The headline in the local paper was: “This Is Not Hypothetical.” Then they go on to talk about how Mayor Tim Kabat of our modest hamlet had decided that he needs to help the The Donald with climate change. We hate to go all Webster on folks but Dictionary.com says hypothetical means:
We left the fourth definition in to give some hope to the headline writers. They were trying to discuss a logic problem.
Climate change, nee global warming, is part of science and science is about hypotheses. Climate change is a hypothesis or a bunch of hypotheses. It is exactly a hypothetical. In science a hypothesis is accepted until evidence leads to its rejection.
Sidebar: An enormous problem with climate change is the lack of precision. For example, the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) has weak, semi-strong, and strong versions. We suggest, partly in jest, that climate change adopt historical, reasonable, and hysterical. End Sidebar.
There is also a second level of science: economics. Once we decide about climate change then there is the issue of economics. The cost to have a substantial impact on hypothesized climate change is large. Is it worth the cost? For example, we would support a modest carbon tax because the cost is small and the incentives are right.
The local paper has tied Mayor Tim to the local head of the Sierra Club:
Van Gaard warned that without immediate and drastic efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, millions of people will be left without clean water and food and millions more will be refugees as a result of extreme weather events. “This is not a hypothetical. This is already happening. This is our future if we don’t take this seriously right now. Fuel efficiency standards are a necessary step to move us away from that future,” Van Gaard said.