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A cautionary tale about the precautionary principle

fennec foxThis piece is about the fennec fox, and in particular about circumstances in which the fennec fox might well take over from the polar bear as the standard image used by the alarmists to try to persuade us that the world as we know it is at risk from human activity.

I should say at once that the fennec foxes got absolutely nothing to do with the Fenwick family. The word “fennec” is simply the Arab word for fox. The fennec fox is a fox which thrives in desert conditions.

But first, we are going to take a bit of a diversion, and to ask the question, “What are the three biggest risks we face in terms of global catastrophe?”

The answer to this question tends to be cultural. The was a time when Semitic tribes of various persuasions in the Middle East would have you believe that the biggest risk was that of divine retribution, with lots of fire and brimstone descending from the heavens, to be dished out if the people at large worship the wrong sort of imaginary friend. But that view is rather out of fashion now. About a hundred years ago, Continue reading

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