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Face the risk

Your attempt to shed light on who refuses vaccines has led to the dismissive conclusion that one way to increase vaccine uptake is to focus on “disseminating information to the uneducated” (“The reluctance in numbers ”, July 31). Research on the psychology of risk perception by Paul Slovic and others has found that how we perceive and react to potential danger depends much more on how we feel about facts than on facts alone. So the first step in dealing with vaccine refusal is not simply who refuses vaccination based on cursory demographics, but why.

Since the modern era of vaccines, there has always been either hesitation about vaccines, a more moderate form of worry about vaccines, or outright anti-vaccine rejection. Some refuse because humans are generally more leery of risk when we don’t trust the source of the threat. Many refuse because overall we are more wary of anything artificial than natural. And in relation to the political tendencies you identified, the most outright resistance to the vaccine has always come from those who, like most of us to some extent, are more wary of a risk when it is us. imposed.

Carefully designed risk communication campaigns to build confidence by demonstrating an understanding of and respect for people’s feelings have been shown to moderate vaccine reluctance in many cases. But only the social and legal sanctions against the most categorical refusal of vaccination, invoked in the name of the common good, had a real effect on this group.

Retired Harvard Risk Communication Instructor
Concorde, Massachusetts

The future of war

For an interesting take on the ability of artificial intelligence to develop a war strategy (“Computer said go”, July 3), I recommend “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert Heinlein. The novel describes how a sensitive computer develops the military tactics necessary for a lunar colony to achieve independence.

Dunellen, New Jersey

A global challenge

The mistaken assumption that adaptation to climate change is primarily a national affair serving national interests has been repeated in your recent leader (“No safe place”, July 24). Much like a virus, climate risk can easily cross borders through international trade and supply chains, capital flows, human mobility, and shared natural resources between countries, both regionally and globally. . Similarly, actions to adapt to climate change can have effects well beyond the jurisdiction of the country implementing them.

A recent study led by INFRAS, a Swiss consultancy firm, for the German Environment Agency, estimated that the economic risk of climate-induced disruptions in German trade alone was greater than the combined economic risk of all direct impacts of climate change to l within the national borders of Germany. In Senegal in 2008, the price of rice tripled following a chain reaction that began when India halted grain exports in response to poor crop forecasts during a drought. This led to riots in the streets of Dakar.

Such cross-border connections show that adaptation is indeed a global challenge. Current approaches to adaptation planning, based on local or national risk assessments, fall short of what is needed to effectively manage climate risks in our interconnected world. Worse yet, one country’s adaptation efforts could all too easily redistribute climate risk to another country, rather than reducing it altogether.

Governments and businesses should therefore take a cross-border rather than a national perspective on climate risk to address the full scope and nature of adaptation, create opportunities for international cooperation, and pave the way for sustainable global resilience.

Stockholm Environment Institute
Bonn, Germany

Solar Radiation Modification (SRM), also known as solar geoengineering, presents a risk-risk conundrum: Would the world be better off with or without it? There are already divisions over whether or not it should be researched, much less whether it should be used or not. While the sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to provide useful new information and begin to answer some of these questions, there is still a long way to go before it can be decided whether the srm should. or not be part of any climate response strategy.

SRM is not a substitute for mitigation. At best, this could complement the efforts while temporarily cooling the planet and possibly avoiding potential planetary tipping points. But the longer the world delays the massive mitigation needed, the more likely it will be faced with this frightening decision.

Modifying solar radiation would be the most comprehensive undertaking undertaken by mankind if it ever decided to do so. The United Nations is the only truly global organization where governments can address issues that transcend traditional sectors and national boundaries, including potential benefits and risks, as well as governance challenges posed by natural resource management. The earlier this happens, the more likely it is that the world will avoid potentially dangerous outcomes.

Executive director
Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative
Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change

Give credit

“The Fundraising Frenzy” (July 17) discussed how FinTech companies “bundle together” by adding new products as a key part of their investment. It is certainly clear that despite the accumulation of huge user bases, many fintech startups have struggled to make a profit and are looking to consolidation to solve this problem. With these additional services comes increased engagement and increased customer loyalty.

The loan is going to be important in this consolidation activity, given its profit potential for fintechs as they mature. Despite the successes of Western markets, the real innovation here will be in places like India and Latin America. Access to credit is often disparate, leaving many consumers underserved and markets ripe for innovation and opportunity.

Investors would do well to remember this when deciding where to place their next big bet.

global head of Mergers and Acquisitions and investments
Hong Kong

Drink sober

Regarding innovations in non-alcoholic beer (“Buzzkill”, July 10), in 1988 Brooks Firestone and Hale Fletcher released alcohol-free beer. It was brewed without alcohol, so there was no need to remove it and with it the taste. It was a success. Unfortunately, the big brewers, looking for a RP halo effect by encouraging responsible consumption, used their dominating power to oust them from the market, but the cat was out of bag and the market for tasty non-alcoholic beer grew. Adam Firestone, Brooks’ son, and David Walker used Firestone equipment to produce the first of their alcoholic craft beers under the Firestone-Walker label, which celebrates 25 years of success.

Santa barbara

What is the point of a non-alcoholic pub (“Fill the craics”, July 31)? Why spend an evening there drinking? If you are sober, then sitting in a place that looks like an establishment where people drink alcohol seems to me to be nothing but needlessly perverse.


How to count the rain

A Belgian reader, commenting on the indisputable attractions of his country, unfortunately perpetuated an old but inaccurate myth about the rainy climate in Ireland (Letters, July 17). He said Ireland has 225 rainy days a year, compared to 199 in Belgium. However, the 225-day figure only applies to Ireland’s wet west coast facing the Atlantic. The overall figure for the rest of the country is much lower and in Dublin it is only 155 days a year (in Berlin it is 167). Rainfall in Ireland also tends to be what we call mild; it can be wet all day, but the total amount of precipitation is quite low.

Among the many Belgians who were drawn to the sometimes chaotic but particularly easy-going, albeit hazy, lifestyle in Ireland was a chef from Ypres called Zenon Geldof. You may have heard of her grandson, Bob, whose middle name is also Zenon.

Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

This article appeared in the Letters section of the print edition under the title “On Risk and Vaccines, Science Fiction, Climate Change, Loans, Beer, Rainfall”


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