Global warming is the greatest danger facing mankind

Posted on 19th September 2017

Slane Castle

I don’t know whether it’s my imagination but I have a feeling during heavy rain showers the rain drops are getting heavier.  In any event, like most sensible people, I am convinced that global warming is the greatest danger facing mankind.  Of course, you can’t lay the blame for Hurricane Irma at the door of climate change but what you can say is that globally storms are rising in their frequency and intensity.  How singularly depressing it is then for Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s appointee as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to announce that it is “insensitive” to discuss climate change in such close proximity to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  This man is an idiot.  As for the President of the United States, well you would have thought with his emporium Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, he would have got the message.  Then the Donald, as we all know, has a real problem dealing with the truth.  It started with the size of the crowd at his inauguration and it has been downhill ever since.

By nature I have always been a believer in the markets but in certain respects governments must and should intervene.  I could summarise it by what a former British Prime Minister, Ted Heath, called “the unacceptable face of capitalism”.  I was not a fan of Ted but this phrase has stuck with me.  Let me explain its relevance.  Normally in business you have to face the consequences of the decisions you make.  If you take too many wrong turns your endeavour goes bust.  However, if the consequences of your actions are far into the future, you may plough on regardless, escaping the costs of your mistakes.  This in a nutshell is what we are doing to the world.  The baby-boomers in particular are behaving as if there is no tomorrow and it is no exaggeration to say are threatening the future of our species.  Alarmist you might say, but I think not.

Let me take another example.  Why in God’s name do governments allow the building of large settlements on flood plains ?   Then, even more bizarrely, they subsidise insurance cover for property owners to live there.

I cite this as merely a small example of a great lunacy – growth without consequences.  The great delusion of the 21st century.  We do not see it in the constant expansion of air travel, the extraordinary explosion of the use of plastic, the belching of fumes into the atmosphere.  I plead guilty and yet I feel helpless in challenging it.  We need visionaries to conquer this.  People like Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, not a property developer called Donald Trump.

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