A spark of life

Via Todd Zywicki (who descirbes it as "great), I come upon this Robert Samuelson column on Global Warming and Kyoto. His thesis appears to be that because nations aren't taking the hard steps which would reduce global warming, they should stop talking about it and stop trying to do anything about it. I don't want to talk about that, but rather the completely unsupported claim that, "Even if rich countries actually curbed their emissions, it wouldn't matter much. Poor countries would offset the reductions." Hs point is that since developing economies may have no choice but to increase their CO2 production, countries that do have a choice shouldn't do anything. This is, oh, completely insane.

I want to be clear that is emphatically not suggesting some mechanism via which decreased CO2 production in rich countries will lead to greater increases in poorer countries. Rather, he is just saying that since the level from poorer countries will increase irrelevant of the actions of the larger ones, the larger ones should do nothing. Here's a similar argument: The murder rate is going to up in small town X. Therefore, noone should be concerned about their murder rate. The only way Samuelson can save his argument is if any level of CO2 production above some threshold is equally harmful. But he doesn't suggest this and it is, as far as I know, false.