India served notice on Sunday that it remains opposed to legally binding targets to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, digging in its heels against the United States as the Obama administration begins marshaling support for a new global agreement on climate change…
India’s refusal to accept mandatory cuts in emissions is neither new nor unique. China also opposes a deal with compulsory targets. And both countries say their economic growth should not be constrained when the West never faced such restrictions during its period of industrialization.
This last point of the West’s arrogance is dead on the money. The West (esp. the States) who still today is the biggest polluter, who rose to the standard of living we now enjoy by first doing serious damage to ecosystems (cf. Charles Dickens) and then tells developing nations like China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Brazil, who are basically where the US was in say the 19th and early 20th centuries in many regards that they can’t have their Industrial Revolution, thereby (if actually every implemented) sending everyone back to the farms to massively increase human population (since cities lead to de-population over time), famines, and total ecological meltdown.
So yeah India is not so politely going to tell the US to go f#$@ themselves with their idiotic, time-wasting, carbon-burning, and money draining world climate conferences and Kyoto style wrong-headed (however well-intentioned) environmentalism. And quite rightly. Also it would undoubtedly sound more beautiful if said in Hindi.
I happen to think a cap and trade system for post-industrial societies makes a lot of sense–like the EU. And now the US. So I actually support a cap and trade (and rebate …which I think is missing from Waxman-Markley). But not elsewhere.
How then to respond to the argument that if India and China don’t go post-carbon then everyone else will be screwed as they alone over the next half century will burn so much carbon (in the form of coal mainly not gas btw) that it will destroy the carrying capacity of the biosphere to maintain life, thereby ending human existence on the planet?
[Sidenote: Notice that the Earth doesn’t need saving, rather we need saving on it. If we humans are all killed, the earth will be quite fine thank you very much. Life will flourish without our currently parasitic existence robbing it of our its rightful place. Only humans are arrogant enough to think they can save the earth.]
William McDonough can answer that question much more eloquently than I can, so over to him:
Notice the emphasis on abundance and learning from nature as the proper wellspring of how to design human ecology/industry (called biomimicry). Again we don’t need to save the earth, we simply need to learn how she does things in the biosphere (e.g. NO WASTE) and then creatively apply those lessons to our human sphere of existence–what Teilhard Chardin called the noosphere. The sphere of mind. The future of evolution is human choice. Evolution has brought us to be the species that has conscious choice and memory and therefore history, law, politics, economics, art, religion, etc. Either we apply the lessons we have learned about the biosphere to our noosphere, thereby uniting the two in a mutually prosperous relationship or we continue to be parasites and the host will eventually kick us out and go on living without us and our species will have failed. Evolution will then try something else and maybe find a better vehicle. Or maybe not.