Our response to climate uncertainty is a bet on the odds

To the Editor:

A previous writer contended that if there is even a 1 percent chance climate change is due to manmade activities, that we should treat it as a certainty (inferring massive political response). Should we ever, personally or politically, buy into the 1 percent doctrine, regardless of who espouses it?

How much are you willing to bet on a poker hand that has only 1 percent chance of winning (i.e., would you treat it as a certainty)? Is it wise to allow others making such bets to confiscate your hard-earned money to support such an addictive gambling habit, even if they agree to split the winnings? Betting big on small chances is a recipe for insolvency and poverty. After all, the vast part of the world economy that feeds 8 billion people is built on hydrocarbons, which would be a daunting wager against a 1 percent chance that the economy might fail from the use of hydrocarbons.

Political responses necessarily increase a myriad of costs shared rather equally (without regard to individual circumstances) in the cost of living, but proportionally are much higher for those of lower income. Thus, individuals must be allowed freedom to respond to climate change according to their unique beliefs, knowledge and circumstances in the free market. There is a tremendous opportunity for those of high passion to bet their money and develop economically feasible alternatives. Those politically forcing others to fund their passions are charlatans and not true believers that personally invest in or consume the better alternative, and freely convince others to do the same. If one cannot convince others to act in the free marketplace and must force people, obviously, their arguments and products are unpersuasive.

Have those suggesting more tepid responses to climate change launched a war on science, or have those clamoring for more massive political responses launched a war on mathematics, economics and individual rights? When science, or any discipline, enters the world of politics, by definition, it becomes political. Believers in man-made climate change will support science that supports that belief and unbelievers will support opposing science. Each person must continually evaluate both sides and determine what they believe and how they should respond (i.e., how much to wager) – not how someone else must respond.

Eldon L. Rash