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February 22, 2014

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For an interesting thought experiment, go to Wikipedia and look up the entry for "climate change opinion by country".
Therein, in a tabulated format, are percentages of the populations of each country that a) are aware of climate change (and it's alleged implications), b) attribution of the primary cause of climate change to human activities, and c) opinion as to whether climate change is a personal threat.
Then, Google up the stances of China, India, and Brazil with respect to climate change and detect the finger-pointing that is extant.
China agrees with the Kyoto Protocols with respect to greenhouse gas emissions but is technically exempt from responsibility. Even so, it vows to be a front-runner in a reduced-carbon emitting economy and is the world leader in alternative-energy applications such as wind and solar energy. Despite efforts, China emits more greenhouse gas per capita than an other country. 5th-grade math will give you a clue as to exactly why. Duh.
India emits a relatively low percentage of greenhouse gas per capita - almost ten times less than the USA or China. It seems logical (to me, anyway) that requiring India to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is tantamount to asking them to be a scapegoat.
Brazil is a bit paranoid, and (rightfully) is pointing the finger at the developed Northern Hemisphere countries for decimating it's environment, if human-caused climate change is true. Brazil claims that pervasive poverty among it's population is already burden enough without having to implement greenhouse gas restrictions. The rest of the world should get it's act together before asking Brazilians to sacrifice trivial conveniences such as electricity, cars, and refrigeration.

Asking Americans to voluntarily sacrifice the comfort and convenience afforded by greenhouse gas emissions will get politicians laughed out of office, given the official stance of the major governments of the world.

Willie, China is #1 in total greenhouse gas emissions, but #72 per capita in 2005 according to this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CO2_emissions_per_capita

The highest emissions per capita in major countries are in Australia (#5) the US (#7) and Canada (#8). The US is #2 in total emissions. Shame on us.

Big oops! on my China greenhouse gas emissions per capita quotation, but they still emit the most CO2. You cannot keep that many people alive without burning fossil fuels, no matter how well-intentioned a government may be.

Actually, the per capita greenhouse gas measurement is only relevant inasmuch as it illustrates the relative prosperity of a country. I am not that smart, but developing strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions around this particular statistic will definitely prove to be problematic for some obvious reasons.

But getting back to the gist of Blogger Brian's posting - I think it is OK for politicians to admit that they must capitulate to scientific fact,as long as they admit that they are clueless when it comes to feasible solutions to climate change.

Climate is changing, but what is to be done about it?.. A worldwide ban on burning fossil fuels? Does anyone believe that will happen? What if it turns out the cause was not greenhouse gases, despite scientific consensus, but something else? How do you get 7 billion people to take austerity measures? I think nature itself will impose a new paradigm, with or without us.

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