We all know this. Why do we continue with the charade that we are doing something about it?

The ability of the industrialized world, through emissions reductions alone, to impact the future course of global climate is minimal. If the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe, and former Soviet countries all limited their emissions of greenhouse gases according to the schedule laid out under Waxman-Markey—a monumental, unexpected development—it would, at most, avoid only a bit more than one-half of a °C of projected global warming (out of 4.5°C—or only about 10%). And this is under worst-case emissions assumptions; middle-of-the-road scenarios and less sensitive climate models produce even less overall impact.

To make any significant in-roads to lowering the rate (and thus final magnitude) of projected global temperature rise, the bulk of the emissions reduction needs to come from other parts of the world, primarily Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. The problem is, is that these governments are not inclined to restrict the energy usage of its citizens—in fact, they either are in the process of, or are soon hoping to, significantly expand the amount of energy available to their (growing) populations—and in the process, subsuming all potential emissions savings from the (current) industrialized world.

If supporters of large greenhouse gas emissions restrictions were really interested in “saving the world,” they would be putting all of their effort into getting China and India to buy into their plan—and then turning to the U.S. up in mop up duty. As it stands now, they are talking to the wrong end of the horse.

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