Keith Hudson on China, US and Global Warming

In his Sapientia, a daily newsletter, Keith Hudson tackles some of the toughest questions facing us with a depth and understanding generally un-common. This time he tackles the 4th strategic dialogue between China and the US.

Excerpts from today’s, DAILY QUOTE 471:

…what of global warming? This is already the major concern of Western European countries. But so far there isn’t the faintest scintilla of evidence that either America or China is yet persuaded that man-made carbon dioxide is the major cause of it. It may be that industrial growth is of such huge importance to both countries that they are in ostrich-like denial about any possibility of cramping their style.

It may also be the case that, because some very eminent climatologists still have doubts about the man-made cause of global warming, politicians and administrators are waiting for conclusive evidence. Contrariwise, it may also be that they are indeed already convinced, but that the likely higher sea levels, swamping of seacoast cities, ecological adjustments, human migrations and so forth are judged to be economically bearable while the era of cheap oil and gas reaches its peak during the next 40 years or so. After then it may be calculated that world-wide economic growth will be forced to decline as we move into much more expensive mined-coal or highly expensive solar technologies in order to generate electricity or make transportation fuels.

Some economists — and eminent ones, too — certainly believe that any money likely to be spent on reducing carbon dioxide emissions would be better spent — at least at present and the foreseeable future — on other matters, such as raising the educational standards of all countries.

My own view is that senior administrators in both America and China probably believe that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is making some contribution to global warming even if there are other more fundamental but as yet unknown climatological changes taking place. Furthermore, that there are insufficient energy and other resources in the world that will allow anything more than a fraction of the world population to even approximate to the way of life of, say, half of Americans, half of Western Europeans, most of the Japanese and the middle-class in the coastline provinces of China now enjoy.

All this is quite apart from global warming. Whether this continues or not, the world has already reached its maximum of food production due to freshwater constraints. Furthermore, as noted in a recent Sapientia posting, there is strong evidence from several research groups that there are sufficient minority metal resources of a crucial nature — such as uranium or germanium — to take all the countries of the world into the advanced technologies and the way of life that some in the West (and the coastline of China) already enjoy.

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