"“The initial response was, ‘Let the market handle it. They will do it.’ Forty years and free-market solutions have not changed our position.”
—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
That is not quite right. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez says that Exxon Mobil knew as early as 1970, while Exxon and Mobil did not merge until 1999, and if her claim that the oil giants knew in 1970 that would be 49 years! Millennial math? (Sorry, but there is so much denial and pushback from the fossil fools that we need to get our details right.) Meanwhile, several web sites date the knowledge of AGW to the late 1970s or early 80s, while one of my former physics professors told me in 1972 that he had just read an article about it. Hansen’s original paper on AGW was published in 1981, and the update in 1988, at which time he also testified before Congress.
But her point is dead on. Had we responded with appropriate alarm even as late as 1989 (30 years ago), we would have the situation well in hand, with a stable or cooling planet at most 1.5 degree C above pre-industrial levels by 2050 essentially a done deal. But it could not have been done through market incentives alone even then, and in fact could NEVER be done without significant guidance from the public sector. At this point we will save the planet for human habitation only with the most massive mobilization plan imposed by whatever entity is capable of imposing it.