2014-07-30

Change, Climate, Change!

Scientists seem to have a bad strategy, because the debate seems to be stuck on whether climate change is happening and not on what the likely and worst case consequences are going to be, and what we're going to do about them.

Make maps of the world, especially the USA, and color in the regions which will be inundated and tally up how many people will be displaced with maps to where they might be moved.  There are many other actions State and Federal governments have to take, just as if a hurricane or earthquake hit -- what will they have to do here? Florida will be gone in most scenarios.  All those people will have to move, retirees from New York and elsewhere will no longer be able to move there.

"Um, kids, climate change is bad, m'kay? Gotta stop those greenhouse gasses, m'kay?" doesn't cut it with a lot of people.  It's too vague and distant, not relevant to what they're doing.  A map with evacuation plans and economic relocation (where will we grow food, which factories must move, etc.?) will make sense.  Another thing is which force majeur things, like 100-foot dikes, etc., might we do to keep our cities and other infrastructure where it is for the short- to medium-term, and how much would that cost?  Give decision-makers some trade-offs to chew on.  Can we build a dike all the way around Florida?  Even around Miami?  New Orleans?  Holland doesn't have as many hurricanes -- could the dike survive those?

Do a best, likely, worst, and DAYUM! case scenario and tie those to parameters like Antarctic ice melt rates and CO2 levels that folks can check to see which we're heading to. My impression is that we know less about how the weather will change, but try to apply the same approach to which places will turn to deserts, have worse storms, and what will we do with all the European refugees when the Atlantic currents get all screwed up again and Europe goes all "Little Ice Agey" on us and can't grow enough food and quadruples their heating budget?

Anyway, food for thought. 

Make some real projections people can understand, and real consequences they can decide whether they are willing to accept based on the solutions (evacuations, belt-tightening, etc.) you propose.  Then the argument shifts from "is there climate change?" to "What are we going to do about all the bad stuff that's going to happen if we don't address climate change?'  It's a lot easier for a politician or tycoon to deny climate change than to explain why he's FOR abandoning Florida, for instance, while his opponents are making serious proposals about solutions.

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