The U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen is now studying a draft agreement that would greatly reduce the world's manmade carbon emissions in the next forty years. The draft says all emissions in 2050 would total only 50% of the 1990 emissions level. Currently the world far exceeds the 1990 level and our carbon emissions are growing, not declining.
If such an agreement were to be reached, it would certainly behoove all fossil fuel producers and users to burn it up as fast as possible. I believe the appropriate folk saying is, "get while the getting is good." It's clearly a fundamental rule in economics.
This current draft proposal avoids the contentious issue of who pays whom. And it would clearly have a huge effect on major air polluters like the US, Europe, India, Russia and China. It would require enormous infrastructure and economic change. It would have not so much effect on Barbados or Tuvalu.
This draft proposal is far from popular in Copenhagen. African nations resent the fact that no money for them is included. Japan resents the fact that the proposal has no specific cuts mandated for China and US, the league leaders in greenhouse gas emissions. Even corporate exeuctives, holding their own separate summit near Copenhagen failed to reach any agreement on their position vis-a-vis global warming. Can you imagine Exxon and Google agreeing on much of anything besides lower taxes?