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NYC Conservative Climate Activists Message Board › Burden of Proof

Burden of Proof

user 2341848
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 290

The Burden of Proof

A lot of climate skeptics assume that, because the economic cost of curbing climate emissions is high, climate alarmists should face a high burden of proof, and if that burden of proof is not met, no action should be taken. Once they do that, they look for excuses to dismiss as much evidence as possible, since they feel that if they can create a climate of uncertainty, they "win".

The burden of proof one faces should reflect the expensive and risks of the course of action recommended.

If someone recommends a level of action on a level similar to when the US entered WWII, with massive government spending, and massive government interference in the economy, one should have to meet a fairly high burden of proof, something like "Unless we mobilize on that level, there is at least a 70% risk that 100 million people will die from the effects of climate change by 2100".

If someone recommends no action, that we drop out of the Paris accord, relax car fuel economy standards, cut funding for climate-related research, cut funding for alternative energy research, and just quit talking about the problem (basically the Trump administration's position), they should be required to meet a burden of proof of "If we make no effort to curb carbon emissions and burn fossil fuels to our heart's content, there is less than a 5% chance that 100 million people will die from the effects of climate change by 2100.". The Trump administration has not met that burden of proof.

If someone wants to take the Obama administration's level of action, basically spending a couple of dozen billion dollars per year on subsidies and tax advantages for renewable energy, imposing fairly high auto fuel economy standards, and taking leadership in the Paris agreement, one should have to meet a burden of proof that there is at least a 20% risk that 100 million people will die from the effects of climate change by 2100 unless we do. We can discuss whether that burden of proof has been met.

If someone like Naomi Klein argues that we need to "end capitalism" in order to solve global warming, they should face a pretty high burden of proof. Efforts to end capitalism in the 20th century involved about 8 million Ukrainians and 30 million Chinese starving to death, with 3 million more Soviets directly murdered by Stalin and 2 million more Chinese directly murdered by Mao, and about 2 million Cambodians murdered by the Khmer Rouge. So the idea that "ending capitalism" is a risk-free proposition is rather dubious, and Klein should have to establish that at least 100 million people are 95% likely to die who cannot be saved by less draconian measures.

It wouldn't be really hard to AGW to kill 100 million people.

  • If sea level rise goes faster than anticipated, it could really negatively impact a large proportion of the world's greatest cities, and result in a large amount of land loss. If Bangladesh loses a lot of land, that could result in tens of millions of Muslim refugees, who certainly won't be welcome in Myanmar, and the Hindus in India probably wouldn't be that thrilled to take them, either.
  • Disruption in weather patterns, particularly droughts and floods, could undermine agriculture and food production.
  • A combination of land loss and food shortages could easily provoke warfare in a future world which is guaranteed to have an increased proliferation of WMD.
  • It's not clear that we've already had an increase in the frequency of hurricanes worldwide, but such is anticipated by climate scientists if warming continues. Hurricanes can cause great loss of life and property damage, especially when they hit poor locales.
  • So, there are many courses of action that can be taken, and advocates for each course of action should have to meet a different burden of proof.

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