Saturday, January 26, 2013

Is the Future "Bleak?"

An editorial in the Washington Post by World Bank president Jim Yong Kim means well -- but unfortunately he writes sentences like this:
If there is no action soon, the future will become bleak.
First of all, who really believes the World Bank does anything but represent the interests of the status quo? And the status quo means fossil fuels....

But more to the point, there is no sharp transition where before it the future is sunny, and after it the future is "bleak." It's a continuum, as far as anyone really knows (no, "tipping points" are a very vague science with little to substantiate them. They may be out there, but no one knows where or when.)

I have on my book shelf a book titled Seven Years to Save the Planet: The Questions and Answers, by Bill McGuire.

It was published in 2008. Do I really think that after 2015 comes and goes -- 2+ years from now -- it will all be too late, that the planet will not be salvagable at that point?

No, I don't. Equally, I do not think Jim Yong Kim knows that the future will be "bleak" if we don't act "soon."

We should act soon, but it's very likely we will not. That will be problematic, but the worst thing we can to is tell today's children that their teens and 20s and 30s will be "bleak" because we didn't act by 2015.

The world isn't going to collapse anytime soon, people will get by as they have always found a way to get by, limping and bitching all the way, probably with even more problems than their parents and grandparents, but then there seems no end of problems even if climate change wasn't happening.... but labeling the future "bleak" is false, wrong, and most of all, useless. Because we all have to live there whether we like it or not.

No comments: