Monday, March 28, 2005

Global Warming for Fun and Profit

Kendra at the Commons posts a challenge to the conventional wisdom about global warming that I have often wondered about: if the climate really is getting warmer (which is not proven as far as I can tell), is this necessarily a bad thing?

An article from discusses the potential benefits of global warming.

Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University, says that humanity has flourished in warmer periods.

But an activist takes issue with Peiser's claim, saying that a heat wave in 2003 killed thousands of people in Europe.

Dr. William Keatinge, an emeritus professor at Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, cast doubt on that assertion in the British Medical Journal, saying that "few of these deaths are recognisable clinically as being due to heat." Simple interventions are the best way to prevent the deaths of vulnerable people, such as the elderly, in hot weather. Moreover, Keatinge points out elsewhere that deaths from cold far exceed those from heat.
It seems that environmentalists can never consider the possibility that changes to a natural ecosystem might be changes for the better. While I grant that we ought to be aware of unintended consequences of our technological advances, it does not follow that unintended always means harmful. And it seems that the same concerns can be raised about the unintended consequences of environmental protection policies, such as the DDT issue I mentioned almost a year ago, and which is now being discussed at Belmont Club.

Update 03/29: This post was temporarilly unavailable due, evidently, to server issues with Blogspot. When I couldn't find the post this morning, I naturally assumed it was gone for good so I re-posted a shorter version. That post got eaten as well as did five other retries. Finally about 1:00 PM all seven showed up and I couldn't get back in to delete them until now (5:00 PM). Sorry to anyone who was confused.

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