My three interesting-ish points about climate change

Yes, you’re right, this has nothing to do with financial services marketing.  But I’ve just been irritated by a tubecard on the Victoria Line, and I feel the need to restore my equilibirium by sharing three thoughts with you.

The tube card?  Oh yes.  It was an Oxfam one, and the headline said:  “People in developing countries aren’t thinking about how climate change will affect them. They already know.”    There was then some short copy about some of the very bad ways it was affecting them – rising sea levels, flood, drought, crop failures etc.

I’ll come back to my irritation later.  Here are the three points.

1.  Wouldn’t this be a good time to buy land in Greenland or northern Canada?  It’s really, really cheap at the moment, because it’s too cold and inhospitable.  This seems likely to change.

2.  Should we spend a bit less time and effort on trying to stop climate change, and a bit more on trying to deal with it?  If for no other reason than the rate of increase of the human population, I find it impossible to believe that even if all of us in the affluent west drive Toyota Priuses and recycle all our rubbish we can do much more than delay the inevitable by a few weeks, or months, or years.   But if we really set our minds to it, couldn’t we tackle some of the huge challenges involved in dealing with it?  Simplistically, at the moment the earth’s polar regions are almost unoccupied because they’re too cold, but everywhere else is inhabited by people even though the region around the equator is pretty uncomfortable.  Might it be the case that in, I don’t know, 30, 40 or 50 years the region around the equator is unoccupied because it’s too hot and dry, but everywhere else is inhabited by people even though the polar regions are still a bit chilly?  The landmass of Antarctica, for example, is 13 million square miles, rather more than Europe and rather less than South America.  In the worst-case scenario when the polar ice caps melt away completely, how much of this would be inhabitable?

3.  Can climate change really be bad news for everyone?  This is the point that connects to that Oxfam tubecard.  The assumption of climate change propagandists is that it’s all bad, and climate change will impact in the most negative way possible on every community everywhere:  places that are already too hot will become hotter, while places that are too cold will become colder;  places that are too dry will become dryer, while places that are too wet will become wetter;  low-lying places will be flooded, while high ground will suffer from drought.   Can this be right?  Surely some places must be better off, or at least not worse?   Someone told me once that in the worst-case scenario, we in the UK will have a climate like the South of France has today.  I can see that the process of adjusting to this would be painful and expensive – umbrella manufacturers diversifying into parasols etc (joke) – but in the longer run would it be worse?  And must not the same also be true for some developing economies, especially in more temperate regions?   The heavy rains in low-lying Bangladesh cause terrible flooding.  But on the higher ground in the region, aren’t they more good news than bad?

On reflection, I think my three points about climate change are just one point:  namely, that if you get beyond the sweeping naivety of saying that it’s bad and must be stopped, some quite interesting new thoughts start coming to mind. 

And I suppose that in that respect, perhaps there is a marginal and awkwardly contrived analogy with marketing financial services after all.

One thought on “My three interesting-ish points about climate change

  1. Don’t get too excited Lucian. According to climate change boffins, Britain will get COLDER as a result of global warming!

    There was an article in the Sunday Times a while back about how Climate change researchers had detected the first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream — the mighty ocean current that keeps Britain and Europe from freezing.

    They’d found that one of the “engines” driving the Gulf Stream — the sinking of supercooled water in the Greenland Sea — has weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength.

    The weakening, apparently caused by global warming, could herald big changes in the current over the next few years or decades. Paradoxically, it could lead to Britain and north-western Europe undergoing a sharp drop in temperatures.

    Looks like we’ll all be off to Antarctica for our summer hols. The Artic will have melted away by then. Chilling stuff!

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