Wednesday, 7 November 2007

WHAT IF?

What if the alarmists are right and we are facing apocalypse unless we stop emitting CO2? Surely we ought to do it just in case? These are arguments I often get put to me. So let's take a flight of fancy for a moment - let's pretend that scientists really have found the key to our climate and it's down to man-made CO2.

First of all to make a significant impact every major power in the world would have to agree to make big cuts, and this is the biggest problem of all. If all the nations who signed up to Kyoto had met their obligations it has been calculated that by the end of the 21st century it would have kept the planet 0.1C cooler. So we are talking of much more cuts than that. Are we even seriously going to ask the government's of India, Brazil and China to take part in these cuts? I think we all know the answer to that is no.

"But", I hear people say, "we in the developed world have caused all the past emissions and so it is our fault. We must stop our emissions and then the rest will follow." This is an argument to appeal to our sense of guilt, but it doesn't make any sense. If we now believe that only drastic cuts in CO2 will save us, then it is pointless half the planet making drastic sacrifices, while the other half continues to carry on increasing their emissions. George Bush is right, it has to be either everyone or it won't work. By being the first nation in the world to have a legally binding reduction target, we are simply making a futile gesture. Unless everyone else follows we will be enduring costs and hardship for nothing.

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