I have just listened to the most eloquent and convincing defence of the case for carbon regulation that I have yet heard.
It was delivered by Professor Katherine Richardson of the University of Copenhagen at the opening of the International Association of Research University's Climate Congress, and it goes, in abbreviated form, like this.
When mankind first worked out that it could grown and harvest crops it did so wherever it liked in an entirely subsistence manner. At this point it was impossible for our ancestors to conceive that at some point this activity might have to be managed and regulated.
It was only generations later, when population growth meant competition for agricultural land, that societies realised agricultural activity needed to be regulated and property laws and boundaries emerged.
Similarly, there was a time when it was only natural to discard waste whereever we liked. Again, it was only when society realised that this posed a threat to health and social coherence that the practice became tightly regulated by both formal laws and informal mores.
The parallels with carbon regulation are obvious. As Richardson puts it:
"When our ancestors traded animals for machines and put the model T on the road no one dreamed we would have to regulate these activities. But people have always reacted to issues that are seen as a collective threat to our species by developing regulations to manage those actions... it is that which gives us hope."
So there we have it. Carbon regulations are not just necessary they are a natural part of social evolution. Try arguing with that.
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