Bill McKibben in the Christian Science Monitor:
Earlier this month, a draft White House report was leaked to news outlets. The report, a year overdue to the United Nations, said that the United States would be producing almost 20 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it had in 2000 and that the US contribution to global warming would be going up steadily, not sharply and steadily down, as scientists have made clear it must.
That’s a pretty stunning piece of information – a hundred times more important than, say, the jittery Dow Jones Industrial Average that garnered a hundred times the attention. How is it even possible? How, faced with the largest crisis humans have yet created for themselves, have we simply continued with business as usual?
The answer is, in a sense, all in our minds. For the past century, American society’s basic drive has been toward more – toward a bigger national economy, toward more stuff for consumers. And it’s worked. Our economy is enormous; our houses are enormous. We are (many of us quite literally) living large. All that “more” is created using cheap energy and hence built on carbon dioxide – which makes up 72 percent of all greenhouse gases.