People will be 5 times as rich as they are now in 100 years. Most of us won?t live that long, but if we?re willing to be 5 times as rich in 102 years instead?just 2 years later?we can afford to solve the problems that are causing global warming. Think we?ll do it?
U.S. climate scientist Stephen Schneider and Swedish energy economist Christian Azar say it?s not true that the international plans to reduce global warming will cripple the U.S. and world economies. "The wild rhetoric about enslaving the poor and bankrupting the economy to do climate policy is fallacious, even if one accepts the conventional economic models," says Schneider.
The researchers say climate scientists have to take a tougher stand against politicians who claim any major action would be too costly. The U.S. has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol for this reason and Australian Prime Minister John Howard says his government won?t ratify it either, because it will "cost jobs and damage our industry." The scientists say this just isn?t true.
The Bush administration and the Australian government are following the advice of William Nordhaus of Yale University, who says "a vague premonition of some potential disaster is insufficient grounds to plunge the world into depression." But Schneider says that, over a century, even the trillions of dollars needed to halt global warming can be easily shouldered by the economies of developed countries.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that economists estimate the stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide at twice pre-industrial concentrations by 2100 would cost between $1 trillion and $8 trillion. It sounds like a lot, but it won?t cause much suffering when we take into account the 2 per cent a year economic growth that?s predicted by the same economists.
Without any action to stop global warming, economists predict that the world as a whole will be 10 times as rich as it is now by 2100, and people will be five times as well off. Adding on the costs of reducing global warming, Schneider says, would postpone this target by only two years. "To be 10 times richer in 2100 versus 2102 would hardly be noticed," he says. Agreeing to the terms of the Kyoto Protocol would mean that industrialized countries would "get 20 per cent richer by June 2010 rather than in January 2010".
We won?t be around in 100 years, but we care about our kids, and we think they?ll be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to repair the Earth. We just wish the politicians who are around today weren?t so short-sighted.
There are a few simple things that each of us can do to help stop global warming. To find out what they are, read ?The Coming Global Superstorm,? now only $9.95 for a hardcover signed by Whitley Strieber and soon to be a major motion picture,click here.
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