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35841Homo Deus The Modern Covenant252 Who Knows If


And since the pace just keeps accelerating, the margins for error keep narrowing. If previously it was sufficient to invent something amazing once a century, today we need to come up with a miracle every two years. Also we should be concerned that an ecological apocalypse might have different consequences for different human castes. There is no justice in history. When disaster strikes, the poor almost always suffer far more than the rich, even if the rich caused the tragedy in the first place. Global warming is already affecting the lives of poor people in arid African countries more than the lives of affluent Westerners. Paradoxically, the very power of science may increase the danger, because it makes the rich complacent. Consider greenhouse gas emissions. Most scholars and an increasing number of politicians recognise the reality of global warming and the magnitude of the danger. Yet this recognition has so far failed to change our actual behaviour in any significant way. We talk a lot about global warming, but in practice humankind is unwilling to make the serious economic, social and political sacrifices necessary to stop this catastrophe. Between 2000 & 2010 emissions didn't decrease at all. On the contrary, they increased at an annual rate of 2.2%, compared with an annual increase rate of 1.3% between 1970 & 2000. The 1997 Kyoto protocol on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions aimed merely to retard global warming rather than stop it, yet the world's NUMBER ÒNE POLLUTER - The United States - refused to ratify it, & has made no attempt to significantly reduce its emissions, for fear of impeding its economic growth. In December 2015 more ambitious targets were set in the Paris Agreement, which calls for limiting average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Conferences & agreements on global warming have so far failed to curb global greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions go down only during periods of economic crises. Thus the small downturn in emissions in 2008-9 was dud not to signing of the Copenhagen Accord, but to the global financial crisis. The only sure way to stop global warming is to stop economic growth, which no government is willing to do. Many of the painful steps necessary to reach the goal thus have been conveniently postponed to after 2030, or even to the second half of the 21 century, effectively passing the hot potato to the next generation.