Monday, April 26, 2010

Schlumberger CEO on climate change

I liked this quote (from an interview with the McKinsey Quarterly because it aligns well with what I've said before:

And then on climate change, our opinion—and it’s my opinion, this is a very personal thing—is that there is sufficient evidence of an increase in the level of emissions in the atmosphere to be concerned about the effect that it may have on the climate. But the science of climatology is by no means complete, and it is going to take a long time before we really know what the effect of these emissions is going to be. In the meantime, it is prudent and reasonable to try to reduce those emissions as much as we can.

Remember, that's not a hemp-wearing hippie talking. It’s not Al Gore, or Joe Romm, or any number of climate activists. It’s Andrew Gould, CEO of a $23 billion a year oil services company—a company with a vested interest in climate change not being real. If even he can admit that climate change is probably real, and that it makes sense to invest a small percentage of our wealth in averting its worst effects, surely even the most skeptical libertarian can admit that climate change may not be a hoax after all.

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3 comments:

  1. Cheers for this quote - it's pretty much what I try to say when discussing my work (greenhouse flux tech/sci. It'll be useful to refer to this when talking to more skeptical people.

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  2. hi WAG - i enjoy your posts.

    but... if you align with the above quote, you are putting yourself in the camp of climate change deniers.

    the essential piece of the quote is: "But the science of climatology is by no means complete, and it is going to take a long time before we really know what the effect of these emissions is going to be."

    he can't deny emissions going up - he'd look like an idiot - they are clearly measurable. but the question is, what does it mean. and as is typical of deniers, he questions the maturity of the science behind climate change. he says we don't know what it means. that's the climate deniers' bull! we do know what it means; climate science is well established and crystal clear about that. i'm sure you are familiar with the literature.

    looking forward to more of your posts.

    martin
    massachusetts

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  3. Martin -

    I agree with you that the science is more certain than Mr. Gould implies. However, the key part of the passage is this sentence: "In the meantime, it is prudent and reasonable to try to reduce those emissions as much as we can."

    In the end, the important thing is not whether people agree on the exact effects of climate change. If you set up the argument as "either the science is certain or it's not," you're not going to win--when you set things up as binaries, the tendency on the other side is to get defensive and dig in your heels.

    Rather, the important thing is that people agree that we should act to reduce CO2 emissions. And to that end, the better argument is, "You don't have to believe the science is certain in order to agree we should reduce emissions." It's not about saying I'm right, you're wrong--it's "do you really want to take a chance that you're wrong." See the "Climate Craps" post.

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