“We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our children”


07 Nov 2009

In Thomas Friedman’s New York Times column “The Great Disruption”, he quotes Joseph Romm, a physicist, climate expert, and former energy official in the Clinton administration, talking about accelerating economic growth over the past several decades, powered by fossil fuels:

“We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our children,” said Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert who writes the indispensable blog climateprogress.org.

We have been getting rich by depleting all our natural stocks – water, hydrocarbons, forests, rivers, fish and arable land – and not by generating renewable flows.

“You can get this burst of wealth that we have created from this rapacious behavior,” added Romm. “But it has to collapse, unless adults stand up and say, ‘This is a Ponzi scheme. We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate …’ Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy.”

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] “We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our child… as one expert puts it. As another expert says, we have no choice: “business-as-usual … is not an option.” […]

  2. […] an earlier post, I pulled from a Thomas Friedman column a quote from Romm on this idea, so I was happy to run […]

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bookshelf

books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
Zeitoun
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World


Mason's favorite books »

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