When a bunch of educated well informed people get together and start talking about the future the subject of global warming can not help but come up.
And suddenly the future is a very scary place. This is not like nuclear fear. During the Cold War we could dream about the things that could be if we did not destroy ourselves. We just had to not use the bombs. We could imagine a wonderful future full of Star Trek and other wonders.
But today the visions of cyberpunk look like impossible Utopias. A conference on the future is going to by its nature be somber.
The frank reality is our only hope seems to be that the science is a bit too pessimistic, that something we don't understand about climate will come and save us. That 2 degree C global increase won't cause too many problems, and that we will get lucky and it will stop.
But social networks, the Cloud, RFD, and Sparkle all seem kind of pointless. I even have to admit that at a former job I was asked to get a car. In America the period of growing public awareness about global warming saw and explosion in SUVs. Our culture of waste can't stop, and there are no institutions right now in place ready to start stopping what it going on.