Kyoto, Driving our car

Arjen Kamphuis (
Mon, 8 Dec 1997 23:32:01 +0100 (CET)

(the problem in a nutshell - IMHO)

We're driving on a misty night at full speed along a road we don't know.
Brakingdistance is about 100 meters, visibility about the same. Someone on
the backseat claims that there is an obstacle ahead but can't tell whether
it's something solid or just a slight thickening of the fog.

Now, we're in a hurry to get to a party (Cryo, Far Edge, whatever...) and
the driver wants to keep everybody happy so he's not going to slow down
because some backseater 'thinks' he sees something. So here we are rushing
toward an object that could be anything from a whisp of fog to a solid wall
of concrete. After some discussion the still unclear object is now to close
for a full stop, the choice is: we just drive on and 'see what happens' or
the ask the driver to brake and hit 'whatever it is' at the lowest speed
possible. Bumpers and airbags might minimize the damage (if any).

An international panel of scientists have some pretty good theories that
something will happen to the global climate due to the usage of fossile
fuels (the only countries that don't agree with the IPCC-reports are a few
OPEC-members). Increased downward infrared flux trough increased CO2
concentration is a well-accepted fact (and maybe a way to terraform Mars
someday). The precise effects on the global climate system cannot be
estimated at this point, it may take another 10 to 15 years to find
conclusive evidence for (or against) a human-induced climatechange. But: if
nothing is done before then it may very well be too late do to anything.

Given the fact that we have a resonable indication that something is going
to happen that _may_ be very damaging to to the only habitable planet we
have it does not seem unreasonable to try to do something (IMHO).

Maybe we could somehow include the cost of bonding the CO2 again (by
reforrestation) in the price of gasoline or electricity, as an alternative
for complex regulation. That way anybody can drive (& fly) as much as
he/she want as long as the true global cost of 'closed-cycle' consumption
is paid. The funds could be used (by oilcompanies?) to plant trees that
will bond atmospheric carbon or put into energy research.


Arjen Kamphuis | Learn as if you will live forever. | Live as though you will die tomorrow.