Uh-oh…

This is very bad news, except maybe for Chinese extreme outdoor down clothing factories. London is at the same latitude as southern Hudson’s Bay; Rome and Madrid are about as far north as New York. Without the Gulf Stream pumped-hot-water heating system, Europe would be a very different place. The world may be getting warmer generally, but if (a fair number of scientists are starting to say when) the Atlantic circulation stops, some important parts of it will go the other way, and dramatically so. Just to offer one example, all of France could easily find itself above the practical limit of cultivation of Vitis vinifera, the wine grape.

Of course the habitability of a small continent isn’t something we should have to bear any economic cost to prevent, certainly we wouldn’t betray our most fundamental national principles of big houses and cars for a bunch of foreigners. Anyway, they’ve been taking all that heat right from Florida for centuries and not paying us a cent for it. Defeatist talk about a carbon tax just encourages…encourages somebody bad, certainly, I’m sure it’s treasonous.

But you might want to take your kids to Europe sooner rather than later to be sure they don’t miss it.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.