Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Don't count on a tropical paradise

The German magazine, Der Spiegel, decided to launch a full fledged contrarian attack on global warming science, yesterday, with not one, but 5 articles suggesting that Germany will become a tropical paradise, populated with bikini clad women sipping mai tais beneath the coconut trees on the Baltic Sea.

We're assured that, despite the "fear-mongering" of the thousands of climate scientists who "see themselves too much as priests whose job it is to preach moralistic sermons to people", there are still level-headed scientists ready to reassure us that things are going to be fine.

All of the standard climate skeptic arguments are pushed forward, including a 100 year old forecast by Svante Arrhenius, assuring us that rising temperatures are a blessing. Besides, didn't you know that dinosaurs lived on a warmer planet? And don't forget about the medieval warm period. Sure we agree now that humans are driving climate change, but learn to live with it, because we can't stop it now anyway.

Of course, whatever dubious paradise we end up with is beside the point. It doesn't fundamentally matter whether Germany has a tropical climate or a temperate climate. The threat comes from rapid climate change, change too fast and unpredictable for communities to adapt.

35,000 people didn't die in Europe in 2003 because of a tropical climate. They died because European towns and cities weren't designed to accommodate 100+ degree temperatures for extended periods of time.

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