Super Cities №124 - As The World Burns (Literally)

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

The World is Literally Burning

“In 2006–16, as Asia’s emerging economies forged ahead, their energy consumption rose by 40% … Western countries grew wealthy on a carbon-heavy diet of industrial development.”

Hart’s Comment

Climate change is dangerous because people, with acute needs and rigid ideologies, are short-term thinkers.

It is difficult for most people to connect the Industrial Revolution to current GDP and productivity growth to future climate-caused events.

No matter.

There is a moderate to likely chance that, during the lifetimes of those reading this essay, the earth will suffer irreparable damage from climate change.

When that happens — as it now seems to be — we cannot say that we were not warned.

Climate change is so complex because everyone contributes to it. It is cross-sector and cross-border. Its solutions have elements of science, technology, public policy, business concerns, and human behavior.

With ~80% of global emissions and two-thirds of people, cities are especially responsible for and at-risk of climate change.

As I’ve mentioned before, cities are making directional progress in this fight.

The question is whether our social media-addicted brains can focus on a global, complex, multi-generational problem.

I doubt it.