NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Progress never unfolds in a straight line. The colors and patterns of life, like tracking clouds from space, are too complex, too irregular, too imperfect to make sense much of the time. Once in awhile, though, a flawless aberration occurs, like the events last week in the United States and China.
Pope Francis arrived in Washington and New York to issue a call to action on climate change and an appeal to take much better care of the planet. Earth’s perilous condition soared to the top of the pyramid of public concerns.
Volkswagen, one of the largest industrial corporations on Earth, admitted to a potential corporate-collapsing fraud in the ecological performance of its diesel engines. The discovery, and the admission, that VW developed software that enabled its engines to detect emissions testing equipment and evade lawful limits for air pollutants illustrated just how seriously auto buyers and regulators take their responsibility to care for the planet.
As the week closed, China promised to develop a cap and trade program for reducing climate changing emissions; in effect a market-based strategy for starting to solve what Pope Francis called “a problem which can no longer be left to future generations.”
Though seemingly unconnected these events are linked in new ways. They are both irresistible and emblemmatic of the unyielding transition in economy and ecology occurring across the world with quickening and visible speed. What draws them together, what gives them coherence, are the converging and unrelenting global trends in natural resource supply and demand, and the effects of industrial damage, that more people and more of the world’s leaders finally recognize and are reacting to with the urgency that’s merited. Continue reading “Pope Francis Visit, VW Behavior, China Cap and Trade, and John Boehner — How They Coincide”