The most terrifying video….

Ran across this today–The most terrifying video you’ll ever see by wondermind42. It’s well worth the 10 minute view, even if the title is a bit of a reach 😉

It’s a quadrant argument reminiscent of the god/prayer logic: if I pray and God exists, I’m in like flint; If I pray and God doesn’t exist, I haven’t really done any harm, have I? I like quadrant arguments because it forces you to consider options you might want to ignore.

This quadrant argument is wide open to very factually based arguments and increasing swarms of data to fill in the “what-if” scenarios….


4 responses to “The most terrifying video….

  1. This guy should have done some research.

    Amazingly, he is not the first person to have thought of odds and impacts of scenarios in this way. He might start with the decades-long modeling project executed by the Yale School of Forestry and Department of Economics to do for real what he is showing on a whiteboard. For that matter, he might have read the UN IPCC WG2 and WG3 reports which reference a lot of relevant research on this question.

    Here are some (example) problems with his video:

    1. His “bad case” is overblown and rhetorical. Under a reasonable scenario for global economic and population growth (Scenario A1B), the IPCC projects about 2.8C increase in global temperatures by 2100. According to any competent modelers (for example, the Yale project), this would lead to about break-even net global economic impacts, i.e., the positive benefits of warming would about equal the negative impacts. It’s only when you get to warming of about 4C in 22nd and 23rd centuries that you, according to the IPCC, see a net reduction in global GDP of about 1- 5%. That’s a lot of money, but it’s hardly the Armageddon that he is describing.

    2. According to the IPCC, no global climate model currently predicts any of the disaster scenarios he describes for the next century.

    3. Without any quantitative consideration of odds of an outcome, you could apply this same 2X2 matrix argument to the risk of space aliens descending from the sky and killing everybody. Why don’t we have crash programs that risk global depression against space aliens and a meteor strike and a global pandemic based on a modified version of Avian Flu and, and, and, and….? Because the list of such anxieties is endless and our resources are finite.

  2. Hi,

    Do you have the youtube address so I can also post this?


  3. To Jim: thanks for the in-depth commentary on this vid clip, it’s appreciated and your suggestion to check IPCC was a good one, even though IPCC is not without many detractors and criticism. A quick search on commentary of their 07 publication shows many questions and concerns remain, and that the report itself is not without its own rhetorical “tilt.”

    For me, the more interesting point you raise is why this video gets more attention than other similar and better studies. Situations like this are intensely interesting: what kind communication works, why, and how.
    This guy hits a home-run for lots of human behavioral and effective communication reasons, even if he may skip a lot of information you and many others would like to see.

  4. To Jim,

    I can’t disagree with what you have written because I have not properly researched the topic. However, that is sort of the point of the video. Would it be better to not do anything or to do something. Doing something can be small, if everyone would just do one step. There is no economic issue with everyone doing something and can only lead to good.
    Let me address one issue you mention. You state there would only be a break even global economic impact. You are severly underestimating the fear mongering our media is capable of doing. For instance, how much global economic impact does oil going to $100 a barrel give. On a global scale not much. But you add the media impact and the economic land slide of America not doing well and you already have an issue with, some would say, no evidence of global warming???

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