Machines And Technology

For climate systems at the local level, technological compliance with regulations has long been recognized as the consequence of human decision-making. Machines can be designed with more or less flexibility, which can also be described as having more or less compliance. As with judicial systems, technological processes and management systems are inseparable from machines and technology in determining compliance, and are also susceptible to compliance issues.

Compliance of a machine is the extension or displacement of a loaded structure per unit load. Originally conceived in mechanical terms, the concept of a load now includes energy loads, and in the emergent context of the internet, virtual loads. Regardless of the form of the load, extension or displacement occurs and constitutes compliance. If the climate system is understood as a closed system and a machine or a technological entity, and compliance is the extension or displacement of the atmosphere per unit load, the application of the principle of cause and effect leads from compliance to inescapable consequences. The cause of the compliance is of interest in relation to human decision-making if the intent is to vary the result. Because acquiescence can be compliance, acquiescence can also occur in the context of climate change.

Multiple meanings of compliance indicate a plurality and hence a possible conflict in contemporaneous compliance. For instance, the capacity of a human being or other species to remain in compliance within the laws of nature in a changing climate may be divergent from compliance with human laws. Such competing compliances would necessitate decision-making with consequences for the climate system and survival of the species. Specifically, if global warming occurs, and human beings comply with such climate changes by acquiescence, then the increase in the global mean temperature will lead to a point at which the survival of the species will be an issue.

Compliance in the context of climate change is not a singularity, but a plurality of compliances that may be contemporaneous and intersect, compete, or diverge at various points. Human decision-making and anthropogenic causes will have consequences in determining which compliance is to continue and which is to die. The complexity of compliance may be understood by its correspondence to the complexity of atmospheric modeling and contributory systems. Anthropogenic compliance is also complex, involving the various dimensions of human life, which will contribute directly or indirectly to changes in the climate system.

SEE ALSO: Climate Models; Climate Sensitivity and Feedbacks; Health; Kyoto Protocol; Technology.

BIBLIOGRAphY. Joel Boon, "Stemming the Tide of Patchwork Policies: The Case of E-Waste," Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems (v.15/2, 2006); Jutta Brunnee, "A Fine Balance: Facilitation and Enforcement in the Design of a Compliance Regime for the Kyoto Protocol," Tulane Environmental Law Journal (v.13/2, 2000); United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, www.unfccc.int (cited October 2007); D.G. Victor, "Enforcing International Law: Implications for an Effective Global Warming Regime," Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum (v.10/1, 1999).

Lester de Souza University of Toronto

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