Our guest blogger is Mike Casey, president of cleantech communications firm Tigercomm.
Happy residents of the Karl Smith Siberian global warming relocation program.
Currently, fossil fuel industry lobbyists, flacks, allied pundits, and government officials are far too comfortable dismissing concerns about what their pollution does to other people. What if we had a system that required those who are advocating, defending or producing large sources of pollution to be one of the other
people? What if they had to drink the dirty water, breathe the polluted air, and have their livelihoods compromised by (their) status quo industries. It wouldn’t be fun for them. But they’d be accountable, deeply accountable
, for what they are doing.
I think it’s time to explore what Deep Accountability would look like. I’ll start here, with this Modest Proposal for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Professor Karl Smith. He’s the newest addition to the crowd that believes global climate disruption isn’t a problem because we can all move to the top of the world.
Minister of Justice of Russia
Address: 4 Zhitnaya Ulitsa, Moscow 119991
Telephone/fax: (495) 955-59-99
Dear Minister Konovalov:
I received your name from contacting the Russian embassy in Washington. I apologize in advance for not having the resources to translate this unusual proposal into Russian.
I am the owner of a United States public relations firm, Tigercomm. We represent renewable energy and energy efficiency businesses both here in the U.S. and internationally. In our company’s view, renewable energy and energy efficiency represent a path toward economic revitalization in many countries, as well as addressing the threat of global climate disruption.
In that context, I wanted to bring to your attention the recent, remarkable writings of Professor Karl Smith, Assistant Professor of Public Economics and Government at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Smith recently received attention with his assurance that global climate disruption isn’t really a big deal because a good chunk of the world population can just move to the northern part of your country if things transpire as most scientists fear they will.
Specifically, Professor Smith argues in his article, “In Praise of Dirty Energy: There Are Worse Things Than Pollution, and We Have Them,” that “a large part of the harmful affects of climate change will be mitigated simply because so many people move to North America and Siberia over the next 100 years.”
Needless to say, if you believe Professor Smith’s predictions are correct, then there is going to be an influx of tens or even hundreds of millions of people to the northern part of your great country. This would likely be a significant change for Siberia, from a region with a current population density of just 3 persons per square kilometer, to one of the most densely populated places on earth in a few decades.
I thought you and other Russian leaders might have some views on the merits of this assertion, because Professor Smith isn’t alone in saying global climate disruption is no big deal. Some, such as Peabody Energy Vice President of Government Relations Fred Palmer have asserted that we will benefit from global climate disruption.
With that in mind, I’d like to raise with you an idea I’ve had for a while, one that I call “Deep Accountability.” Under this concept, the foolish and the reckless in American punditry – and they seem to increasing, even as the climate science gets more damning – would be forced to actually sample the realities they advocate for others.
Therefore, I am trying to confirm the viability of an unusual proposal. Would it be possible for my company to pay for the rental of unoccupied space in any of the estimated 476 former Soviet prison facilities, particularly those in northern Siberia? If such space is available, we would like to pay to house Professor Smith for a year or more as a guest of your great country. We are seeking to provide him with a direct experience of the vigorous Siberian climate firsthand, and see for himself what the future home of tens or hundreds of millions of global climate disruption refugees would be like.