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Going Cheney on Climate Threat

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJanuary 24, 2011 6:40 PM


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There's been a lot of talk in recent years about global warming being a "conflict accelerant" in volatile regions of the world. That discussion, which I've explored in articles and various blog posts, (see here and here) is focused on the potential geopolitical ramifications of climate change-related disasters (such as more frequent and severe floods, drought, and storms). But I've never heard anyone wonder if global inaction or unwillingness to curb greenhouse gases could conceivably trigger war between countries. That is the hypothetical raised by a reader on this thread that otherwise takes up the question of whether a clean energy solution to climate change can best be arrived at by an authoritarian or democratic government. Here's the provocative scenario that dares to be imagined (my emphasis):

China is doing more on the clean energy front and this is unquestionably in part due to its ability to avoid the morass of special interests that infect energy policy politics in democratic countries. Just because that is so, however, does not mean that we aught to adopt a more autocratic form of governance. On the other hand, there is ample precedent for curtailing of democratic freedoms in the face of existential threats as already noted up-thread. Along those lines, here's a question for you "” at what point, if any, would it be reasonable for other countries to use the threat of force to impose carbon caps on other nation or nations? Could GHGs ever be construed as a "˜clear and present danger' that would justify the bombing of coal plants and hummers? :)

That question is loaded with dynamite. Anyone want to get close to it and have a go?

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