Thursday, December 10, 2015


The discussion in the Paris Talks is all about the relationship between two kinds of harm. The future harm from an increase in the planet's temperature and the harm from attempting to reduce our contribution to that increase. The men and women sitting at the table have to agree on a mutually acceptable number. The balance of harms is such that by the end of this century an increase in the Earth's average temperature of 1.5 Centigrade, which is a little over 2.5 Fahrenheit, is about as low as they can even begin to contemplate. Estimate is that our contribution so far to the problem is 0.8 Centigrade, which is a little over 1.25 Fahrenheit.

The harm associated with reducing our contribution is fundamentally about the social unrest that could result when the promise of the political class to their people that standards of living will ever increase, a fridge and a television in every living room, an IPod in every school bag fails to materialize. More likely at the Paris Talks 1.5 Centigrade might be too ambitious a number. Something like 2 Centigrade or even 3 Centigrade might be easier for the contestants to agree upon. The mechanism for enforcement of any agreement that might be reached is currently called "Shaming."

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