Chatting of the Climate

The rhetoric of Paul  Krugman and the climate change hawks … how it takes me back …

It was the summer of 2007, scorching temperatures across the nation, even in West Los Angeles. I enjoyed an air-conditioned respite in my neighborhood Peet’s Coffee. A friend of mine sat next to me, read from the New York Times and leaned toward me every so often, shaking his anxious head, repeating, “It’s global warming.”

In those days, pretty much anything unwanted, including a hot summer day, was blamed on ‘global warming’ – since ‘climate change’ hadn’t been invented yet. I paused from my LA Weekly, leaned toward my friend and asked, “How much time do you think we still have, really, before it’s too late to save the planet? And ourselves?” He considered my query for a good while.

“Ten years,” he told me, with a straight face.

“Well then,” I replied, “We’re doomed.”

“God, I hope not.”

“Think about it. Even if we all devote ourselves to switching from fossil fuels to some cleaner form of energy, I mean real devotion, that’s an admirable goal. But that’s a huge transition. It would take decades to occur, at least, what, half a century? Maybe longer?”

He looked back at me like he might cry. And there really was nowhere for the discussion to go. I felt bad for my friend, and leaned toward him again.

“So, seen any good movies lately?”

After all, nothing like a bit of escapism to get one through the day.

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