Saturday, December 19, 2009

Actual vs. Hypothetical Human Suffering

The Mayon volcano in the Philippines has forced the evacuation of 8,442 families comprising 40,093 people in less than a week. Because the volcano has given substantial warning of a big eruption, there are no serious injuries or fatalities so far.

Is this disruption, caused by one obscure volcano, more than has been caused by alleged global warming so far?

The tsunami five years ago, caused by an earthquake, killed 200,000 people.

There seems to be no doubt that the volcano underneath Yellowstone Park will erupt one day--and on a scale that will cause global cooling, loss of agriculture, and tremendous death and suffering. Is that more certain that the alleged warming? It seems so.

Coal miners die in mines on a regular basis (see here, here, here). Instead of trying to restrict any and all carbon, would it not make sense to encourage a shift from buring coal (still very cheap for much of the world) to burning oil and gas?

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