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The U.S. rejected the Kyoto treaty (97 senators voted against ratification (none in favor)--not just the evil Republicans). European countries are struggling to meet the requirements, or backing out. And even if Kyoto were enacted by every country and then actually implemented by every country, it would not make any difference to the problem because it is such a small step. This is not a "Bush" problem, it's a "Western Civilization" problem.
The problem of global warming is huge. The economic disruption that would be require to reverse it is huge. Most people simply don't understand the scale of the problem: One estimate is that we would need to cut CO2 emissions by 70% to negate the problem.
SEVENTY PERCENT REDUCTION. That is a HUGE amount. Basically it says that everybody needs to cut their use of energy to 1/4 of what it is now. How are you going to do that? It's so completely impractical that getting the political will to do it is simply NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. It would essentially require the replacement of the entire Western electricity generating system with nuclear power, and the replacement of the entire automobile transportation system with electric trains.
Realistically, what politician is going to take that on as a platform? It's not going to happen. What is going to happen is a bunch of handwringing and a lot of flooding of low-lying areas. Move to high ground!
On selfish grounds, the changes will be more than flooding in Tuvalu and Bangladesh. Climate change will disrupt our agriculture (feeling hungry yet?), destabilize governments due to economic effects, increase the spread of tropical diseases, etc.
Failure is not an option. Fortunately, many in the private sector are beginning to wake up to the threat, and address it in their own firms, and put pressure on the dinosaur Republicans to abandon Bush's "faith-based climatology."
As the situation becomes more desperate politicians will respond - they always wrap themselves in the flag in a crisis and blow the trumpets to charge.
Hopefully enough leaders of science and industry - as well as the rest of us making evolutionary changes in our everyday lives - will already be in motion so that by the time the politicians notice that they're not leading the pack anymore, we'll all have made progress on the difficult road ahead.
What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on? - Thoreau
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