There’s a video on YouTube proposing a solution to the global climate change (GCC) debate. It’s rapidly racking up the hits (over seven million so far). The video is entitled ‘The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See’ and is posted by Greg Craven. Craven, who thankfully is not a loon, although his humorous hats may give that impression, argues that we should act on GCC whether it is occurring or not. Faced with the indisputable fact that GCC is or is not happening (there are only two options: true or false), Greg makes a compelling case for action regardless of whether you believe in GCC or not.
Our task, Craven urges, is to think in columns and not rows. Don’t get bogged down in the debate over whether global climate change is occurring or not (rows); rather, accept that GCC is true or false (an undeniable fact) and then consider whether we should take action or not (columns).
When you look at the argument this way you can see that although the best possible outcome is that we don’t incur the cost of GCC-mitigation policies and global climate change does not exist (the green box), the other possibility is that we don’t incur the cost of GCC-mitigation policies and global climate change does exist (the red box). So although the best outcome would be the green box, by choosing inaction we risk the possibility of ending up in the red box. Accordingly, although choosing the right column presents us with the best possible outcome, it also presents us with the worst possible outcome. The prudent thing to do, therefore, is choose action – the left column. The left column robs us of the best possible outcome, but it also saves us from the worst possible outcome. Global climate change may still turn out not to be true (the orange box), but by choosing the left column – action on GCC – we minimise the GCC risk.