should a more achievable objective such as 550 ppm be established and focus on trying to adapt to that world (that is almost certainly coming)? Would a 550 ppm world be worse in every sense or would it also have positive consequences? The latter is probably the right answer.



3. We cannot today replace fossil fuels wholesale. Sorry, but this is a fact. Yes, in theory nuclear could do it, but it is not doing it. Yes, China is going crazy with nuclear but they are also going crazy with fossil fuels. Yes, conceivably in 100 to 150 years nuclear (fission and / or fusion) could be our number one energy source but that is still many decades in the future. So today we have only one option: fossil fuels. Let's get over it. 


If accepting the "settled" science means agreeing that CO2 is a GHG and thus that in theory higher concentrations of it in the atmosphere will tend to increase the average temperature of the Earth, then, many, maybe even most persons, are on board.

However if accepting the "settled" science means artificially making fossil fuels more expensive or scarce without first having a massive replacement for them (that, I repeat, we do not have), many will fight back with full determination. They will be fighting for their lives and the lives of even the alarmists themselves. 

Conclusion: independent of the effects of increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy markets for many decades to come. The alternative would be far worse: widespread poverty, hunger, violence, early deaths, and the destruction of most of our civilization. 




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