In un lungo articolo pubblicato da The Breakthrough Institute, Pierre Desrochers e Joanna Szurmak sostengono che le armi migliore contro i danni che l’attività umana provoca all’ambiente siano il libero mercato – in particolare i prezzi – la crescita, la cooperazione e l’innovazione. Ne fanno discendere che, storicamente, la crescita della popolazione ha risolto più problemi di quanti ne abbia creati, contrariamente a quanto predetto da malthusiani e neo-malthusiani.
Nel riconoscere che il riscaldamento globale provoca cambiamenti di un’ordine di grandezza mai conosciuto prima, la chiosa finale insiste sulla necessità di puntare su crescita ed innovazione per contrastare la sfida dei nostri tempi:
In the long run, the only truly sustainable option remains, as in the past, the development of new ways of doing things. Just as carbon fuels have created industrialized societies that are far more resilient to the effects of climate change than earlier agrarian societies, fossil fuels have created conditions in which we have the capabilities to develop new and better forms of energy that might allow us to continue to thrive.
Markets may be unlikely to find new uses for carbon dioxide at scales consistent with much slower global warming. But that does not mean that human societies are doomed to either limit their populations and aspirations or face collapse. In the same way that market economies have for two centuries now developed energy sources that are cleaner, cheaper, and more useful, there is no reason to think that market economies, in the face of climate change, will not be able to develop substitutes for fossil fuels over the long run.
Philosopher of science Maarten Boudry summarized this pithily: “The right way to look at anthropogenic climate change is as an unexpected side-effect of something that, by and large, proved an immense blessing to humanity. Sure, if we had left all those fossilized remains of ancient animals and plants under the ground, we would not now be stuck with rising global temperatures. But then our lives would also have remained solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short, as they had been for the better part of world history until around 1800.”
Unfortunately, neo-Malthusians are giving humanity no room to maneuver. By discounting our drive to innovate and our ability to use the existing technological infrastructure, including the near-zero carbon emission boon of nuclear energy, they are relegating us to the tenuous life as one of nature’s other animals. Future flourishing, both for the Earth and for most living beings on it, demands that we tap into the extraordinary potential of creative individuals made increasingly more prosperous by ever more trade, collaboration, and opportunities to (re)combine existing things in new ways.
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