In the British Newspaper The Guardian on Monday, George Monbiot, an author who is not scared to evoke the less than favourable outcomes that await the human race should it continue on its current mission of unfettered, resource driven expansion, really got down to the brass tacks in his op-ed. The two figures he uses which are the cause of all the urgency now would be the 2 degree increase we could expect to see if we guzzle 60% of the remaining coal and petroleum left on earth.
But the group of people blocking the negotiations at Copenhagen, led by the neo-conservative movement in North America beholden to Petroleum interests, has effectively discarded a concept which mankind innately followed as long as money has been in its systems: Fiscal responsibility. It was this disregard for hard numbers that allowed George W. Bush to start two wars without raising taxes, a first in American History, as Thomas Friedman notes in the revised first two chapters of his book "Hot, Flat and Crowded, which he put up on PDF form in his column.
This is why when guys like Bush and Harper look at the earth, whose resources are lets say in a bank account with x number of dollars in it, they see no reason not to binge. Because while masquerading as "conservatives" they really are anarchists, who let expenditures rise but refuse to ever pay for them with tax increases. Where will the money come from? "economic growth."? And if it doesn't? Well, you just print the value of the entire economy, just like the U.S. Treasury did last fall. Big firms in trouble? Bail them out.
Because the beautiful thing about money is it isn't real, or at least, it isn't really for governments and corporations. It's real for you when your overdraft and credit cards are maxed. But even you can get out of paying by declaring bankruptcy. But Humanity cannot get out of paying the price for its resources visa bill. And I'd say the politicians holding that resources credit card right now are about as responsible as a guy who'd been homeless his whole life would be if you gave him a 50k platinum amex