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April 18, 2017 · OPINION

Gambling on climate change action vs. inaction

By Judy Lamana
Warrenton Climate Change Group

“It is not certain, that everything is un-certain.”
— Blaise Pascal (1623–62), philosopher, mathematician, scientist

What happens if we act to ease global warming effects, but our actions turn out to be unnecessary, and those advocating change turn out to be wrong?

Answer: Our future will include cleaner air and water, fewer pollution-caused illnesses, advanced electric generation systems, often powered for free by the sun, wind and water, cleaner transportation systems, incalculable numbers of new jobs, new business and industry opportunities, and the sale of new technologies around the world.

What happens if we do not act to mitigate warming following the reasoning of those who view climate change as a hoax, but inaction turns out to be wrong?

Answer: Science tells us there will be dramatic, stronger and more disruptive weather events from heat waves, droughts, unpredictable weather patterns, more powerful tornados and hurricanes, and severe wildfires — all intensified by global warming. Coastline communities now beset with sunny day flooding will disappear with ever-rising seas. Simultaneous degradation of living conditions across the planet will result in mass migrations, animal species extinctions, competition for resources — starting with food, water and fuel — followed by famine and war.

“Pascal’s Wager” seeks to analyze human decision processes where consequences could be massive, but absolute, 100-percent proof is absent. Pascal posits and accepts that reason, left unclear, fails. So, with choices limited, people are forced to gamble.

To our group, the scientific, cause-and-effect study of climate change makes clear that the safer bet is action versus inaction. America can lead the world in designing and mass-producing clean energy systems, creating jobs and limiting the need for fossil fuels. Action is a safer gamble.

As it was said on Earth Day 1970, we must “think globally, act locally.” The potential consequences of inaction are too great to ignore.
The Warrenton Climate Change Group embraces “act locally” in a big way to guide our community outreach. We are meeting with local government leaders, promoting energy conservation and efficiency with a project our group calls “Low Carbon Fauquier.”

Our group is arranging “energy audits” for local households. This effort suggests simple adjustments to lower monthly costs, including better insulation, air leak repairs and converting lighting from incandescent to LEDs, which are longer lasting with considerable electric bill savings. To show community members in schools, clubs, and churches just how much LEDs lower energy costs, we built an “Energy Bike” where riders can “feel” via pedaling how little energy it takes to power LEDs versus incandescent or CFL bulbs.

Planetary scientists report the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2)​​​​​​​ in our atmosphere, as of last year, was the highest in three million years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in January that for the first time on record, the past three years (2014, 2015, and 2016) each recorded the highest global temperatures on record.

“It’s time to place your bets, ladies and gentlemen!”

The Warrenton Climate Change Group is thinking globally, acting locally and betting on action to stem climate change. Won’t you join us?

It’s the safer bet.
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