Vaclav Smil downplaying climate change relative to economic stress in terms of near-term global problems. In case you though that might make you feel better, trust me, it won’t.
…I see [global warming] as very secondary compared to the already unfolding Great Unraveling, with all rich economies in chronic downfalls that will last and last (real U.S. unemployment already 20%, debt at $14 trillion is trivial compared to $114 trillion of uncovered obligations, all E.U. save for Germany is collapsing etc., etc.). The only sensible way out of it is to tax and tax and that will kill the economies even more in the medium-run, and combine it with aging and China and terrorism (by my estimate bin Ladin has, so far, cost the U.S. at least $6 trillion and counting) — and soon there will be no monies for anything beyond basic survival.
I agree, mostly, but what’s worth emphasizing here is that those domestic obligations, unlike some of the other problems we bipedal apes face, like our tendency to foul our own nest, or like interlocking sovereign debts, can be eliminated with a policy change. Alter entitlement rules, say, and those unfunded liabilities change radically. Granted, easier said than done, but these are arguably different classes of problems.