Stormy Weather

Tom Friedman has a nice column in the Times about climate change.  He correctly points out that unusual snowstorms in D.C. do nothing to disprove climate change; if anything, he observes, such “weird” weather is just what you’d expect from a changing climate.  And anyway, no one year or even decade of weather is definitive.

To say that snow in D.C. disproves climate change is childish.  It’s about on the level of saying that Al Gore’s views on climate can’t be trusted because he’s an Aries and fire signs are prone to deceit.   (Before I start an urban myth, I should clarify that I’m not aware of anyone making this astrological argument, though it wouldn’t surprise me.)

I thought a couple of Friedman’s other points points were particularly well-taken:

*Those who favor taking action are saying: “Because the warming that humans are doing is irreversible and potentially catastrophic, let’s buy some insurance — by investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency and mass transit — because this insurance will also actually make us richer and more secure.” We will import less oil, invent and export more clean-tech products, send fewer dollars overseas to buy oil and, most importantly, diminish the dollars that are sustaining the worst petro-dictators in the world who indirectly fund terrorists and the schools that nurture them.

*Even if climate change proves less catastrophic than some fear, in a world that is forecast to grow from 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion people between now and 2050, more and more of whom will live like Americans, demand for renewable energy and clean water is going to soar. It is obviously going to be the next great global industry.

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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