It’s a good initiative I find, to attempt to ‘bridge the climate divide’, as his post is titled. It’s an important theme for me as well. I’ve tried to find common ground with others before, e.g. Tom Fuller and Roger Pielke Jr. Not that I see such a huge divide between Lucia and myself at all, but that’s also what makes such a conversation both possible, useful and enjoyable. A conversation between more extreme or more excitable voices on either side may quickly become an exercise in mudslinging; there has to be some common ground in order to have a conversation.
The crux of what I had to say is this (quoting myself):
So you have a large amount of inertia in the energy system, in the carbon cycle and in the climate system, which means if you start taking actions, it’s decades into the future until they start taking effect.
If you combine that inertia in those different systems, with uncertainty of the precise effect, and with some knowledge that it could go pretty wrong with a business as usual scenario, then you have to take proactive steps, and that’s where the urgency comes from.
In my view, it’s similar to a chainsmoker who gets told by a physician, “hey, you should really be careful, you should stop smoking if you care about your heath.” And the person says, “hey I can still bike to the town and I feel fine and my grandmother lived until she was 96 and died in a car accident.”
You can postpone dealing with smoking until you’re in the intensive care unit. But that’s a little late. That’s the line of argument in which I see the urgency of climate global warming.
I plan to go into these issues in more detail at some point.
Thanks Keith and Lucia!
Lucia’s report is here. She makes the interesting observation that
It seemed that Bart and I may disagree less when on Skype than when posting comments at Roger Pielke Jr.’s blog. That’s an interesting thing in and off itself.
Though perhaps we have slightly different recollections of our (few) discussions at Roger’s. We never were very antagonistic as far I recall, though on the impersonal internet it’s always easier (tempting even?) to be more antagonistic than one is in “real” life (insofar as Skype is real and not internet; ah well, you get the point).