Global Warming: If You Can’t Beat It, Join It. February 24, 2010
This recent article in Reason Magazine by Ronald Bailey raises the issue of whether Global Warming is worse than the sort of society and government it would take to stop it. Actually, I think a more efficient way of dealing with global warming might be to adapt to it. That solves two problems.
First, I don’t have to deny that global warming is taking place. There are still some valid questions as to whether it is entirely a result of human activity, or even if it’s going to continue, but I don’t have to be committed to a position of denial.
Second, I think the cost of adaption will be a lot less. We will not have to shut down our entire economy. There are certain expenses that humankind will have to bear. For example, much of the population of Bangladesh will have to be relocated. The Russians are not reproducing themselves and have a very low life expectancy, so they can carve out a New Bangladesh somewhere in their territory. There are some other similar resettlements from low lying coastal areas that will be needed. An international version of the old Civilian Conservation Corps can be recruited to plant species of trees at higher altitudes in the mountains, or at more northerly latitudes, than in the past. Also some animal species will need help to be relocated in the same way. There is a lot of talk about “desertification,” but is the Sahara really likely to expand in both directions? The alarmists can’t have it both ways. Some areas will actually be drier. But in others there may actually be more rain, but it may come in bingey episodes rather than in the steady rains of the past, and we will have to find ways to store water from these episodes. Snow on the mountains, which has been for California and many other places in the world, a natural way of storing winter precipitation to release in the spring months, will be much less available to us, and we will have to devise methods to replace it.
One pleasant prospect is an excuse to get rid of respectable business dress conventions that are based on the climate of England and France in the Little Ice Age, which ended in the century before last. Ties are becoming rarer, but I find them rather decorative. The really irrational garments in warm weather are jackets and wool pants. The Scots, of all people, may have devised a garment suitable for global warming adaptation: the kilt.
In some parts of the world during part of the year, like Las Vegas and Phoenix, and maybe Texas and Florida, we could go farther than this. Will the new slogan be “No Shoes — No Shirt — Global Warming Adapted”? In that case, we’ll have to start wearing slogans on our pants – T-pants? T-kilts?
Related: “Is Government Action Worse than Global Warming?” by Ronald Bailey at Reason Magazine