Column: California wildfires to Florida hurricanes, how the rich game climate change to the poor
When you buy a house, you’re buying an asset that will pay you back in the future. When you buy a car, you’re buying an asset that will pay you back in the future. When you sign onto Facebook, you’re buying an asset that will pay you back in the future — provided you’re still around.
Similarly, when you buy a Tesla, you are buying an asset that, if you are still around, will pay you back in the future. The people who own Tesla, however, will not come back to life, so the fact that you can buy it today and pay back for it tomorrow with a simple bank balance is one of the things that makes it such a great deal.
This is more or less how the current system works. Rich people buy houses and Tesla cars and live on the coasts, and the rest of us — the middle class — own our homes in the suburbs (or sometimes even in the country), we work in corporate offices earning millions a year, and we live in apartments and houses in our cities.
But as the rich get wealthier, and the rest of us get poorer, we find ourselves in a system that is in such a state of denial about the fact that the world is running out of energy that we don’t even notice the energy we’ve put away building houses and cars and buying Facebook and Tesla. And now that we’re all running out of energy, the rich owners of those assets have to make up for their energy loss by finding new sources of energy that will help them live a longer time than their neighbors who have a few decades left.
We have found a new fuel for our house and a new energy source for manufacturing cars that will allow for the production of cars that are safe to operate (and safe to drive), that are cheaper to manufacture, that run for longer than gas-burning cars, and that can use electricity to get them to the stores and hotels in California and Florida.