Re: NANFA-- Gloom, Dispair & Agony on me

Mark Otnes (
Sat, 11 May 2002 12:13:34 -0500

----- Original Message ----- >
> While I haven't read the book you are referring to I agree that critiquing
> someone's book without reading it is somewhat hasty at least. Just as many
> people assumed the book I recommended (The Deep Hot Biosphere) was invalid
> because I remarked that what we know as fossil fuels may indeed not be
> fuels if the author is correct. Some people immediately assumed the book
> by someone who believed that oil and gas were not limited resources or
> something in that regard. One thing I have noted in recent months is that
> more and more researchers are beginning to wonder if indeed we might be
> headed toward another ice age instead of global warming due to some before
> now unnoticed effects of melting polar caps on ocean circulation that may
> cause an extreme negative feed back when the planet gets too warm. So even
> the greenhouse effect may not indeed be what we all expect. It all boils
> to information, The more information we have the more accurate any
> predictions will be but assuming that preliminary evidence is valid
> continuing to gather new and question old data can lead to making the
> conclusions and decisions. If you look at the track record of science you
> will quickly see that what the experts say is possible and impossible
> regularly. Scientists do seem to be more reluctant to say that something
> impossible in recent years due to past assumptions proving to be more
> flexible that at first thought. Of course this doesn't mean science can't
> find the answers it just means that science is a fluid process and the
> of one generation becomes the blunders of another. Never forget that
> questions always brings more questions than answers and the way data is
> interpreted can be as important as the data it's self.
> Moon
You make a good point about the way we interpret the data is important as
the data it's self. I've seen comments that say something like "what is an
economist doing in this discussion?". Well much of Lomborg's book consists
of cost-benefit analysis. For example, if we divert such and such a
percentage of the global GDP as called for the Kyoto protocol how much will
then be taken away from basic infrastructure improvements (clean water,
sanitation, etc.) in the Third World that would save many lives. You have
to calculate the loss of lives due to global warming predictions against the
loss of lives that will result in the diversion funds that go to saving
lives in other areas. The same with pesticides. Cut back and malaria
deaths go up (the Third World again). You have to look at loss of life
from pesticide poisoning verses cheaper more abundant foods and a reduction
in malaria and other diseases. If organic farming gets its way, costs of
fruits and vegetable will skyrocket, and this again will most impact the
poor. These are all hard choices that have to be made and it is very
important that we have accurate data and that we take a look at the
ramifications of our decisions in as unbiased a way as possible.

I guess I lied when I said I was done taking about the subject. Sorry.

By the way, I think I'll pick up a copy of Deep Hot Biosphere.

Mark Otnes
Fargo ND
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