Let's assume that hypothetical "apocalyptic study" was correct and you accepted its accuracy. Now let's assume there is another accurate study which has identified a huge asteroid which has a 20% chance of annihilating planet earth in 2060. Should we risk the world economy by comitting the massive resources necessary to develop a countermeasure in time to avert this potential disaster?
Just asking - it would be interesting to see whether people's attitudes differ according to the "tangibility" of the scenario.
Risk the economy
. What does that mean? What is this economy that has become the standard by which everything, including human life, is measured? What does it mean when we say the economy is good? If we cut through the multitude levels of abstraction that seem to prop up the notion of the economy
, what are we left with? I am discouraged with the idea that the planet can only support life if this economy thing is good. It seems to me that economy is little more than a measure of the speed, volume and direction (or movement if you will) of debt.
Rather apart from the philosophical meanderings on debt, is this concept of saving ourselves from an otherwise cataclismic disaster be it natural climate change or an unpleasant - but natural - asteroid trajectory. I posit the following - life as we know it will not exist before either of those scenarios come to fruition - which is not to say human life will not exist, only that I believe, certainly before my children are grandparents that the life we in the first and 2nd world have will be a glimmer of the past. The speed with which we're discovering more efficient, less resource-intensive sources of energy and food are not keeping pace with the exponentially increasing population growth. Clean water, energy, food. These will be far more pressing problems than climate change.
In tinfoil hat circles, there's the theory of "them" who are aiming for a world populatin of half a billion and no more. The idea of course being that we are little more than a moldy fungus on the planet, needlessly consuming vast quantities of finite resources with no actual real benefit. So, if a billion (or 4) people were suddenly wiped off the face of the planet, what would the net effect be? If they were all middle class, the idle rich and the would you like fries with that
poor, the net effect would be virtually nil - except a drastic reduction in the pointless consumption of resources and a corresponding reduction in population growth.
And what if humans as a species or the entire planet suddenly were wiped out? So what? Do we believe that the vastness of the universe will care? If you're of the divine entity crowd, this should please you - we all get to go to heaven...or that other place. If you're a person of science or perhaps a Gervathiest, then nothing at all happens - we simply cease to be and the only souls in existence who care aren't around to cry about it. We are smart and resilient and blah blah blah, but we are fragile and insignificant and at the end of the day it's all for naught. If this time
mother nature really means it, I'm not fooling around here
, and the aforehappened-many-times-already warming trend ceases to be a trend and goes into runaway mode...actually I don't believe that it will...nevermind.