Sunday, November 10, 2013

Soap Box: Climate Change

Alright, so you and I are in a room. A small, empty room. It's a room with only one way in and out but to get out you have to pay a toll. It's not cheap so you really have to want to get out.

So you're standing there at one corner of the room, beside the toll booth and the door and I'm over here in the opposite corner. And I have a machete. A big machete I'm going to use to hack your leg off. It's going to be painful. You're going to be crippled. There's nothing you can do to stop me or slow me down. I'm coming and your leg is mine. The only thing you can do is pay to leave the room.

But then you start to think maybe I don't have a machete after all. Sure it looks like I have one and I've told you I have one but maybe it's an illusion. Or worse, maybe it's a scam between me and the toll booth guy. Or maybe the machete is blunt. It looks a bit rusty, after all. Yeah, that must be it. It's a real machete and I am coming for you but at most it'll be a little inconvenient or leave a small bruise.

On the other hand you might be wrong. And if you are wrong, you save some money but you've lost your leg. Your leg is gone and you are never getting it back. Assuming you don't die a painful and agonising death from having your leg hacked off, you've got to drag yourself to the hospital. Bad news is, as I said, this is an empty room. There's a hospital that might be able to save you outside the room but you've got to pay to get through that toll booth.

Oh yeah, and it's not a free medical service, either. You want to live, you've got to pay. So now you're not just paying the toll to get out of the room, you're paying a whole lot more for life saving treatment because I just hacked your leg off. And there's no guarantee you live. It could well be all over for you even when you get to the hospital, no matter how much you spend.

Alright. But as we've said, it might not come to that. Maybe you feel lucky. Maybe you want to play the odds. I'm afraid I got some bad news for you. Remember how I said the room was small? Well it used to be bigger. Seventy years ago it was a pretty big room but it's been getting small. It's going to keep shrinking, too. Even if I don't actually hurt you, you are going to have to pay to get out of this room eventually because it's only a matter of time before you don't fit in here, anyway.

You're going to have to leave the room eventually. You're going to have to pay the toll. Not paying that toll isn't an option. You do it now or you do it later. So do you want to pay it now or is this room really worth wagering your money on? How about your life?

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