Life A Must, Must Read
posted by April 16 at 10:30 AMon
Whatever you think of Thomas Friedman, his piece on the geopolitics of climate change in the recent New York Times Sunday Magazine is tremendously important and well done, and should be read widely.
If you know anything about the problems of dealing with global climate change, you understand that they are primarily financial and political—but mostly financial.
The scientific “debate” is a distraction. The question is not whether global warming is happening and will cause catastrophic problems in the future if left unchecked. That question has been settled. It is, and it will. The real question now is: How do we make the switch to clean energy without having a seriously negative impact on the economies of both the developed and developing worlds?
Friedman answers that question in this piece and, most powerfully, he does so in a way that is comprehensible to people without advanced degrees in economics, international politics, or science.
This essay could be for the political class what An Inconvenient Truth was for the journalistic class: A way to move away from old, phony debates and toward real issues of importance.
And, while An Inconvenient Truth was mainly a warning and a call to action, Friedman’s piece provides politicians of both parties with an actual blueprint for action and a very pro-American way of framing the steps that will need to be taken to save our “way of life.”
Read it now. And then watch to see if politicians—especially the presidential candidates, who Friedman brutally calls on the carpet in this piece—start changing their talking points on global warming:
We need a Green New Deal… Bush won’t lead a Green New Deal, but his successor must if America is going to maintain its leadership and living standard. Unfortunately, today’s presidential hopefuls are largely full of hot air on the climate-energy issue. Not one of them is proposing anything hard, like a carbon or gasoline tax, and if you think we can deal with these huge problems without asking the American people to do anything hard, you’re a fool or a fraud.
Being serious starts with reframing the whole issue — helping Americans understand, as the Carnegie Fellow David Rothkopf puts it, “that we’re not ‘post-Cold War’ anymore — we’re pre-something totally new.” I’d say we’re in the “pre-climate war era.” Unless we create a more carbon-free world, we will not preserve the free world. Intensifying climate change, energy wars and petroauthoritarianism will curtail our life choices and our children’s opportunities every bit as much as Communism once did for half the planet.
Equally important, presidential candidates need to help Americans understand that green is not about cutting back. It’s about creating a new cornucopia of abundance for the next generation by inventing a whole new industry. It’s about getting our best brains out of hedge funds and into innovations that will not only give us the clean-power industrial assets to preserve our American dream but also give us the technologies that billions of others need to realize their own dreams without destroying the planet. It’s about making America safer by breaking our addiction to a fuel that is powering regimes deeply hostile to our values. And, finally, it’s about making America the global environmental leader, instead of laggard.