Wednesday, November 21, 2018
When It Comes to Climate Change Fixes, Remember This
There are two faces to the climate change issue. One is science. The other is politics. Rarely does the second comport with the first, especially on the thorny problem of what must be done to protect life on Earth from horrific outcomes up to and including mass extinction.
Otto von Bismark touched on the problem when he said that, "The art of politics is art of the possible, the attainable - the art of the next best." That's all well and good when it comes to democratic governance where compromise is vital. It is not good when dealing with national emergencies, existential threats. Politics must rise above this when a clear, powerful and emerging catastrophe looms.
Think of a nation being attacked and its political leadership deciding their armed forces will fight back on the second and fourth week of every month. How do you think that turns out? Military crises require military solutions. Scientific crises require scientific solutions.
We need the political caste to carry the fight against climate change, to defend the future for our grandchildren, but they're not doing it. They serve a competing priority, the economy. They don't want to do anything that "might" impair their quest for perpetual, exponential growth - not for a second recognizing that this pursuit is a major contributing cause of the overall climate change threat. They refuse to acknowledge that, if they can't find ways to shrink the economy within the finite limits of the environment, we'll wind up without a decent economy of any sort. We exist within a fairly thin biosphere that defines the environment and prescribes the limits of mankind's global economy. We're way outside that already, effectively out of bounds when it comes to the survival of our civilization.
On this most critical issue, "the art of the possible" is not nearly enough.