Ignoring possible human suffering and death caused by climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts is no different than drone pilots disassociating from the effects of their bombing runs. Of course, sometimes drastic – and lethal – measures are justified. But trade-offs are involved – and if you care about human life, trade-offs must be seriously considered. We know people will die because of climate change. We know people will die if global economic growth stalls. How many of us have a good idea of the numbers? What might increase or reduce those numbers?
It’s a cop-out to say that “in the long run” more human lives will be saved, or that all forms of life matter, not just humans. Is a die-off of humans necessary for other forms of life to prosper? Are there ways to help other species thrive without requiring that a bunch of people suffer and die?
In a previous post, I simplified climate change action priorities as follows: reduce green house gases, protect habitats, protect wildlife and protect humans. With the empowerment of women and economic development throughout the world, human population will plummet. Sorry guys – when women have options, they don’t want a dozen kids – one or two will do. With technological advances, humans can grow food on less and less land. Without dependency on the land, more and more will flock to the cities. All these developments will reduce greenhouse gases, increase wild habitat, protect wildlife and save human lives.