Another of many alarming reports about environmental damage that may be linked to climate change. In this case, the result is the emergence of dead zones in the ocean, the immediate cause being changes in currents.
Examples like this emphasise the point that uncertainty about global warming is not a reason for doing less, but a reason for doing more. The known (but uncertain) possible consequences of doing nothing add a lot more to the expected costs than do the known (but uncertain) possibilities of adaptation and so on producing lower-than-expected costs. Even more important, the ‘unknown unknowns’, that is, the possible consequences of which we are not yet aware, are dominated by nasty surprises that await us if we continue changing the climate rapidly.
There are fewer unforeseen possibilities on the other branch of the decision tree where we act to stabilise the climate. Despite alarmist claims to the contrary, for example, we have a pretty good understanding of the consequences of increased energy prices. We’ve experienced big changes in energy prices in the past, notably in the 1970s. Of course, those increases were associated with substantial economic disruption, but they were a consequence, not a cause of ‘stagflation’ – the postwar economic system broke down bin 1970 and 1971 before the commodity price boom of the early 1970s, including the oil price increase of 1973.
(Hat tip to my wife Nancy, for alerting me to this story).