The “fiscal cliff” and the climate cliff: Tom Toles

A month ago the environmental Time reporter Bryan Walsh, commenting on Paul Krugman and the fiscal cliff, laid out the basic equivalence between these two crises, one manufactured, the other real: 

The fiscal crisis and global warming are
both, to put it bluntly, problems for tomorrow. Even if Congress can’t
come to an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff, the economy won’t
collapse immediately and the U.S. will still be able to borrow money,
just as climate change won’t render the world uninhabitable next year
the world can’t reduce carbon emissions overnight anyway. As a
society—and as a species—we tend not to be very good at addressing
problems of tomorrow, but in one very important respect, the climate
cliff and the fiscal cliff are very different. The Washington
establishment—including large chunks of both parties—is convinced that
something must be done now about the U.S.’s long-term fiscal problems, and a lot of Americans agree with them. They disagree on what to
do, but no serious politician would simply dismiss the threat of the
fiscal crisis. Yet Washington remains largely unmotivated on global
warming, despite growing evidence that we could be facing a truly frightening future. Why does one long-term problem scare us, and the other remain ignored?


Some of us wonder about this question too. 

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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