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The Illusion of Saving the World

The Illusion of Saving the World

Old power plant, West Linn, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

At the end of this month, as you probably know by now, an extraordinary hoopla event will descend on Manhattan in the form of a “Climate Action Summit,” summoned by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to get the nations of the world finally to take seriously the threat of “global warming” and pledge to actually take serious action to save the world from catastrophe.

The chances of that happening are nil.

Oh, yes there will be speeches and promises. Under increasing pressure from alarmed citizens, led by the enlightened youth of the world who know they will be the primary victims of the coming environmental disaster, most national leaders will toss around ideas like carbon taxes, bans on coal mining and nuclear energy, building “retrofitting,” renewable solar fuels, carbon dioxide entrapment, and “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions. Some will be willing to start doing something about one or another, while simultaneously asking for somebody else to pay for the astronomic costs.

But the whole thing is an illusion. The problem is too big, the solutions too imperfect, and the timing, even if everything got fixed in a decade, is too late.

Most scientists believe, with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that if the earth’s temperature should increase by 2 degrees Celsius (35.6 degrees Farenheit) the rise in sea levels would engulf 280 million people, earthquakes could wipe out 17.6 million, and subsequent droughts and famines would like result in another 231 million, not to mention uncontrolled worldwide migrations, the collapse of many fragile states, and the threat of civil disorder throughout the developed world.

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