Happy Birthday Sasha W
One of the most interesting statements made at the climate change conference was Henry Shue’s moral categorization for inaction on climate change: he called it ‘the infliction of harm upon the defenceless.’ This, he said, is true independently from whether abrupt and harmful climate change scenarios arise. Given what we know, it is akin to forcing someone to play Russian Roulette: even if there is no bullet in the chamber, when the hammer falls, the imposition of the risk is immoral.
The idea of future generations being in a position of helplessness, relative to us, had not occurred to me before. Historical progress has generally involved increases in human capability. I suppose it is only now that we have the widescale ability to threaten vital biological systems that we stand to undermine whatever new capabilities our forebears will have, both technical and economic, by presenting problems insoluble even with future technology.
Scenarios like the disruption of the Thermohaline circulation circulation of the liberation of methane hydrate from the ocean floors definitely seem insoluble, even given vastly increased capability. Perhaps such arguments can help to generate the impetus in the minds of people and policymakers that will be required to move forward with GHG controls.