Monday, December 16, 2002

Here's a story you probably haven't seen yet - I found it by accident myself. After reading these claims of the New Dem Daily, I decided to see for myself if they were right or wrong about Mississippi. I went to and started looking through Mississippi newspapers. I first discovered how many were local newspapers which ignored national politics - or reprinted it from AP. Fair enough, my hometown papers do plenty of that. I never did turn up any homegrown editorials.

I turned this up on the Clarksdale Press Register, which also gets international news from the newswires, but from a different agency (Xinua). Once I found it, I searched the New York Times, which I had previously glanced at. It wasn't there, even when I searched, although other items about Canada were. The Washington Post did have it, but it wasn't a headline, even a small one in the international news section. They got it from AP, so AP had it, although they may not have featured it.

Canada ratified the Kyoto protocols today, leaving Australia and the United States as the only developed countries not to do so.

Do we care, other than feeling smug we are not socialist enough to risk hobbling our economy this way?

I have forgotten most of the conversations I had twenty years ago, but I remember one that didn't seem too important at the time. I have since searched the web with keywords such as aliens, grandchildren and invasion, but have not found this puzzle. Suppose aliens wanted to take over the Earth, but they had taken damage from the primitive jet fighters of the last planet they took over, so they decided to try something different. They offer us a deal. Everyone alive gets everything they need to have a vastly improved standard of living without working. Not only that, we can even enjoy seeing our children and grandchildren grow up, and be guaranteed they will live out their natural life spans in peace. The grandchildren will be sterilized however, and after they die of old age the aliens take over the earth. Should we accept?

Of course, global warming isn't as cut and dried as this little puzzle. Nobody expects human extinction even in the worst case do nothing scenarios. It may still be revealing though. I was surprised and a little saddened when my friend decided to sell the planet. My sister was horrified to hear this, and I had trouble convincing her he was a normal human being. It's a question worth answering honestly though - how much do we really care about the future?

Many would answer this by saying they do care about the future, and oppose measures to cut carbon emissions because they think a stronger economy will have a better chance of understanding and fighting global warming than a weaker one. Others might say the effects may be trivial, and in some ways beneficial. I still think it's worth thinking about - and not just in terms of global warming - how much, if at all, should we think of future generations?

By the way, I agree up to a point some of the above. I think it would be a mistake to cripple our economy fighting global warming - but new technologies have historically tended to promote rather than hinder growth. I even have doubts about Kyoto, but considered it better than Bush's refusal to do anything. As modest as it is, I think the recent requirement for improved fuel economy for SUV's is a step in the right direction. Do those Hummer's people are driving also count as light trucks, or are they medium weight?

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