Global warming quiz

Global warming quiz
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First Published: Fri, Apr 13 2007. 12 03 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Apr 13 2007. 12 03 AM IST
It’s a one-question quiz: Suppose we discovered that the earth was cooling rather than warming due to a natural cycle. Would you encourage people to drive more and use more carbon-based energy as a way of warming the earth? I suspect that some people’s ideal policy towards the earth’s climate is that it should be whatever it would be if people didn’t exist. Or whatever it would be if people lived in loincloths without fire. That is, the ideal climate is the natural one, because our species is unnatural. In this world view, humans are a poison on the earth and the reason we should put on a carbon tax or discourage fossil fuels is that our use of the earth’s resources is somehow immoral. Obviously, not all people who worry about global warming feel this way. That’s the point of the quiz.
- Russel Roberts
“climate change” really about the temperature? | www.acton.org/blog
An interesting piece from the 16 April issue of Newsweek by Richard Lindzen: “Judging from the media in recent months, the debate over global warming is over. There has been a net warming of the earth over the last century and a half, and our greenhouse gas emissions are contributing at some level. Both of these statements are almost certainly true. What of it? Recently many people have said that the earth is facing a crisis requiring urgent action. This statement has nothing to do with science. There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we’ve seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe. What most commentators, and many scientists, seem to miss is that the only thing certain about climate is that it changes. The earth is always warming or cooling by as much as a few tenths of a degree a year; periods of constant average temperatures are rare... Is there any point in pretending that CO2 increases will be catastrophic? Or could they be modest and on balance beneficial? India has warmed during the second half of the 20th century, and agricultural output has increased greatly. Infectious diseases like malaria are a matter not so much of temperature as poverty and public-health policies, (such as) eliminating DDT. Exposure to cold is generally found to be both more dangerous and less comfortable. Actions taken thus far to reduce emissions have already had negative consequences without improving our ability to adapt to climate change. An emphasis on ethanol... has led to angry protests against corn-price increases in Mexico, and forest clearing and habitat destruction in Southeast Asia. Carbon caps are likely to lead to increased prices, as well as corruption associated with permit trading. (Enron was a leading lobbyist for Kyoto... it had hoped to capitalize on emissions trading.) The alleged solutions have more potential for catastrophe than the putative problem.”
Surely Lindzen is a paid-for mouthpiece of Big Oil, right? Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has always been funded exclusively by the US government. He receives no funding from any energy companies. Read the essay... well worth your time. Here’s perhaps his most important quote: “The evidence for global warming thus far doesn’t warrant any action unless it is justifiable on grounds that have nothing to do with climate.”
–Marc Vander Maas
Why women don’t ask | neweconomist.blogs.com
In a fascinating book published four years ago, Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever found that whether they want higher salaries or more help at home, women often found it hard to ask. But why? Harvard’s Hannah Bowles and Carnegie Mellon’s Linda Babcock and Lei Lai examined this in a series of experiments. Their paper finds that women may face social costs, such as being perceived as ‘demanding’, or may be penalized for initiating negotiations: Experiments show that gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations may be explained by differential treatment of men and women when they attempt to negotiate. The authors conclude: “Gender differences in the initiation of negotiations cannot be resolved simply by encouraging women to speak up more.”
It’s certainly food for thought, but with one very important caveat. Like most other experimental studies, the authors have based their conclusions on an unrepresentative sample—college students. I very much doubt that the behaviour and attitudes of students whose median age was 20 would accurately replicate those of experienced supervisors or human resource managers facing a recruitment, promotion or remuneration decisio
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First Published: Fri, Apr 13 2007. 12 03 AM IST
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