Monday, January 14, 2008

Global Warming Opinions

I spent the weekend at Rustycon, which is a small local science fiction convention in the Seattle area. I moderated two panels on global warming. Unlike the larger conventions, the panelists were generally bright and well known fans, but not experts on climate change. One of the panels was entitled something like "Climate change, science or religion" and turned out to largely be a rant about people who believe the fact that climate change is caused by humans tending to be closed to any other ideas. I generally agree with that, in the sense that I'm quite open to hearing all sides of the debate. But I have to say that for me, it's a risk/reward kind of thing, and it seems pretty likely that we are at least a large part of the problem. Not only that, but most of the behavior changes needed to reduce our carbon output are a good idea anyway. Almost all the easy first wins are in conservation - whether it's using mass transit, simply turning off the lights, or installing building systems smart enough to turn the lights off for you, and which don't take more energy in their turn than leaving all the lights on), and shifting to renewables, particularly water, sun, and the like. Wouldn't it be nice to get all our energy from home?

Anyway, both panels had a healthy dose of skepticism. Maybe a little too healthy - I left slightly disturbed. Given that the worst downside risk of being wrong is major damage to the only atmosphere we have, and that's there is lots of supporting evidence for the theory that we can mitigate this, why don't we?

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