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Friday, September 10, 2004

Kyoto

I dislike the Kyoto treaty. I dislike it because of the idea that if only it is implemented we will all live happily ever after, global warmining will go away, and there will be no more floods. OK, that is being unfair, but that is the atmosphere I feel it creates.

I do think global warming is occuring. It seems to be to be a proven case. What is at dispute is why, and I think this one is a great deal more tricky. For one, how do we know this just isn't one of the cyclical changes in the world's climate that occur every so often. Indeed, how to we know that this isn't just the reverse of the Little Ice Age. The Little Ice Age was a cooler period that lasted from c.1400 to roughly the late-19th century. It was at a relatively stable from about 1500 to about 1800. Previous the world was in a warmer spot. As far as I know no one really knows why the world got colder around 1400, or why it started to get warmner around 1800. Personally I have to ask whether the current global warming is simply the world moving to a warmer spot?

I also think it is fairly plain how little we understand our planet's weather. That should be plain when we have enough difficulty predicting what the weather will be in 24 hour's time, let alone how our planet is going to long 10, 20, 50, 100+ years ahead. Kyoto addresses these large global concerns, with lots of fanfare, supposedly offering a solution to a condition that we barely understand. Because of this I personally I am rather happy that Bush is against Kyoto (though the USA is hardly the only anti-Kyoto nation, Australia is another, though rarely criticised - I wonder why?).

That said, I do actually support some environmental measures - the local measures. We simply don't understand the global framework, but more local situations we do have a pretty good idea of what's going on. This post is already getting longer than I want it to be, so I won't go into detail, but here's my theory.

Small things effect big things. A hundred small changes implemented well may well be more effective than a larger change implemented poorly. Kyoto strikes be as a big change that can't be effectively implemented. I have more faith in small changes that will, over time, and it will take decades, have a far more profound, positive, and lasting impact.

I also believe that it is possible, regardless of what we do, that we will simply have to live with a hotter world. We are supremely arrogant if we think that humanity's actions necessarily change to world's climate. Perhaps we are just along for the ride.

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