In a challenging, well-wrought piece in the London Review of Books
, John Lanchester ruminates on the popular literature on global warming, including the IPCC's Fourth Assessment, and is moved to wonder why there haven't been any acts of terrorism connected to the issue.
Is it because the people who feel strongly about climate change are simply too nice, too educated, to do anything of the sort? (But terrorists are often highly educated.) Or is it that even the people who feel most strongly about climate change on some level can’t quite bring themselves to believe in it?
It's an uncomfortable framing of the question, suggesting as it does that terrorism is the only resort while also ignoring the fact that in the US, SUVs have in fact been torched in an act the Dept. of Homeland Security, at least, readily views as one of terror. Those issues aside, the question strikes a nerve. Do we really believe -- any of us -- that we are perched on the edge of global collapse? If so, why aren't we demanding actions commensurate with the crisis? Is it a case of the best lacking all conviction, and if so, why? For his part, Lanchester has this to say:
I suspect we’re reluctant to think about it because we’re worried that if we start we will have no choice but to think about nothing else.