The trouble is we can’t be sure it won’t be catastrophic and the planet has no emergency exits.
We can’t be sure that it will be catastrophic. That is what makes a good part of the hoopla (not all - but a good part of it) a sham. We are presented with worst-case scenarios, with Boston underwater (the usual imagery shows Manhattan being swamped by a tidal wave a hundred feet high - total nonsense), with global crop failures and no more fish in the ocean and blah, blah, blah. None of these catastrophic predictions are based in anything but fear-mongering.
On the other hand, there are huge lobbies to tell us that deregulation is the best thing since indoor plumbing (it is not - it is a real catastrophe, and not one in the future), we have pig farms dumping millions of gallons of excrement into rivers, power plants belching out pollutants that have catastrophic effects now, not in fifty or a hundred years, more varieties of toxic waste than there are of end products, and so on. All these things are problems now. But it is easier to get people to worry about the end of the world in fifty years than it is to get them to worry about what they do today that makes life more dangerous, that increases incidences of diseases - that create conditions where people starve amid food and their fields wither because of politics and they can’t get simple, cheap medication because of institutionalized poverty, which itself produces ecological disasters because the poor can’t afford to prevent them.
Maybe in 100 years, the seas will have risen by a foot, or two feet, or five feet. In the meantime, how many public water supplies in the third world are filthy now, and likely to be filthier when they are privatized? How many people suffer now because of things much more easily changed than the level of CO2 in the atmosphere? How many ecological disasters are happening now that don’t have anything to do with cute fuzzy animals, or whales, or the lovely forests of nature shows?
All this global warming hysteria is a nice way to get people thinking that they’re saving the planet by reducing their carbon footprint or some such catch phrase, when nearly everything they do and avoid doing (most of which they hardly know about) actually contributes to the misery and deaths of millions upon millions of people who can be helped now.
A case study: There is a water plant in India that is state of the art, and produces enough clean drinking water for a city (I think this was in Delhi). But, like all water delivery systems, the delivery pipes are old and leaky. The city is too poor to afford to keep the pumps going 24 hours a day, and when the pumps are off, the pressure differential reverses and raw sewage leaking from the sewage system is forced into the clean drinking water. So, poverty - and not much of a deficit - causes a clean water supply to become dirty, and a huge portion of the population to be constantly sick, thereby affecting life directly and harmfully. The solution? Certainly not funding more pumping. Certainly not funding the replacement of leaky pipes. The solution is to give the end users filters to clean the water - filters that need replacing. That is the kind of sustainability that the IMF and IBRD and UN foster.
Anyways, sorry for the rant, but when I hear anyone going on about the impending ecological apocalypse, I wonder how many people had to die today because they don’t have clean water, or even basic health care and medications, or proper food, or a veto at the UN. Priorities seem skewed. It’s like a man whose house is on fire worrying about a crack in the foundation.