by Mike Meyer
What choice do we have? America is caught in two entangled problems that, even individually, feel impossible to solve. Together they are nearly unimaginable for many people yet they must be overcome.
Fortunately they are not impossible to solve physically or even politically. The knowledge and the tools are available and much work has already been done. But to plan and implement a solution requires abandonment of much of what we have relied on historically to manage ourselves and meet our past challenges.
The difficulty, as if the previous was not enough, is the entanglement. This is the result of complex historical layers of cause and effect that have distorted our best intentions to build a fair, just, and moral world. While one is the largest physical challenge we have ever faced the other requires that we act on long held ideals that we have become complacent with disregarding.
The dilemma is that we either deny the future or abandon the past. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. And we cannot simply wait and see what happens.
The larger problem is obviously climate change. We have thoughtlessly altered our atmosphere over the last two hundred years and massively in the last seventy-five years triggering global warming unseen in recent geological time.
We are currently at one degree C of warming generating a growing range of local disasters ranging from storms, full hurricanes, drought, and fires. The larger implications of this are an increase estimated at 25% in the gap between wealthy northern countries, the wealthiest, and tropical countries, the poorest.
This is the pattern that will continue. The poorest populations that were least responsible for global carbon emissions will bear the greatest burden in climate disasters. The most northern countries such as Russia and Canada will initially benefit with longer growing seasons and improved climates. Later they will pay the price also.
The direct and unfair impact of initial climate change is an excellent transition to the second problem that is the political failure in the richest country most responsible for climate change. That problem is the…