Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wanted: A Climate Bailout

"The problem is, once climate change begins, it cannot simply be turned off. The inertia of the climate system ensures that even if every country in the world went green as quickly as possible, the earth would still be locked into fifty more years of rising temperatures and the impacts they unleash."

By Mark Hertsgaard from The Nation

What a difference an emergency makes. Scare people enough and $700 billion can materialize almost overnight. The White House can repudiate its core economic philosophy--government should leave markets alone--within hours. Congress, where spending bills sometimes wait years to reach the floor, can pass one of the costliest laws in its history within days. Even the endlessly fickle media can provide 24/7 news coverage, making the emergency the topic on everyone's mind.
When will we see this same sense of urgency devoted to the greatest emergency of our time? You wouldn't know it from our politicians or TV shows, but the climate crisis is even more serious than the financial crisis. The financial crisis, while painful and severe, can be resolved, given time and wise policies. The climate crisis, not so. The earth's climate system has tipping points beyond which no return is possible. Yet there is a very real danger right now that sliding oil prices will lull the public into an even deeper complacency.
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