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LoomisBoy

The personal journal of technology journalist and conference speaker Randall S. Newton.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Global Warming or Global Poverty: We Can Only Fight One

Laying in bed with the flu (second time this winter -- makes up for years of going flu-free, I guess) I heard a great bit of discussion on NPR's Talk of the Nation today about global warming vs. global poverty. Barry Rabe, professor at The Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, argued that the cost of effectively fighting global warming is too high a price for the world to pay.

To do the job right, Rabe said, would require an effort 28 times larger than prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol. To channel that much of the world's resources into global cooling would be devastating to every economy.

During the last 100 years, the average global temperature has risen 1 degree. In that same period, global wealth has risen 1800 percent. Rabe argues that it would be more humane (as well as more logical) to continue to focus on global wealth creation and then deal with the effects of global warming when a higher percentage of the world's citizens are sharing in the world's wealth.

Makes sense to me. I'd like to see somebody try to tell Bono and the rest of the "Make Poverty History" crowd that they need to close up shop, since turning down the global thermostat will require all available resources.

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