Sunday, March 18, 2007
Thought Experiment - Geopolitics vs acting locally
I'd like to contrast Nuclear proliferation (NP) and Anthropogenic global warming(AGW). For the sake of argument, I am going to assume that AGW (and NP) are bad and they are problems in which one has to think globally. How far can we really get by relying on individual good-will and diplomacy. Like with property crime within a country, it certainly helps if strong religious values exist which reduces theft and that people are well educated on the negative results of crime. However, where moral hazard exists, a system of deterrence is also required to prevent cheating. With both NP and AGW, surely it is not education that is the weakness. The NP Treaty is an excellent tool for reducing NP, but surely the weakness is a lack of a Global system to deter the cheaters. Pretty much any treaty done under the UN has this weakness. Talking about global emmissions targets is like talking about nuclear weapons targets. Without a robust global system of deterrence, we are putting the cart before the horse. Honest countries will be held hostage by cheating ones with nuclear weapons, and selfless carbon misers will mean more resources to exploit for the cheaters. What is happening in Iran is way more urgent than Global Warming :- If we can't keep countries to their promises with Nuclear weapons, what hope do we have for carbon emmission targets.