• Ian Sutton

After Alarmism

Credit: Pexel

Just after publishing this week’s blog post Good Business I ran across the following article by David Wallace-Wells: After Alarmism. The war on climate denial has been won. And that’s not the only good news (paywall).

Wallace-Wells published an article in the year 2017 in the New York Magazine entitled The Uninhabitable Earth. The article caused quite a stir because it did not pull any punches. It started with the following words,

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today . . . Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

The message becomes more somber from that point forward.

The pictures that accompanied the article drove home the point.

Credit: New York Magazine

Wallace-Wells’ latest article suggests, however, that that there are flickers of hope; that we may not be doomed. He detects the same shift in sentiment among governments and international bodies that I see with large corporations, including energy and oil companies. They recognize that they will have to react to climate change; and some will recognize that the situation provides an opportunity to become a business leader.

Whether these observations to do with a reformed future bear fruit remains to be seen. The chart below shows the impact that previous good intentions have had on the inexorable rise of the Keeling Curve.

And let’s not forget that it took us over 300 years to develop our current industrial infrastructure, one that is founded on carbon-based fuels. We are now talking about totally transforming that infrastructure in just 29 years.

It pays to remain cautious.

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