Secretary Chu's Prediction Could Be Irrelevant Here

Today's Boston Globe reports on a speech given during commencement exercises at Harvard University by US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, stating:
 
"'If the world continues on a business-as-usual path,' the resulting climate change 'will be so rapid that many species, including humans, will have a hard time adapting.  The climate problem is the unintended consequence of our success.  Energy is a fundamental reason for the prosperity we enjoy, and we will not surrender this prosperity.'"
 
I wanted very much to know if that concluding phrase was a prediction or a promise.  If it was a prediction, he expressed a familiar and understood pessimism.  If it was a promise, I was going to be disappointed in him and the Obama administration.  So I looked up the speech (http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2009/06.04/chu_speech.html), which I recommend reading.  I found that Chu did not elaborate, so I think it was a prediction.  If so, he was in good company; Martin Luther King, Jr. alluded to it when he observed "it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.  Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Neibuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals."*
 
In making and reinforcing a distinction between wealth and riches, I've tried to show that our society (a very large group) has been and remains confused about prosperity.  It's tragic, not only because we imperil our life support system, but also because we influence the hopes and expectations of other societies.  With its distinctive concept of wealth, this Web site strives to shed light on business-not-as-usual and on a possible economy that has very different energy requirements.  Rather than surrendering or retreating, we can move on to something superior.  Dr. King called it the beloved community.
 
We're inviting you, dear reader, to volunteer to help give the group we comprise -- the community of Woburn, more or less -- a just posture.  That is in our power.  Each of us can choose it.  We can own the system that satisfies and fulfills us, relying on each other much more and on energy much less.  Our accomplishments may also inspire other locales to embark on their version of the journey.
 
* Letter from Birmingham jail, 4/16/63