October 30, 2008

Global Warming: Kyoto Protocol?

(a continuation) If every country not only participated in the signing of the Kyoto Treaty, but actually adhered to it, we would delay the 4.7 degree Farenheit increase expected over the next century by five years. Instead of getting there at 2100, we'd get there at 2105. Some people argue that the treaty is more symbolic than practical, and that it's a great opportunity to get universal buy-in on this global problem, to start doing SOMETHING. So, that begs the question, is there a better something we should be pushing for? Proponents of Kyoto talk about how the treaty will encourage eco-friendly technology investments, while cutting down heat deaths, malaria outbreaks and floods. This is all true. At the estimated cost of an estimated $180 billion a year. If these are the real consequences we're trying to prevent, is there a way to be more efficient with our resources, and fight these fights directly? Preventing malaria through vaccinations and mosquito nets, preventing flooding through improved levee systems, preventing carbon-emissions by increasing eco-friendly R&D? All for much, much less money, and with much, much better results. Isn't a wealthier world going to be better prepared to tackle the real problems of global warming? For instance, in the 1920s, one of the malaria hotbeds in the world was Missouri. Today, it's gone. Wealth killed it.