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Deconstructing Arguments against the “Global Deal”

11/26/09

My response to Vincent Carroll’s editorial in the Denver Post.

By Keelin Kelly, Castle Rock, CO

Immediately after arriving home to Colorado, my father thrust an editorial in my lap by Vincent Carroll, editor of the former Rocky Mountain News and now contributor to the Denver Post. Though I disagree with Mr. Carroll about many issues, I must admit he brings up a few legitimate arguments against an internationally binding treaty to reduce CO2 emissions. I therefore think it is important to seriously consider Mr. Carroll’s objections to a treaty and reply to them.

His first concern is that it would hurt the poor around the world. On face, the objection seems reasonable but is not difficult to respond to. First, an international deal probably would not hold the poorest nations in the world accountable to reduce emissions thereby presenting to impediment to their economic growth. Furthermore, the point of the deal is to change the course of development. We do not want the bar for development to be set at the current standard of living in the U.S. It should be changed by helping lifestyles change globally, and a climate change treaty would hopefully help people around the world accomplish this.

Mr. Carroll further objects that a treaty would reduce emissions such that in the U.S. our 2050 emissions would be at the present levels of developing nation. He is clearly insinuating such a deal would turn the U.S. into a developing country. This too is not the case. There are so many ways the U.S. can reduce emissions without hurting its economy at all with increased efficiency and a transition to more renewable energy usage. Technological advancements to spur this transition would actually probably help America and create jobs and growing the economy. The point of the deal is not to go back but rather to go forward sustainably.

He concludes his editorial with the common objection that climate change may not be happening. In general, this argument is irrelevant. To me, climate change should just be one consideration as to why a global deal is needed. More fundamentally, the course of global development is unsustainable and needs to be changed.

Though Mr. Carroll brings up some worthy objection to a treaty, they do not stand in the end. His article demonstrates a mindset in the U.S. that must be changed by convincing people of the facts, and not the mere conjecture, about the importance and ramifications of a global deal.

The link to Mr. Carroll’s article is here: http://www.denverpost.com/carroll/ci_13835859

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