Being busy without reason is a public menace.
In a week when the BBC have been trumpeting what they see and highlight as the latest evidence that global warming is fact (and of course, they always include the man-made hypothesis in this as though it were necessary to add it when it is implicit in the very presence of "Global Warming" stories in our societies' dailies), it's a relief to find Stephen Fry put his support for the movement in a philosphical context, reframing Pascal's Wager about God's existence:
"For the eco-believer it’s no-lose situation: we all survive if they’re right and we’ve acted on their belief, we survive if they’re wrong and we’ve acted on their belief. Whereas for the eco-denier we survive if they’re right and we’ve done nothing but we perish if they’re wrong and we’ve done nothing."
So often we get pointless and rebuttable anecdote- here we get a theory of action.
It's good to be able to say that Fry's thought is quite inadequate on this matter.
It's clear that there is not one accepted result of ignoring global warming. There are many, and few of them catastrophic in the short term save to a small minority of the world's population. Yes, that does sound rather Benthamite, doesn't it? Well, the eco-enthusiasts are the real Benthamites, it seems to me. They figure that focussing the world's economic, scientific and political resources on one aspect most prominent to themselves and their interests has and will have no consequences to those falling outside the sphere of action envisaged by the protocols of rich nations.
And if it does, well, tough. IT'S THE ONLY WAY. Win-Win :-).
Update: I've just come across this rather excellent post from Sean Gabb of the Libertarian alliance on the subject.