Other thread didn't really get anywhere.
The question I was really trying to answer is: are we willing to sacrifice future development for the sake of delaying the inevitable for ten years (Kyoto)?
I was hoping to get greater explaination from those who think we should have acted earlier had we known what we know now about Climate Change.
If we had intervened before China and India's industrialisation we would have forfeited the development in those countries which has taken millions of people out of poverty and has empowered an ever growing Middle-class (which in my opinion will lead to a democratic China in 50 years).
If we had intervened before the Industrial Revolution we would not have trains, cars, electricity, etc. You know what I mean! If we had intervened before man discovered fire then we could even be extinct by now. Ok so we wouldn't be eating meat. *cheers from veggies*
So the point is what will be sacrificed by restricting progress if we intervene now? In one or two hundred years when the historians look back at this point in history what will they say?
"Oh look, up until 2006 humans used industry as a means of progression. Look at the exponential curve of human development"
"So what happened?" (seeing the curve level out and decline from 2006).
"Well, it became fashionable to save the environment. Human development suffered as a result. We progressed at far less a rate"
"Oh, but the environment was saved, right?"
"Well, they managed to delay the inevitable by ten years"
"Oh, I see"
Why should we intervene? Fossil fuels will run out eventually and we will be forced to innovate. If we avoid taxing business (e.g. Climate Change levie) they may even begin to innovate now. The problem with restricting business by increasing costs is that we are making the problem worse by increasing their dependency on fossil fuel. Without sufficient funds to research new (and more than likely renewable and cleaner) sources of energy we are making the problem worse.
My view on climate change:
It has occurred throughout the last 4.6 billion years. It has changed between ice age and long periods of hot and dry weather. Forecasters envisage a slight upward curve, and then we head into an ice age.
The industrial revolution, CFCs and general wastefulness are accelerating said climate change and not causing it.
Im all in favour of trying to cut down our excesses and making this planet green. I feel that it is necessary if not to prevent asthma and other diseases caused by our polluted inner cities. However we should not let the situation get overexaggerated.
Intervention is not about callingn a halt to development you idiot - it's about ensuring it's carried out so as to equalise the marginal costs to the environment and the marginal benefits to society of development.