From the knowledgeable resident scientist at Crumb Trail:: more on contraction and convergence, as Ronald Bailey discussed in the article I pointed to in this earlier post today. Mr./Ms. Back40 (who, I may remind you, was responsible for finding the fix when I switched to MT and couldn’t get my stylesheet to behave) is skeptical about C&C as a viable and robust policy, pointing out that its proponents also do a poor job of relative risk assessment:
The main argument for C&C is that people in developed countries emit much more CO2 than people in undeveloped countries on a per capita basis though each has an equal right to do so. The way to reduce such emissions is to make the people in developed countries pay the people in undeveloped countries for exceeding their allotment. People in developing countries can use that money to develop and begin to make their own emissions but would then lose the payments.
This is quite a bizarre idea when you think about it. Countries that are overpopulated now and that will experience massive population growth in the near future are to be paid for their inability to manage themselves by people who have done a better job of it. It’s another crackpot idea that utterly fails to consider whole systems. Population growth is a far more pressing problem than CO2 emissions but C&C will provide incentives to increase population.
I also very much appreciate the conclusion:
The only useful thing people can do is develop better techniques that use material more gently, less wastefully, more effectively. The problems we have are a result of the techniques we have developed thus far. We can abandon them as a bad job and revert to a pre-industrial life style or press ahead with new urgency in developing better techniques. Those who have the talent and training to develop new techniques are doing just that. They are impeded in part by politicians though they could be aided. This is where we need political reform. The wealth and energy we squander on bureaucratic boondoggles such as Kyoto and C&C must cease. The impediments thrown up by politicians to development and implementation of improved techniques must cease. There is no positive contribution politicians can make. All they can do is a quartermaster function, the acquisition and distribution of material and funds required by technology developers to do their work.
Get out of the way, eh?