Online shopping is keeping people home from the malls, and more and more workers are working remotely. Down the road, more changes will come as the world shifts from a manufacturing economy based on metal bashing to an information and service economy. Technological change is also coming: self-driving cars, renewable energy that can actually compete with fossil fuels without generous government subsidies, genetically modified plants that don’t need fertilizer or pesticide, safe nuclear power. Always and everywhere, capitalism is pushing companies to produce more goods using fewer raw materials and energy, and generating less waste.Those metal and plastic products still have to come from somewhere, but information technologies are ways of producing them with less waste, and thus less use of fuels and feedstocks.
But the "international community" must still have its consolation prize, nicht wahr?
Much as the last great Malthusian panics (the population bomb and peak oil) quietly fizzled out, the panicky, Chicken Little aspects of the green movement are likely to fade over time. The economy of the future will produce more abundance and leave a smaller footprint than the economy we have today. It will be capitalism and innovation that we have to thank for that; fortunately, United Nations climate diplomacy isn’t humanity’s line of defense against eco-catastrophe.Unfortunately, United Nations diplomacy is equally ineffective as a line of defense against nuclear proliferation or religious awakenings.