Take if From Someone Who Knows: Extinction Sucks

October 27, 2021

Commenter Redskylite shared this, I thought it deserved more attention.

7 Responses to “Take if From Someone Who Knows: Extinction Sucks”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    From the video description:

    While fossil fuel subsidies tend to be an unequalising tool – as the lion’s share of the benefits concentrate among the rich – these subsidies also represent an important portion of poor peoples’ incomes that otherwise must be paid for energy consumption. Fossil fuel subsidies’ removal thus could easily become an income- and energy-impoverishing strategy. This contributes to making fossil fuels reform difficult, and imposes a key barrier to transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources.

    With any talk of removing subsidies, the poor will suffer (if not pay) the most. “Moral hazard” subsidies—flood insurance, mortgage interest deduction, certain agriculture, cheap petrol—should be converted into needs-based assistance for those who need it the most. This removes a market distortion and gives the poor a way to drive the market in a more useful fashion.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      Wind and solar are already cheaper, and getting even more cheaper. The faster we build them, the faster they get cheaperer still. No one sane is suggesting banning fossil or fissile fuels without replacing them with clean safe renewable energy, efficiency, and wiser lives, any more than anyone suggested banning incandescent light bulbs without having something better and cheaper to replace them.

      The poor are also the ones who pay most fossil and fissile fuel externalities, like health costs, (literally) sickening lack of access to nature, lack of insurance against reactor disasters. etc. And subsidies are being applied to clean safe renewable energy; by the time they’re gone the price will be even lower.

      However, this can be done just OK or it can be done really well, equalizing and democratizing society like Germany and Denmark have done. EV subsidies should not come in the form of regressive tax credits but as direct reduction of purchase price according to need. Rooftop PV with batteries can be provided free or very cheap for houses and low-income apartments.

      Unless I missed something?

      • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

        I was talking about FF subsidies.

        Consider the common practice in some countries of directly subsidizing gasoline (such that it “costs” a few cents per liter). Raising the price of gasoline places a hardship on the poorest—and quickly leads to riotous protest—but we need a mechanism to wean them off cheap gasoline and their use of the nastiest old inefficient ICE vehicles (with no pollution controls, to boot).

        In other places natgas (including subsidized community plumbing) and oil are used for heating through harsh winters and, as ever, the po’ folk get hit the hardest when the price goes up.

        That’s the aspect of the issue discussed in that video description clip.

        • J4Zonian Says:

          Yes, I got that you were talking about FF subsidies.

          The question is how to make the transition to sustainability while reducing inequality.

          For now I’ll ignore the larger reality of that Q, that poor people are already hurt most by fossil fuels (and everything else) and that the FF resource curse actually creates poverty and conditions that impose not just hardship but horror on the poor—war, oppression, pollution, degradation…
          We should take that up at some point. Here we’re talking about both absolute and relative prices of FF and clean safe renewable energy.

          Wind and solar are already cheaper than FF with or without FF or RE subsidies, so clean safe renewable electricity is cheaper as a vehicle fuel. (The arguments also apply to heating and other energy use.) Subbing it for gasoline won’t create any hardship, regardless of FF subsidies. Only the EV purchase price is more—for now—so that needs to be subsidized so lower income people who need a car can afford one.

          In fact the emergency not only justifies but demands more radical action than any under discussion in corporate media. Private vehicles should be rationed for the duration of the crisis, leased only to those who need a private vehicle, on a sliding scale so everyone can afford it—in fact priced low enough that they can’t afford not to. Publicly owned mass transit from bicycles and Ebikes, buses and jitneys through light rail, commuter rail, freight rail, and high speed rail should be built at emergency speed and priced irresistibly—also almost free as needed.

          At the same time, FF subsidies should be eliminated and given to renewables—the equivalent of a double carbon price. (Nuke subsidies should be eliminated too, but that’s another subject as well.)

          What it comes down to is building clean safe renewable energy faster and integrating them the best way possible. It’s good for the poor, necessary for everyone.

        • J4Zonian Says:

          Inequality is the main proximal cause of climate and the larger ecological crisis.
          I’ve always had the idea that we should transition to a sliding scale for all necessities (and things produced by things that produce necessities, like land, water, minerals, wood, etc. which is everything). Everything else can continue as is, but all goods and services would be charged for as the same percentage of everyone’s pay. An apple would be 1¢ for a homeless person* and $75 million for a billionaire. When I started to think about this it would have to have been done with 3×5 cards but computers make it easy.

          (who would no longer be homeless with this system, btw, since it would apply to houses and psychological treatment, too.)

  2. jimbills Says:

    We’ll see how COP26 goes. Here’s where we are:

    Emissions Gap Report 2021

    ‘The emissions gap remains large: compared to previous unconditional NDCs, the new pledges for 2030 reduce projected 2030 emissions by only 7.5 per cent, whereas 30 per cent is needed for 2°C and 55 per cent is needed for 1.5°C.’

    The U.S. is trying to get the reconciliation bill done before COP26. Manchin has largely succeeded in getting all of the ‘stick’ elements out of the bill, leaving the ‘carrots’:

    There are going to be significant tax breaks for renewables. That’s most of what the ‘$500 billion for the climate’ headline is about. Biden will then pitch that as a massive breakthrough for COP26. It’s something, definitely. It will put renewables on firmer ground business-wise, but it leaves FF with no penalties, keeps all previous FF subsidies in place, and issues no mandate or goals on the electrical sector to clean up faster than they themselves want.

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