Nations have so dragged their feet in battling climate change that the situation has grown critical and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising, according to a draft United Nations report. Another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies, experts found.
Delay would likely force future generations to develop the ability to suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and store them underground to preserve the livability of the planet, the report found. But it is not clear whether such technologies will ever exist at the necessary scale, and even if they do, the approach would likely be wildly expensive compared with taking steps now to slow emissions.
Suppose there's a product on the market right now that will insure you and your descendants against the ill effects of climate change due to carbon emissions. It costs $5,000. Will you buy it? If yes, you should vote for policies aimed at curbing carbon emissions. If no, you should vote against it.
Me? I'd buy that product in a heartbeat--even if it costs a lot more than $5,000. Upsetting the ecosystem, overpopulation, and nuclear weapons in the wrong hands are the three potential catastrophes that keep me up at night (or would, if I wasn't such a good sleeper). If I can eliminate one of these threats with a measly $5,000--I'm all in. That's why I wish all governments could get together and agree to a carbon tax.