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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Risk Analysis of Apocalypse

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'Catastrophe': Apocalypse When?

Posner writes more books part-time than most full-time authors. He's usually illuminating and inciteful. This review (quotes below) imply this one is not unusual.

"In the third and most difficult chapter of ''Catastrophe,'' Posner explores ways of calculating the costs of catastrophic risks and of possible responses to them. He rebuts the claim that it is not cost-effective to do anything about global warming, an argument that invariably relies on heavily discounting disasters that will not occur for 50 or 100 years. We may wish to invest money to generate wealth rather than spending it to avert gradual global warming, but, as Posner suggests, the victims of the warming are likely to be concentrated in poor countries and will not necessarily benefit from the increased wealth generated by the richer nations. (On the other hand, abrupt, spiraling global warming that flips over into a deep freeze could kill us all, and then increased wealth will not do us any good anyway.)"
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