That’s Not What We Have in Mind

November 25, 2020

Carbon emissions will be down some 8 or so percent this year globally.
Climate deniers have jumped on this as evidence of what a carbon constrained world will be – permanent recession – and sometimes climate advocates have scored own goals by playing into that messaging, celebrating a little too much about the consequences of a global catastrophe.

What we have in mind is something a bit different – lowering carbon emissions by switching a healthy economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

3 Responses to “That’s Not What We Have in Mind”

  1. jimbills Says:

    I’m not celebrating the recession. Personally, I’m personally VERY poorly positioned in a down economy.

    But, I also think a growing economy, and that’s the only form of healthy economy in a system that relies on permanent growth, spells disaster for us in the mid- and long-term. Switching from FF to renewables will definitely help, and significantly, but in a growing economy, we won’t change rapidly enough to offset large-scale damage. FF use will have a long tail. It can’t but not have that without massive changes far grander than anything we’ve previously done. And after that, there are the countless other environmental and resource issues that we also can’t seem to grasp.

    I don’t see how crippling food and resource shortages hit humanity with force at some point, accompanied by economic crashes and global conflict. But, that’s just me, maybe. I’d like to be wrong about it.

    This year has been a truly suck year. But it has been telling. It’s been the only time in the past decades that we’ve significantly reduced our emissions. We can’t forget reports like this:

    Cut Global Emissions by 7.6 Percent Every Year for Next Decade to Meet 1.5°C Paris Target – UN Report
    https://unfccc.int/news/cut-global-emissions-by-76-percent-every-year-for-next-decade-to-meet-15degc-paris-target-un-report

    Only an economic disaster has done that to this point. Yet, we keep thinking next year will be better, when we’ve never even come close to bending the CO2 curve readings in our healthy economic years.

    This was in the news recently:

    Climate change: Covid pandemic has little impact on rise in CO2
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55018581

    What that tells me is that even with a 9.2% U.S. cut in emissions for 2020, it’s still not nearly enough. We need that to happen year after year for decades. I concede that a permanent global economic crash isn’t in any way a desirable path for humanity (although it would eventually get the necessary carbon cuts). What I worry is that the continued unquestioning commitment to our current economic system and its unceasing growth will ever come close to what is needed. But, I also know this viewpoint is so fringe that it will not be treated with anything other than contempt and dismissal.

    • jimbills Says:

      third paragraph, add “won’t” between “shortages” and “hit”.

    • Keith Omelvena Says:

      It’s not fringe. Many people understand infantile techno utopian dreamers are as dangerous as deniers. The record of damage the human organism has done to the life support systems of the planet has been in one direction only and that is largely due to the theist mind set of “dominance” and human exceptionalism. Economics has evolved into theism also, rather than being simply a tool to measure human social progress.


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