On Climate Change, Politicians Cannot Go Wrong

(originally published on March 11, 2007 as “Blair and Gore Cannot Be Wrong on Climate Change“)

UK PM Tony Blair, former US VP Al Gore and so many other politicians: why have they been so eager to jump on the Climate-Change-is-Humanity’s-Fault bandwagon?

A cynical explanation is in order: because they can’t lose by joining in.

They risk losing a lot instead, by staying out.

In fact, if (a) they can appear to be doing something about Human-induced Climate Change (also known as Anthropogenic Climate Change, AGW):

  • a1. If AGW doesn’t happen, they will claim victory, or
  • a2. If AGW does happen, they will blame us all for not trying hard enough, and introduce ever harsher policies in order to… appear to be doing something about CC

On the other hand, the opposite position, of (b) publicly expressing doubts that Climate Change is caused by humans if it is happening at all, will mean:

  • b1. If AGW doesn’t happen, they will claim victory, but
  • b2. If AGW does happen, they will be blamed by us all for not trying hard enough

Worse, as climate is bound to naturally change if we just observe it for long enough a time, the “If AGW doesn’t happen” options are simply immaterial.

It is self-evident then that (a) provides unlimited reward and no risk, while (b) vice-versa carries little reward and career-breaking risks.

Only naive or honest politicians, provided they exist, will refrain from shouting that Humanity is bound to destroy the planet by overheating it with carbon dioxide.

If anybody believes that the above is going to inspire good policies, I’ve got a bridge to sell them

(blog inspired by messages on the Climate Sceptics mailing list)

(this is the text of two comments received on the above)

(1) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9005566792811497638&hl=en

Saying that man made global warming not true is political suicide because everyone listens to Al Gore (he invented the internet by the way)

Comment by Chad Stroh — 2007/Mar/11 @ 23:41:35

(2) Of course: just as politicians do with War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on Poverty… As counterpoison, I recommend the comments by Penn and Teller in their wonderful “Bullshit!” program.

Comment by Enzo — 2007/Mar/12 @ 01:40:34