It really seems like the only way that an “effective socio-technological fix” could be implemented in the United States by 2040 is if magically our economy changed from coal to something more “sustainable.” Our free market capitalist government has no real reason to switch energy sources until the last drop of oil and piece of coal has been burned, in my opinion. As mentioned in the New York Times article, there are people like the Koch brothers who are active members in multiple organizations like Americans for Prosperity and ALEC, which drafts model-legislation for our representatives to pass in congress. Koch Industries is the second largest private company in the United States which deals in petroleum, chemicals, fertilizers and such. These people are so rich and so powerful that unless they see a new lucrative business enterprise in global climate change, things won’t change.
Considering that Tyndall discovered what we now call the Greenhouse Effect in 1861, it’s not fair to say that climate science is in its infancy. In today’s connected and globalized world, the IPCC report was able to collect data from over 6,000 peer-reviewed articles written by people all around the world! That’s something that was impossible to do just 50 years ago. From what I’ve learned about the scientific community is that there is nothing that a scientist loves more than being able to disprove another’s findings. There exists this culture of constant self-policing and academic competition that has led to a pretty reliable and sound institution worldwide. Scientists want to ensure they’ve “got it right” for the fame and the fortune that comes with being right.
Trusting in scientific discoveries that have immediate benefits like vaccines and cancer treatments but not believing the less convenient ones like climate change is a reflection of a complacent populace.