Saturday, June 10, 2006

If you're worried about global warming...

Forget about CO2 emissions. Do something useful:

Indur Goklany, in a study for the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), examined the effects of tackling infectious diseases, hunger, water insecurity, sea level rise and threats to biodiversity now as opposed to attempting to mitigate climate change now. In all cases he found that tackling them now would have considerably more effect and be cheaper than tackling climate change. For example, meeting the emissions reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol will reduce the population at risk from malaria by just 0.2 percent in 2085. Investing as little as $1.5 billion in malaria prevention and treatment would cut the death toll in half today.

Moreover, we cannot ignore potential benefits of resiliency beyond greater capacity to adapt to climate change. In another study, Goklany found that a richer-but-warmer world provided greater benefits than a poorer-but-colder world. The benefits of wealth more than offset the costs or warming, while the climatic benefits of a colder world were more than offset by the costs of starving the world of energy to keep it cold. For example, if nothing is done to reduce temperatures, increasing wealth will drive down the population at risk from water shortage by up to 57 percent. The adaptive approach banks these benefits.

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