Monday, February 7, 2011

Brief Comment on Climate Change

I read this today:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/opinion/07krugman.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

I think Krugman makes a good point. It is one I have written about before.

Let me say that I don't know if "crisis" is the correct word to use. Higher prices, sure, but not relative to 2007. Economies are more sensitive to weather, absolutely. And as I blogged a few days ago, under the type of climate change I believe we are in, the variability increases with respect to extremes (floods and droughts, heat waves and cold spells, etc). Whether this increased variability would occur under different climate states or different rates of change of climate states, I don't know.

The point is that this type of global weather impact can not only be disruptive and expensive, it points out how vulnerable we are to climate change. This problem will only get worse as more people require more food. Human expansion has also resulted in the fading away of the family farm, and as the current global economic crisis continues more farm subsidies will be on the chopping block as budgets get reigned in. Thus it is the human-earth system that we need to understand. I know first hand that many groups are working on these challenges both academically and through the government.

It will be a while before we know if this is the "first taste" of our vulnerability but I strongly doubt it was. Debate will rage as economic, agricultural, and climate and weather related issues all conspire in various degrees. What is clear is that we remain vulnerable. Technology may have helped in the last 90 years, but it won't save us.