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BUENOS AIRES -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Science Advisor Sir David King regularly calls climate change "the greatest threat facing mankind" and "worse than terrorism." A local paper here, the Buenos Aires Herald, echoed this sentiment in an editorial this week. Blair himself more modestly calls climate change "the greatest environmental threat.” <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
If things are so hazardous, one obvious question arises: why, then, is the timid <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Kyoto proposal all that is on the table for immediate action? After all, even accepting each and every worst-case scenario assumption, Kyoto would only reduce global temperatures by a barely detectable 0.07 degrees by 2100. Is that a serious response to the "greatest threat"?
Kyoto proponents acknowledge it is merely "the first of 30 steps.” Kyoto is all that is proposed because it is as large a pill of energy suppression that rich countries would presumably swallow. Restricting energy use as dramatically as Kyoto supporters claim is necessary is patently a non-starter.
What's Worse Than Climate Change?
But with their go-slow approach, Kyoto proponents implicitly admit that perhaps there are some things more threatening than climate change. After all, if concern over inducing an economic depression prevents them from pushing for larger reductions immediately, then that must be a worse threat to mankind than climate change. The 160 nations refusing Kyoto's emission reductions seem to hold this view.
What's more, under the Marrakech amendments of 2001, Kyoto implicitly classifies generating electricity through nuclear power as a greater threat than climate change, since it excludes it as a permissible method of satisfying the treaty's CO2 reductions. Nukes are the sole known "GHG-free" technology capable of providing our energy needs.
What else is a greater threat? How about biotechnology? Genetic modification of trees to make them absorb more carbon would be a good tool to use in reducing the threat of climate change. Not according to anti-technology greens, however. "Genetically modified trees must be banned from the Kyoto Protocol" blared Monday's joint press release of the Friends of the Earth International (FOE-I) and the World Rainforest Movement.
Another green group, the International Rivers Network, has deemed hydroelectric power verboten when considering reductions of greenhouse gases, even though hydro power releases no CO2. Again, it's difficult not to conclude that they believe some things—in this case, dams—constitute a bigger threat than climate change.
In the hyper-hyperbolic realm of environmental alarmism, it does not seem too much to expect that such abandonment of perspective will be recognized at some point as in itself a dangerous practice.