Saturday, 28 October 2017

Quandaries about ethics

In Quandaries about ethics mt is anguished. I try to help, but I'm not sure I have (archive).

Updated archive. New comment:

I don't think I'm making my viewpoint at all clear. I may be forced to write my own post; everyone should re-invent their own wheel after all. But

> if the optimal pathway is one in which we could cross a number of climate tipping points, then how much confidence should we place in such an analysis? It may well be that it's been done as well as it possible could have been done, but if we aren't sure of the consequences of passing these tipping points, how do you incorporate them into the analysis?

I think is typical of the incompatibility between my (and std.econ) and mt / ATTP, I think. I find it very hard to understand what anyone means when they write stuff like that; it seems to imply a complete failure to understand the std.econ viewpoint. So I'll make one last despairing attempt here: the std.econ viewpoint takes into account all those tipping points, costs then as best it can, and then balances all the different costs in an attempt to provide a view of competing costs and benefits. This is fundamentally incompatible with your viewpoint, as I understand it, which is (I exaggerate for effect) "woo tipping point scary lets not go there". Which is to say you substitute your (and others) intuitive ideas of damage for the std.econ analysis.

There's probably an analogy here with the denialists; there usually is. The std.econ folk, if challenged, could write all their stuff down in numbers and equations. Just as folk could do the same for their calculations of warming, or of sea level rise. But the denialists that write bollox about "cooling is about to start" or "the GHE doesn't exist" can't write their stuff down in that way, and we are contemptuous of them for it. Why do you expect protection from contempt when you do the same for costs?

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