Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kyoto II

Well, this week has seen a "sea change" in world opinion on tackling climate change. Using typical BBC rhetoric this report suggests that Kyoto will have a successor in 2009 (or is it going to be 2002?).

May I stress that there is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with attempts to cut emissions. Anyone who has lived in a polluted area would want for emissions to be cut. The smoggy cities of Industrial Britain were not healthy places. All we have done, apparently, is move the factories of, say, Birmingham UK to somewhere else, primarily China and India. So a protocol to cut emissions is logical. However, the touted reason for doing so is not. Politicians cannot control climate change and if they attempt to do so they will have no degree of certainty as to the outcome. Meantime they will put into law expensive measures that will have a damaging effect on humankind.

Politicians have a life span measured in years - the typical range may be as little as four, the maximum maybe 35. Nature operates on a much grander scale and also with far more nuances than the average politician will ever be capable of understanding. Nature has no vested interests, no local constituency, no "irons in the fire". Politicians do.

The idea that a significant portion of the planet's GDP be spent to attempt to do something that has no guaranteed outcome - a risky planet-wide experiment - is more scary to me than the alternative of not doing anything.

If we can cut emissions without wasting valuable resources, so be it. If not, let's treat the whole subject of managing climate change for what it is - a questionable, short term solution designed to please those who refuse to examine available evidence on a geological time scale.

No-one seems to be challenging the politicians on this. It's time we did.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

a significant portion of the world GDP?? haahahha ..stern report states that it would only take 1% per year..

i wonder how much of the worlds GDP is spent on military? hmm intresting thought..

1:10 PM  
Blogger Focalplane said...

Yes, but Stern was very clever in his use of present and future value economics. Like any statistician he knows how to present his findings in a way that seems inocuous enough.

I have no problem with your second comment regarding military spending. Use that money to wipe out malaria and AIDS and you are on to something really positive!

8:11 PM  

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