"These campaigns are bewildering until we remember that resisting environmental regulations, including energy efficiency measures, has become a sign of red-blooded faith in the prevailing system, the particular conservative construction of the American way of life. The ideological framing of environmentally benign technology has a long history in the United States. When Sherwood Rowland, the American chemist who would share the 1995 Nobel Prize with Paul Crutzen, advocated a ban on ozone-destroying consumer products, the aerosol spray-can industry suggested he was a KGB agent bent on destroying capitalism. While renewable energy industries in the United States face constant political attacks, in China investment in green technologies is surging. It would be a paradox of history if it turned out that democracy in America had become so dysfunctional that it could be held hostage by an anti-environmental minority while a totalitarian government in China took decisive action on the threat of global warming, and in the process assumed the mantle of world leadership in which an emergent ‘Chinese way of life’ proved superior to its American counterpart.
Even so, it seems clear that the United States is at a stage in its history where it is having difficulty making good decisions in its own long-term interests, let alone those of the the rest of the world. The era in which judgements must be made about geoengineering has begun; within two or three decades a momentous choice will need to be made about deployment of Earth-changing technologies. Although the United States is not short of intelligent, thoughtful and deeply concerned people, from today’s vantage point it is hard to see it regaining enough political composure to be able to reflect carefully on the implications of doing so."
-- Clive Hamilton, Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering
Monday, June 03, 2013
A Paradox of History?
Posted by David Appell at 6/03/2013 09:46:00 AM