Economists refer to pollution as an externality of production. Its cost is not captured in the price of the good produced. Instead, those who suffer the pollution pay with diminished quality of life. Capitalism has been an exuberant exercise in externalities, long tolerated by governments which could have put them in check. Now, the U.S. administration is about to show long overdue notice.
The Wicked Witch of the West has the climate report: “I’m melting. What a world….” The poles are liquefying faster than expected, because it has only recently dawned on scientists that the biosphere is a gyre. Up to now, climate models have not included feedback loops.
Extinction around the globe is accelerating. Local populations of different species are increasingly being wiped out. Humans have long facilitated the process with pollution and habitat loss. Now it’s not just high temperatures and drought, though those help the kill rate. The root problem is that the web of life is being torn apart.
Every survey of global warming brings an alarming appreciation of accelerating rate. The poles are particularly punked. Ice sheets are in serious retreat. This affects the weather far and wide.