Congratulations – sort of – to Al Gore and the IPCC for the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m somewhat confused because it seems to me their efforts would not fall under the general category of promoting “Peace”. AP story about Al Gore and IPCC Peace Prize is here. More importantly people should be concerned that our new global focus on very expensive and problematic climate change science will distract us from more pressing problems. Here’s what I just wrote to the Nobel Prize Committee – their website even promises I’ll get a response.
As much as I respect Al Gore and the IPCC I worry that our new global focus on Climate Change will distract us from the more pressing problems of poverty, health, and violent conflict. Was this possibility considered by the awards committee?
Climate change is the best current example of how humans process information, problems, and solutions in irrational ways. Generally people note that global warming is happening (true) and that warming is likely the result of human activity (probably true – IPCC concludes over 90% likely). It’s also reasonable to assume that warming will lead to mostly undesirable changes. HOWEVER, it does not follow from these truths that we should make Global Warming the top priority. In fact due to the expense and difficulties involved a clear mind will conclude that we should implement cheap changes but forego the expensive changes in favor of devoting those resources to *current* catastrophic global conditions – generally these relate to poverty and health conditions in the developing world, but would also probably include work to alleviate the appalling conditions found in many American and European big city neighborhoods.
Below is a link to a video of Bjorn Lomborg at TED Conference on Global Solution Priorities. In my opinion he’s the clearest thinker out there – a contrast to people who are so poisoned by “political thinking” and “advocacy thinking” that they can’t see the facts from their causes. I think a good test of whether you are clear thinking about a topic is to make the opposition case effectively enough that people can’t tell your bias. Most topics have complex sets of facts and no easy answers – everybody should keep that in mind.
Hey – Al Gore’s office looks a lot like mine, but with bigger monitors. I like him, but don’t agree with him that GW is the big problem facing us.