Higgins Versus Klosterman VI: Worldwide Perfection

Scientists build a massive space station that allows mankind to control the worldwide weather. As a result, there are no more weather emergencies. There are no more droughts or floods or tornadoes, and global warming has been eliminated. However, there is an immediate demand for “perfect’ days. Because the weather can be controlled, many people want the weather to be nicer and more predictable. While scientists feel uniformly safe about eliminating extreme weather events, they’re less sure about making every day a perfect day. As a compromise, a large segment of the populace wants there to be two specified dates–April 22 and October 22–where every place on Earth would simultaneously experience ideal weather conditions for 24 hours. These two days would become worldwide holidays. However, there is no precedent for “worldwide perfection,” and a small but vocal minority within the environmental community claims this is very risky. Al Gore, for example, claims that “at any given moment, at least one-third of the planet needs to be dealing with semi-crappy weather.” However, no one can specifically prove why this alleged perfection would be dangerous (since it’s never happened before).

Where would you stand on this issue? Do you want the perfect (although potentially harmful) days?

Anyone engaged with modern environmentalism should be familiar with the precautionary principle. This concept basically says, “avoid unnecessary large risks.” The precautionary principle says that even if it were a toss-up about whether greenhouse emissions cause climate change (it’s not, but play along), we should act as if they do, because the ramifications of unchecked climate change are so great. More precisely, we can talk about the burden of proof–who is assumed guilty and therefore has to overwhelmingly prove their case. In the way that drugs are regulated in America, the burden of proof is on the manufacturer–per the precautionary principle, we assume that the drug is not safe for human consumption, and the FDA won’t license it for human use until after it’s been fully proven to be safe. The opposite is true of the way that America regulates chemicals. New chemicals are assumed safe by American regulations, and the burden of proof is on the public to prove that a chemical is unsafe if they believe it is. The precautionary principle is out the door in this case  (a bad idea if you ask me).

The precautionary principle is behind this hypothetical’s opposition to the perfect day. No one can prove that the perfect day would be harmful, but it might be safer, considering what is at stake, to assume that perfect days will throw things off somehow, whether climatologically or socially. In fact, as a stout disciple of the precautionary principle, I probably would have opposed the use of the weather space station in the first place, or at least sought to curb its use to the most dire situations. Who knows what ecosystem effects will result from eliminating hurricanes, for example? I would probably support incremental use of the weather station, starting with the most dire cases and, as proof is gathered that the station can be used safely, expanding from there.

Despite my overwhelming allegiance to the precautionary principle, I think I would endorse the perfect day. For one thing, I am assuming this is a perfect day for that time of year–in other words, the perfect October 22 is not the same as a perfect weather day (which would probably be slightly hotter than the perfect October 22). Otherwise I could foresee problems if October 22 ended up being too different from October 21 and 23–the discontinuity would be a source of concern, for me.

Perfect weather: 75, clear

Perfect October 22 weather: 65, beautiful clouds, breezy

Anyway–one reason I support this is because world holidays sound like a wonderful idea.

Oh man I just got real sleepy.

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