International leaders on climate change (aka global warming) are beginning to despair that anything can be done about what they think will be the end of the world.
“We are failing as an international community,” said Halldor Thorgeirsson at London’s Imperial College. He is a senior director with the United Nation’s Framework convention on Climate Change, getting ready for a big meeting two years from now in Paris. At that meeting, he hopes, the world’s nations will come up with a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions everywhere, even in China and India, the two nations that are the world’s champion polluters. Fat chance.
We in the San Joaquin Valley have been lowering emissions for 20 years now, and we still have smog, a lot of which is sent to us from the Bay Area. Only if the Bay Area shut down completely would we see much more difference in the amount of smog in the air here. Again, fat chance.
But we are told that along with smog from the Bay Area, no small amount of China’s smog also comes here — another cheap foreign knockoff.
Maybe China and India have found ways to get rid of their smog — by sending it elsewhere, especially to places like California, where we bend over backwards and forwards to prevent pollution from greenhouse gases in the first place.
Thorgeirsson and his colleagues are finding out what a lot of us already knew, which is that most of the world wouldn’t mind if greenhouse gases were better controlled, but would just as soon somebody else would do it.
Also there’s a presumption that global warming over the next century or so will be a bad thing, but that may not necessarily be true. Scientists tell us that the periods of the greatest expansion of plant and animal life on earth also were times of warmer climates than we have now.
Maybe rather than trying to slow global warming, we should be thinking about how to deal with the warming when it gets here, and how to take advantage of it. For example, by buying a lot of stock in companies that manufacture air conditioners.