Monday, August 31, 2009

More on climate change adaptation

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed a few days back, Bjorn Lomborg offered a list of ways that technology can fight global warming. Lomborg, the fingernail scratching across the climate scientist's blackboard, has rightfully upset a number of experts by once again playing loose with the facts and language. Bill Chamedies from Duke does a fine job pointing out Lomborg's most egregious errors and deceptive sleights of hand.

There's one seemingly innocuous passage in the op-ed that touches on the very concern I expressed in the previous post on adaptation:

A group of climate economists at the University of Venice led by Carlo Carraro looked closely at how people will adapt to climate change. Their research for the Copenhagen Consensus Center showed that farmers in areas with less water for agriculture could use more drip irrigation, for example, while those with more water will grow more crops.

We could also build levees in New Orleans strong enough and high enough to withstand a category five storm. That doesn't mean it will happen. The challenge of climate change adaptation is not identifying what is technically possible. It is overcoming the cultural, organizational, political and economic hurdles to implement that which is technically possible.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Err, that was supposed to link to the Yale paper "The Climate Crisis and the Adaptation Myth". Not sure what went wrong with the link...

naught101 said...

Indeed, well said.

I've been saying this for a while now.