Thursday, October 1, 2015
The Tragedy Of The Horizon And Climate Change
Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, delivered a speech that coined a new phrase to describe his concerns about climate change and its potential to disrupt the world's economy. He described some of his concerns at a meeting of one the nations largest insurance companies. Ordinarily, a central banker is focused on fixing short term economic problems as they arise. He stepped out of this role because he realizes that unless we take action today to address climate change it will be too late to save our society. He called this the "tragedy of the horizon" because business leaders and governments are all focused on the short term. That makes it very difficult to deal with catastrophic changes that are likely to arise beyond the time horizon in which we typically operate. It will be very difficult to shift the time horizon outward so that we can leave a decent world to future generations. It will take more leaders like Mark Carney to make this happen. Most of us are like cigarette smokers who know that they are likely to have health problems in the future unless they stop smoking. Many smokers are unable to shift their time horizon beyond the present.