The Climate Question

The question, "do you believe in climate change?" doesn't make a lot of sense. Many times it is used by "believers" to justify them labeling skeptics as "deniers."

However, these are some of the reasons it doesn't make sense:
  • Essentially everybody believes the climate is changing. It has always changed (for many millions of years) and there is no reason to believe it will ever stop changing (at least as long as the Earth hangs on to a significant atmosphere).
  • So, the question should probably be framed differently: do you believe the additional CO2 that humans are pumping into the atmosphere via the burning of fossil fuels will change the climate? Even if this were the question, it can hardly be answered yes / no. If somebody answers "yes" what do they actually mean by that? Yes, imperceptibly. Yes, mildly. Yes, significantly. Yes, catastrophically. And yes, but it will IMPROVE the climate. So, we are back at square one.
  • If the belief is that yes, additional CO2 will affect the climate negatively and we should prevent it, then belief and faith, no matter how strong they may be, won't change the composition of the atmosphere. If we do want to reduce CO2 emissions from our primary energy supply, nuclear energy is a must and it should end up supplying more than 50% of our requirements. Eventually, it should probably go up as high as 90%. However, we should understand this energy transition will be slow. It may require 100 years or more. 
  • Unless we want to commit economic suicide, solar panel / wind turbine capacity needs to be paired with the same capacity of reliable power plants. And the latter will always end up producing most of the energy on an annual basis. Thus we cannot move to a low CO2 global economy piggybacking on "renewables." It could even be argued that investing in "renewables" is among the least effective ways of reducing CO2 emissions. 
So, bottom line, more than feelings and beliefs what we need are hard headed engineering / economic decisions. Feelings and beliefs more often than not are just counterproductive. 

Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram



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