29 November 2010

The Economist calls it quits...

...on mitigating climate change.*

Their leader (How to live with climate change: It won’t be stopped, but its effects can be made less bad) gets at the unpleasant questions of floods, migration and hunger.

In my 20 years of reading the Economist, I've rarely seen such a brutal reality check (usually they offer a comment in a debate). I think they've seen the impending disaster of the Republican-controlled US Congress and decided that it's time to start preparing graves for the bodies that will result from inaction.

* It's stuff like this:


  1. I take it you didn't read the comment trail... wise decision. The Economist's editors may have decided to face the facts, but most of their readership clearly has not. Climate change has become a sort of religion, you either believe in it or you don't, and confronting either side with facts tends only to reinforce the beliefs they already hold.

    I applaud The Economist for talking about adaptation rather than mitigation or prevention. Too much attention has been focused on the impossible idea of stopping climate change, and not enough on simply dealing with its consequences.

  2. @albionwood. There are, unfortunately, flat earthers everywhere. OTOH, I do agree that it's useful to talk about mitigation b/c the cost/benefit ratio (let alone fairness) is so much better.

  3. Is there any real analysis that shows that mitigation is more cost/efficient than prevention in the long run? Prevention is a high current cost, but most mitigation measures will cost forever.
    Jim Peugh

  4. @Jim -- most people say that mitigation and preventing mean the same thing -- keeping GHGs out of the atmosphere. Adaptation is paying to reduce the costs of CC after GHGs are in the atmosphere. Mitigation is either an up front cost (solar panels) or forever (can't ever use that carbon), so I guess it depends on definitions first :)


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