Wednesday, September 5, 2012

'Jeffrey Sachs' responds to 'Dan Bloom's' oped attack on his climate motives

'Jeffrey Sachs' responds to 'Dan Bloom's' oped attack on his climate motives

by "Jeffrey Sachs"

I appreciate your oped about climate change the other day in the Taipei Times, ''Dan Bloom'', if that is really your name, where you took issue with me and Jeffrey Sachs. You made some good points, but let me just say this, Dan: Give in to optimism, not apathy. Your approach is all doomsay, gloom and doom, may I say Bloom and gloom?


It is easy to get carried away with doomsday scenarios. Right now, the world’s economy is shaky, conflict is spreading throughout the Middle East, food prices are rising and the climate is changing rapidly. There are many reasons to be scared.

That is precisely why people should avoid buying into the belief that the world is doomed, that people have no hope and that we might as well give up.

Yes, things are bad. Yes, they might get worse, but people will live on, they will adapt and they will get stronger — if they do not give up.

Climate change is an even bigger issue than the economy or conflict. At this point, it no longer matters what is causing climate change — climate change affects our lives in myriad ways every day, whether it is man-made or natural. It is devastating food yields, increasing disease, playing havoc on the weather and thus killing people and causing billions of dollars in damage. Climate change is real, and it is dangerous.

Many countires are in a unique position to manufacture the tools needed to combat climate change or adapt to it. Although the solar sector is struggling everywhere, with massive government help it could be revolutionized in China, India, the USA and Britain. The same goes for wind turbines and other energy-saving devices such as bicycles and mass-storage batteries.

Are we facing the end of the world? It is only the end of the world if people believe so and give up trying to do something about the changes shaping global society. Hopefully, those who are willing to struggle on will outweigh those who want to give in to apathy.

Your oped, Bloom, was good and sharp and to the point. I don't mind you attacking me for being rich and making oodles of money from my climate change lectures and books. Hey, a man's gotta eat, right? So what if I'm in the one percent? I worked hard to get here, mensch! However, I think it is important that we refrain from hysteria when talking of climate change. Hysteria breeds irrationality. At the same time we should not rest on our laurels. Yes, action is required but in order to have the general populace onboard, the rhetoric needs to be careful. Humankind will always revolt against fear-mongering.

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