Friday, February 02, 2007

Climate Change about 1/115 as bad as auto traffic

The worst could mean more than 1 million dead and hundreds of billions of
dollars in costs by 2100, said Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for
Atmospheric Research in Colorado

Do you feel a little like Number Two when Dr. Evil wants to hold the United Nations hostage for one million dollars? We lose Florida, invite routine tornadoes and hurricanes, create large scale famine and only lose one in every six thousand people?

Car crashes, which is a fine measure because it's a risk we're completely comfortable with, killed about 1.22 million people in 2001. Climate change will kill fewer than that over the next 94 years.

Well, maybe the industrial revolution wasn't such a bad idea after all.


Brad said...


This entry is, to me, classic Ion: hilarious, ingenious, and inscrutable.

The comparison to the number of deaths in car accidents is appropriate and thought-provoking; perhaps he's serious? But wait: most people would think it's inhuman to write off one million deaths a year as an acceptable loss. So Ion can't believe that: this is a guy who was in the Peace Corps, after all, and you can't get much more humanitarian than that. But then again, why is he so glib about all the deaths? Where's the unmistakable tone of outrage? AAAAAGGGH

Kendell's theory is that your point in writing this entry was to mock the forecast at setting the number of deaths way too low. That sounds like a good theory to me. Can you confirm?

Rionn Fears Malechem said...


Anonymous said...

I noticed this too. Where Dr. Trenberth - a climate scientist - gets off estimating death tolls in 2100 I don't know. One million is ridiculously trivial. Should we be so lucky.

But then he's from New Zealand originally, and lives in Boulder. Both are semi-autonomous Republics that might make 1 million feel like a lot.