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Climate change: What are the odds?

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By The Staff

Let’s take a different look at the issue of global warming, or better stated, climate change. First a few observations:

It is undeniable that coal and oil deposits underground had locked up vast amounts of carbon, and to support human activities they are being brought up and burned in enormous quantities, thus releasing the carbon into the atmosphere.

A review of the independent studies and articles done by climate scientists around the world shows that the great majority believe the evidence holds that climate change is real, already happening, and that it is caused by human activities.  The trend line for global temperatures over the years is analogous to that of the stock market — there are down periods, but the line trends upward.

If predictions are correct regarding climate change, it could lead to a world-wide catastrophe.

What does each side gain from their stance?  How do the believers benefit?  The deniers? There is a direct economic link for the deniers (drill, baby, drill!  Cheap energy!); for the believers, the benefit, if any, is pretty fuzzy (possible study grants?).

Now, let’s say that climate change may or may not be caused by humans.  As individuals, we can assign a probability percentage to the dire predictions being correct, ranging from 100 percent to zero.  You can assign your own.

So, at what percent probability of such a catastrophe is it acceptable to do nothing?  Are you willing to risk it at 80 percent?  50 percent?  Even if it were a one-in-10 chance?  It appears most deniers assume a

0 percent chance.  This stance allows them to continue their wasteful ways and absolve themselves of any responsibility.  Are you really willing to gamble the future of your children, and of the world, on such an assumption?

Jose Carreño

Los Alamos