To the Editor,
Re: Few people talking about global warming, Letters, May 26.
Many experts believe the root problem confronting effective global climate action is the perception that economic growth and climate action are mutually exclusive and that economic sustainability means environmental tradeoffs.
A 2009 Economist poll determined $175/year/household was the American tipping point where public opposition would outweigh support for a climate bill and at $770/year/household, opposition would increase to 80 per cent.
As the economic crash of 2008 drew public attention to the economy, there was a correlative proportionate reduction in concern about global warming and public polarization around economics versus environment; an abstraction when one considers that long-term there will be no economy without environmental sustainability.
The reason climate action is mired goes beyond the magnitude of the problem, lagging technology, limited energy alternatives to fossil fuels, wide-ranging anthropogenic climate influences and ineffective climate policies.
It is because we have not figured out how to make climate goals compatible with economic goals that were shaped by a 1944 economic summit that created our current global energy driven model.
Children of that summit, Boomers, were born to self-indulgent consumerism required to drive this new model and it required resource extraction and energy.
Our sad legacy is an overpopulated overheating polluted planet, undergoing ecosystems and species extinctions, with not enough food for its occupants, short of fresh water, laden with unprecedented debt all woven into an unsustainable economic system that is destroying the very environment that created it.
Droughts, floods, extreme storms, killing heat waves, glacial melting and desertification are the start of what is to come as we add to the 800 billion tons of atmospheric CO2 that bears the unique carbon 13 to carbon 12 ratios of burned fossil fuels.
At our peril we can continue to delude ourselves we did not cause this.