October 28, 2008

Global Warming: Prevent Warming?

(a continuation) Is our goal to maintain a consistent average global temperature? What should that number be? Let's focus specifically on human life. If the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is right, if we do not change our habits, the average global temperature will increase by approximately 4.7 degrees by the end of the century. In Britain, this would cause an estimated 2,000 more deaths in Britain, annually, through excess heat. It would also prevent an estimated 20,000 deaths from excess cold. This factor of 10 times more lives saved is slightly greater than the current factor of 7 times more people in Europe who currently die from excess cold over excess heat. So, what am I saying? Should we speed up the warming process in order to save more lives? Well, global warming isn't just about saving lives in a pure, numerical sense. It's about preserving a better quality for all life now and in the future. Not to mention that warming will surely affect people living near the equator more negatively than people living further away from it. But, we need to understand the consequences, and yes, even the benefits of global warming before we even try to determine our best solution for solving the problems caused by it.