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Climate and motive

June 21, 2022

Punch_congo_rubber_cartoonI suspect historians a half-century from now, looking back on this generation’s political failure with regard to global warming, will highlight the role played by the Koch brothers and the Federalist Society. What is puzzling about the former is their motivation. Yes, their efforts to free their pollution from regulation likely gave a small bump in the upward trajectory of their vast wealth. But what is the marginal return on that, in personal satisfaction? Perhaps, like many modern people, they are nature blind, living so much inside, air-conditioned, that the state of what nature remains does not concern them. Perhaps they think it won’t concern their heirs. Perhaps the adulation of their employees and hangers-on make them think they will go down in history as heroes. Perhaps when money becomes the sole measure, it insulates an individual from everything else.

The cartoon depicts a wealthy despoiler from a previous century, Leopold II of Belgium, squeezing the Congo for his fortune. I suspect he was no more concerned with his contemporary critics than Charles Koch is today.

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