Friday, February 04, 2005

Pascal's World Warming Wager

Climate warming sceptics everywhere! Let us try applying Pascal's wager to the climate warming argument.

If you are right, but we go flat out to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, we will conserve fossil fuel stocks, and so have a far less abrupt fossil fuel run down (Peak Oil, aka the Big Rollover as was) ; we will create vast areas of new forest in places that are desert at present; acid rain will diminish; hundreds of new technologies will be invented and developed; hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the green sector of the economy will be created world wide; the quality of life will increase immeasurably as the frantic rush slows down; road traffic will ease and with it road accidents; health will increase; the gap between rich and poor will begin to lessen; craftsmanship in wood and the use of wood as a structural and aesthetic material will increase; and so on and so forth.

There will be losers, naturally, but they will be people of the calibre of oil company executives, and they will be able to afford to retire anyway. All this will take place, but because you and the handful of sceptics are right, climate will not collapse, and so it will be very lovely indeed, all round.

Now what if you are wrong, and the overwhelming majority of scientists, together with the green movement is right, but policy continues to be dictated by vested interests in the oil industry, and we continue business as usual?

If I set the consequences out in detail, you will say I am being hysterical, so I will confine myself to saying that it will not be very nice at all.

So, according to Pascal's wager, the best bet for humanity is to ignore Bush and go with the scientists and the greens. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

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