Tag Archives: green energy investments

Playing the Odds

My post a few days back ignited a pretty lively discussion of climate change. But here’s what I don’t understand: let’s say the science is far less compelling than I think it actually is. Let’s say it’s 50/50, rather than 98/2. It would still make sense to take steps to ameliorate it.

There are zero negatives to cleaning up the environment. No downsides–even if we are wrong. For our efforts we get an investment in cleaner air and water, and we create a lot of new jobs. On the other hand, if we do nothing and climate change continues at its current pace, we face increasing numbers of disasters–hurricanes, tsunamis, rising sea levels…Aside from the human suffering such effects would cause, they will require massive outlays of money and other resources–far more than an investment in green energy and environmentally-friendly technologies.

I understand why those with a financial stake in coal, oil and other pollutants are advocating that we ignore the science. But wouldn’t good policy require that we play the odds, even if they were far less lopsided than they are?

If you lived beneath a volcano and were told it only had a 50-50 chance of erupting, would you keep your family there?