Originally posted by e1618978
1. You realise, of course, that China and Russia are allowed to pollute as much as they like in the Kyoto accord, and even leftist european countries that signed it against their financial interest are violating their quotas.
Then we need a better accord. It will be difficult to achieve, certainly won't be followed strictly, but I see no reason we can't do better than we're doing now, good enough to buy us some time, without requiring a world-wide totalitarian government.
2. You must not watch the news much - "Sanctioned price fixing?". Look at the whining that is going on about $3 gas - and it is going much higher without price fixing. Any pollitician in a democratic country that tried this would be voted out very quickly.
It wouldn't have to be overt, this could be behind the scenes negotiations, and all I'm talking about is supporting some price floor which discourages the automatic consumption of all oil which one person tries to conserve by somebody else, I'm not recommending urging or sanctioning oil producers to charge $250/barrel.
Besides, adjusted for inflation current oil prices aren't really all that terribly high right now. It's very difficult to imagine that prices wouldn't be much higher than they are now if so much pent-up demand is actually out there, as you're claiming, waiting to burn up every drop of oil anyone tries to conserve.
3. No matter how poor those 20% of the non-complying countries are, factories will move there soon enough.
How fast is "soon enough"? It could be
slow enough that by time the rest of the world has found something better to burn than fossil fuels, that what they've found will be more attractive to use, even for poorer countries. We'll still be a lot better off if a good portion of the world tries to make the switch from oil and succeeds, even if some poorer countries keep burning oil for a while after that.
Anyway, every country will be non-complying (as you can see with Kyoto).
Without a global dictatorship that has total control of its citizens, conservation will not work period.
Okay, I get it. You're very cynical about human nature. Quite often a cynical attitude does make for an accurate predictor of human behavior.
On the brighter side, however, although it hasn't been quite as big of a challenge, we have managed to get off of CFC's to an effective degree through coordinated international effort, and there are already signs that's paying off with a recovering ozone layer, even with cheating going on and less than 100% compliance.
I'm also impressed that Y2K software compliance went so well, with so few actual problems having occurred. While some of the possible problems were overplayed (not every goddam computer relies on keeping track of today's date to run right!) there was real potential for major disruptions of economic activity. Surprisingly enough, however, a lot of people really heeded the warnings and got their acts together before disaster had to strike, people spent the money they needed to spend to prepare rather than nay-saying all warnings, sticking their heads in the sand, and watching their short-term bottom lines only.
What could have been a disaster turned into such a major yawn that some people wondered if all the fuss had been worth it. I'm pretty sure it was worth it, and it's a damn good thing we didn't have to learn the answer for sure the hard way.
I'm hardly a wide-eyed fan of the collective wisdom of humanity. But I do think it is possible, possible enough to not throw my hands up in the air and act like the only thing left to do is prepare for climatic disaster, possible enough not to blithely dismiss all efforts at conservation as hopeless symbolic gestures or mere issues of family budgets, for people to get energized enough to occasionally do what needs to be done for the collective good, to great enough an extent to make a difference.