[ExI] Existential hysteria

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Jul 27 05:54:43 UTC 2014

On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 3:20 PM, spike  wrote:
> We can see what needs to happen.  The near-term future of humanity is all
> about energy availability.  The global warming notion was a distraction at a
> critical time in history, even if it is correct.

I don't think that is totally accurate.
I agree that energy availability is essential for the future of humanity.

But AGW may put a stop to that by diverting resources to deal with
crisis situations like New Orleans (or Florida) flooding or Hurricane
Sandy or drought or wildfires, etc.

I've just come across a different way of looking at AGW.
This idea classifies AGW as either a Type 1 error or a Type 2 error.

Which is worse?
A Type I error is detecting an effect that is not present, while a
Type II error is failing to detect an effect that is present.

In the case of AGW, a Type I error means it was concluded that global
warming is caused by humans, but it actually isn't. The Type II error
is where we fail to act on global warming, even though it is human

What are the consequences?

For a Type 1 error, governments will provide incentives in order to
urge the population to change their behaviour. This could include
conserving energy, recycling, and developing alternative energy
sources (wind, solar, hybrid). This error is basically just doing
sooner, things which will have to be done anyway.

A Type II error means continuing business as usual while humans
continue to change the earth's climate. The cost of a Type II error is
the damage brought about by AGW. Rising sea levels and temperature,
increased pollution and wild climate changes, will have an impact on
health, agriculture, forestry, water, coastal areas, as well as on
many different species and the ecosystem.

The consequences of a Type II error are so serious that they should be
avoided whatever the cost. The consequences of a Type I error are that
we will take the same steps that we would have had to anyway at a
later date. The logical course of action is to always conclude that
global warming is caused by humans.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list