Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

On Curling and Climate Change

Posted by Tiffany Clements on February 24, 2010

Put on the chicken soup, buy some extra Kleenex and bring me another blanket, I’ve got Olympic fever. Not unlike most conditions resulting from contact with British Columbian substances, it’s filled me with a giddy contentment and an obsession with quirky people and pastimes. Like curling.

Hazy from the O-fever today, I Google “climate change and curling.” To my surprise, the Internet spit something interesting back at me. Apparently, according climatologist Philip Mote, the world’s population is like a collective curler and global temperatures—and all their environmental consequences—are the stone.

Based on what those guys who call the matches on CNBC have taught me, curlers have an awful lot to consider. Throw too hard, you miss the goal completely and get no points, not hard enough and you still lose. The key is figuring out what it will take when you let go to get the stone in the house.

Curling is fraught with uncertainty. So is predicting the interaction of policy, emissions and temperatures. From (the now-defunct, RIP paper newspapers) Seattle Post Intelligence’s Dateline Earth:

In projecting where the temps will go, scientists must first consider the various scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions, Mote said. There’s no way to know where we’ll end up, policy-wise, and what that will mean in terms of emissions.

Scientists also are not sure just how sensitive the globe and its atmosphere are, global warming-wise, to those emissions scenarios.

Whenever we can reduce emissions is analogous to when the player lets go. After that, does the stone go a long way? “Or do we have a very unresponsive climate that will stop at a few degrees” increase?

With no interest in wading into a scientific debate, I’ll just say for those of you who’ve been missing out on curling, its super disappointing when your team effs up its throw, even when they’re wearing pants like this.

One Response to “On Curling and Climate Change”

  1. benoch said

    I have been thinking a lot about climate change today, but not so much about curling. I’m not sure whether or not it’s real, but I’m sure something has to be done for the environment.

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