Climate Change Thought Experiment

“Climate change is an existential threat”

“We have only 10 years or the planet is doomed”

Suppose that scientists discovered a 6-mile-wide asteroid on a collision course for earth. There are plenty of these out there, and are being tracked by various organizations.

As of today, the threat board is clear. But remember that cigar-shaped object that came out of nowhere and passed near earth a few years back? That wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

Now let’s say that an object like that was detected, and it’s on a path to hit earth in, say 10 years.

This would constitute a real existential threat since, if it did hit earth, it would certainly end all life on the planet larger than a rodent. Just like the one that hit the Yucatan peninsula and snuffed out the dinosaurs.

Turns out that the “KT-boundary” event was good for us humans, as it allowed us to eventually ascend to dominance over the earth without large reptiles to contend with.

Back to our thought experiment.

How would humans react to this threat? We know how humans (well, politicians, anyway) react to the “threat” of global climate change. That reaction is to force us out of our cars, force us into crowded cities, and subvert our agency to our betters.

Oh, and

  • Guarantees of jobs to people, even if they don’t want to work,
  • Free college for all and a forgiveness of student debt,
  • Free healthcare for all,
  • Safe, affordable housing,
  • And a free pony for everyone.

Global climate change might be real. And it might be caused by humans. And, let’s say for sake of argument, that it will make the planet uninhabitable in 10 years. I’ll give you that for now just to make my point.

Now contrast that with the asteroid threat. No question there. We can see it coming. We know it’s on the way. We know when it’s going to hit. We know it will be catastrophic to the extent that no human has ever witnessed.

But humans aren’t helpless. We have brains and we have resources at our disposal. Given 10 years, I’m sure that there will be enough time to at least try something that would deflect the asteroid or somehow make it miss the earth.

But it will take focused leadership and a will to survive.

Now, put yourself in that place, and what do you think a sober leadership would propose? (Another assumption here: I’m assuming that there is such a thing as sober leadership).

Do you think the way to deal with an incoming asteroid is to forgive student loans? Or to dig a tunnel to Hawaii so we can eliminate airplanes? Or take vital resources and give it to people who are “unwilling to work”?

I don’t think so.

I would imagine that the world’s organizations, both public and private, would come together and focus on this single threat. And individuals would also do whatever they could to prepare for the event or help to prevent it from happening. The environment be damned. Gender equality be damned. Make-work be damned. We’ll deal with those once the threat is over.

I think that if you were foolish enough to stand up and say that the solution to the asteroid threat is to give everyone safe, affordable housing, you’d be mocked at best.

Now, back to climate change. If the “science is settled” and the earth has 10 years if we don’t DO SOMETHING, don’t you think that focusing on that problem would be the main focus of every intelligent person on earth?

That tells me that there’s something else going on here. Maybe the asteroid of climate change is shaped like a watermelon. You know, the fruit that’s green on the outside and red on the inside.

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