This article illustrates the sea change that has recently happened in the awareness that coal must be left in the ground if CO2 levels in the atmosphere are to be limited. it also illustrates how, globally, there is a big time lag between this realisation and the construction of new coal using power plants. The trillion dollars committed to these new facilities could, if redirected to investment in renewable energy, provide enough power for 1.2 billion people, according to a Sierra Club analysis. But it seems unlikely that the ‘free market’ making this shift in the short term, and there is no other mechanism at the global level to regulate such a redirection of investment.
This interesting op-ed piece in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof makes the point that our brain/minds did not evolve to deal with long-term threats such as climate change. Our response to immediate threats such as snakes or terrorist attacks is far more highly developed. The result is usually major over-reaction to terrorism as the invasion of Iraq illustrated. In contrast, concern about longer-term drowning of coastal cities is very hard to stimulate.
This article from the Guardian following the Brussels terrorist attacks also makes the point that over-reaction is exactly what the terror organisations want to precipitate. It is written by a man who was a captive of ISIS for ten months. He even suggests that using the language of war also plays into the propaganda of ISIS. Rather than casting these horrors as acts of war, they should be seen as acts of political violence carried out by, at the most, suicide bombers drawn from a small pool of indoctrinated extremists. Far more people die in western countries from slipping in their baths than from the acts of terrorists, as President Obama pointed out in relation to the USA.