What if we were wrong about this whole climate change thing? What if global warming was actually nonexistent/natural/a global conspiracy?
I, for one, would be thrilled.
Yes, there would be humiliation, and all the effort we have spent on communication would be a waste, but that would be a small price to pay. For two reasons, being wrong about this would be so worth it.
Firstly, can you imagine having this weight off our shoulders? Can you imagine not having it wiggling its way into every thought you have about the future? I want to have kids one day….but what state will the world economy be in by then? I want to travel to the Amazon….but how many of its species will be lost by the time I get there? And all because we were too lazy, around the turn of the century, to do anything to stop it.
We probably could have saved ourselves, but we were too damned lazy to try very hard, and too damned cheap.
Secondly, what an incredible scientific opportunity it would be for this problem not to exist. I think that we can agree that a great deal of climatological theory and methods would have to be wrong for climate change to be proven natural/nonexistent/a global conspiracy. Anthropogenic global warming fits perfectly with our understanding of the climate system, and if it were proven wrong, a huge hole would be blown in this understanding.
We would have to rebuild that hole. We would have to redo all kinds of science. We would have to rediscover new ways of doing everything. How amazing would that be? What kind of an opportunity would a scientist rather have?