TUMBY BAY - Many of the disasters that are currently pummelling the world with increasing intensity, from floods to heatwaves, are directly attributable to climate change.
Unexpected consequences from these events, like the deaths of thousands of emperor penguin chicks by drowning in Antarctica and starving polar bears in the Arctic Circle, are catching the world by surprise.
In her 2023 novel Birnam Wood, Booker Prize winner, Eleanor Catton, has one of her characters suggest that the world’s billionaires have it in their power to make things better. “Like, in all history, there has literally never been a group of people better equipped to avert catastrophe than the billionaires alive today. The technology you have access to, and the resources, and the money, and the influence, and the connections – literally, no one in history has ever been more powerful. Ever.”
According to Wikipedia “half of the world's net wealth belongs to the top one percent, the top 10% of adults hold 85%, while the bottom 90% hold the remaining 15% of the world's total wealth.”
So why aren’t they doing anything?
The answer might lie in another statistic. It’s because a large percentage of them are psychopaths.
A defining characteristic of psychopathy is the absence of empathy. Without empathy they can pursue their aims with total ruthlessness. With the ability to disregard the needs and wellbeing of other people they can pursue their own fortunes unheeded.
When Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Elon Musk of Tesla screw their workers with appalling wages and conditions they are doing it simply to gain the highest profits for themselves. Donald Trump has long been recognised as a psychopath.
The percentage of psychopaths in the general population is about 1% but among people like Bezos and Musk the number is somewhere between 12–20%. The most popular career choices for psychopaths are chief executive officers, surgeons and politicians.
These are the people who don’t give a stuff about the condition of the planet as long as they can make a profit or gain more power.
As long as they stay in power mitigating climate change is doomed.