Patience Is a Virtue

It’s gotten to the point that no one can agree on anything. It’s widely reported that ninety-five percent of climate scientists affirm that mankind is the cause of climate change. Yet, 31% of Americans still don’t think humans are responsible. Only 27% of Americans believe that 95% of climate scientists think that humans are responsible. How will we ever be able to agree on the facts?

Maybe climate change needs a rebranding. Could whoever got smoking cigarettes to be “cool” make climate change uncool? I don’t know. Could shorter showers and a low flow valve ever seem cool? Maybe if this was country a country full of nerds. What about appealing to our better angels? Could living more sustainably ever be the equivalent of giving up your seat to an old lady on the bus? I still see a lot of old ladies standing on the bus.

My friend’s mother-in-law once asked me, Why worry about climate change if we’re all going to be dead anyway? Questions like these make me think it would be better to drop the whole thing and start over.

Break it down. Selling milk in bags is more sustainable than selling it in cartons. Do people buy milk in bags because they want to be more environmentally friendly? I doubt it. Buying milk in bags is cheaper and it’s available. Do people use coal power because they like burning polluting, non-renewable fossil fuels? Probably some, who are jerks. But most people do it because it’s cheap and available. People don’t buy Teslas because they want to offset climate change.

The key to reducing mankind’s negative effect on the climate might be patience. Money is pouring into renewables like wind and solar energy. In many places, you can put solar cells on your roof for no upfront cost and pay a lower energy bill than if you were relying on the grid. As renewables gain traction due to their lower marginal cost, oil and coal will lose economies of scale and become more expensive. It’s just a matter of time before the technology is there. Hopefully it’s not too late.

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