What gives us the right to choose our short-term convenience
over the long-term welfare of the population of the entire world
? The entire world
, mind you. We have already done irreversible
harm to the global atmosphere. Currently accepted
scientific estimates run in the 1 to 3 °C range for global temperature increase and in the .1 to .6 meter range for sea level rise in the next hundred years. And that's if we take drastic measures to reduce emissions right now
. The numbers run as high as 6°C
and 1 meter
if we don't.
I ask again: what gives us the right to destroy this planet for our convenience? Let us presume for a moment that implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would instantly and completely topple our fragile economy, hurling us into a crippling depression from which we would not recover for decades. So?. That we would have the audacity to put our economy before the interests of 95% of the world's population (not to mention future generations) positively sickens me, especially considering that so many of the major nations around the globe have pledged to make whatever sacrifices need to be made to do their part.
Granted, the Kyoto Protocol would not solve the global warming problem. The greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere would not magically disappear. Florida might well end up underwater anyway. But it would be a start. And if not now, then when? Should we wait until New York is reduced to a glorified fish tank and then ban all the offending agents entirely? How would that suit the economy? Hm?
Maybe, just maybe, it would be prudent to cut back gradually over the next few decades. It wouldn't be easy, but it would sure as hell beat cold turkey, and something has to be done eventually. The Protocol would have been an excellent kick-off. But so much for that idea.
Some factual bits were gleaned from the report "Summary for Policymakers: A Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change" which may be found at http://www.ipcc.ch