Jared Diamond, author of "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," recently stated that he is cautiously optimistic about the state of the world, because: 1) big businesses sometimes conclude that what is good for the long-term future of humanity is also good for their bottom line; and 2) voters in democracies sometimes make good choices. (For other reasons big thinkers are optimistic, see Edge's survey here.)
Jared's first reason was given huge support by the announcement (see NY Times story here) that ten major companies with operations across the economy — utilities, manufacturing, petroleum, chemicals and financial services — joined leading environmental groups to call for a firm nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions. Their call would lead to reductions of 10 to 30 percent over the next 15 years. Significantly, the companies included four utilites -- Duke Energy, PG&E of California, the FPL Group, and PNM Resources -- as well as BP, Lehman Brothers, G.E., Alcoa and Caterpillar.