As the world's leaders all agree that they must all agree, it might not be a bad thing to wait a few more months for another summit.
Cast your minds back to a decade ago when the big threat to mankind was a global virus.
The millennium bug that was going to cripple our economies and lose all our money,crash our planes or end all texts forever was coming. The hysteria was reaching climate change proportions and the anticipated costs were even higher.
Wikipedia has the just the USA's costs for preparing for the bug at an estimated THREE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS. If that were true, that would be double the global cost of the current climate change deal estimated at $150bn.
Some articles claim the worldwide cost was more Dr Evil in proportions. ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. About the same cost as the Vietnam war. Some even go up to two trillion dollars.
There is no conclusive evidence that there was any threat from the bug, or anything that was done to prevent it or any money spent , did anything at all. The whole thing may have been a giant hoax.
Supporters of all the money spent say hey it worked. We fixed everything so the world didn't end.
This view holds that the vast majority of problems had been fixed correctly, and the money was well spent. The situation was essentially one of pre-emptive alarm. Those who hold this view claim that the lack of problems at the date change reflect the completeness of the project, and that many computer applications would not have continued to function into the 21st century without correction or remediation.
Others have claimed that there were no, or very few, critical problems to begin with, and that correcting the few minor mistakes as they occurred (the 'fix on failure' approach) would have been the most efficient and cost effective way to solve the problem. Editorial writing in the Wall Street Journal called Y2K an end-of-the-world cult and the hoax of the century. The opposing view was bolstered by a number of observations.
- The lack of Y2K-related problems in schools, many of which undertook little or no remediation effort. By September 1, 1999 only 28 percent of US schools had achieved compliance for mission critical systems, and a government report predicted that "Y2K failures could very well plague the computers used by schools to manage payrolls, student records, online curricula, and building safety systems"
- The lack of Y2K-related problems in an estimated 1.5 million small businesses that undertook no remediation effort. On 3 January 2000 (the first weekday of the year) the Small Business Administration received an estimated 40 calls from businesses with computer problems, similar to the average. None of the problems were critical.
- The lack of Y2K-related problems in countries such as Italy, which undertook a far more limited remediation effort than the United States. In an October 22, 1999, report, a US Senate Committee expressed concern about safe travel outside of the United States. The report stated that overseas public transit systems were considered vulnerable because many did not have an aggressive response plan in place for any problems. Internationally, the report singled out Italy, China and Russia as poorly prepared. The Australian government evacuated all but three embassy staff from Russia. None of these countries experienced any Y2K problems regarded as worth reporting.
- The absence of Y2K-related problems occurring before January 1, 2000, even though the 2000 financial year commenced in 1999 in many jurisdictions, and a wide range of forward-looking calculations involved dates in 2000 and later years. Estimates undertaken in the leadup to 2000 suggested that around 25% of all problems should have occurred before 2000. Critics of large-scale remediation argued, during 1999, that the absence of significant problems, even in systems that had not been rendered compliant, suggested that the scale of the problem had been severely overestimated.
So, possibly twice the cost of saving the world was spent in the USA to prevent global meltdown, when there may have been no threat at all, or the threat fixed itself.
Was there scientific consensus on Y2K? Were there believers and deniers? Governments believed, especially the west. Computer companies believed, and profited from that belief. The media created a global panic and went overboard on the story with ever more doom laden stories. Does all this have a familiar ring to it?
Anyway, the good news. We forgot all about it about 2 hours after all those journos got locked out of the Dome on New years eve, and never mentioned it again until now.