A reader writes in bafflement:
William, I just can’t tell, through what seems to be all the increasing cynicism (you also seem to be going a tad CAish), what you position wrt anthro climate change (how much, why, and what we should do) and the other changes wrought by us is anymore. On a slightly different but linked tack, is your party still your party? Or are you beggining to think like a sceptic that now we’ve done the first two (it’s not happening, it is happening) that it’s now too late and we might just as well go full speed and wreck the place but have some good old hedonistic fun in the process? I’m, as I say, really not entirely sure what you think anymore.
Oh dear. Yes I am feeling rather more cynical, but on the main science my opinions are much the same: I wrote in 2004 and its still fine. And no, its still not too late to do something about it.
What I’ve become much more cynical about is the chance of people deciding to do something about it. There are some small scale signs of progress, but overall the impression is, oddly enough, that given the chance most people will go for cash-and-consumption now and hope someone else will fix the problems later. And of course, we have many environmental problems other than global warming. In the UK, and around Cambridge, we have too many cars. Unlike GW, this is a problem that definitely impacts people now and degrades their quality of life. And the main response is to widen the roads to accomodate more cars, because the impact seen by the planners is the economic impact of traffic jams. The environmental impact of pervasive noise pollution and a degraded landscape appears to be invisible by comparison.