Three Arguments for Climate Optimism (or at least less Pessimism)

June 27, 2022

11 Responses to “Three Arguments for Climate Optimism (or at least less Pessimism)”

  1. jimbills Says:

    “As soon as we lose hope, we stop action.”

    I think it’s the reverse for the majority. Hope is a safety blanket to make us feel better and lets us do what we really want to do in the first place – which is be distracted by things like inflation in gas prices, politics, sports, reality shows, texts from friends, what to have for dinner, and documentaries about goats. It erodes the necessary preconditions to mass action in fighting climate change – the fear that the future will be far worse than now is the only thing motivating the video author’s second point about the increasing protests from groups like Extinction Rebellion.

    As soon as we give in to hope, “we” become less focused on action. (The “we” is important there – of course there are individual outliers like Peter and the video author).

    Sure, any less amount we emit today is better than emitting that amount. But say we emit 2% less next year, 3% less the following, 4% next, and so on. We’re still emitting 98%, 97%, 96%, and so on. With time, that pushes us into seriously dangerous levels of warming, which the science does suggest will happen. The video author ends the video by suggesting we can still stop 1.5 degrees, and he pretty much loses all credibility with me at that point. He should have said something like 2 degrees warming is better than 5 degrees warming – a true statement, and one that would be warranted by the amount of action and economic trends we’ve seen and currently see – but suggesting 1.5 degrees could still happen with the way things are going is bonkers.

    And I’m not certain our descendants will be particularly grateful to us in a 2.5-3.5 degree warmer world that at least we stopped it from being 5 degrees warmer.

  2. Ron Benenati Says:

    I have never seen an optimistic perspective that didn’t strike me as likely of making people more comfortable with the water in the pot they are sitting in getting hotter.

  3. Ron Benenati Says:

    Now lets factor in what the Nothing-supreme- about-it Court is about to do to the ability to regulate greenhouse gases

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Between the God-botherers and the gerontocrats, there’s not much urgency. God-botherers think nothing can defy God’s will, and the gerontocrats can’t imagine how much change is needed in so little time.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      That’s an important point: the objection to climate action is fundamentally political. For instance, it’s great that solar panels are getting cheaper, but not if you can’t buy them (China tariffs). I know China is a bad actor. I just find it suspicious that, to punish China, we seem primarily to have targeted our own energy utilities plans to ‘go green’, in a way that will profit Big Fossils.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        China is a bad actor? Much is made of the fact that China uses a lot of coal. But gas is as bad as coal for climate, and while the US grid is less than 19% RE, (& ~60% coal & gas) China, a much poorer country with 4 times the population in the same space, is over 25% & building RE much faster (grid ~70% coal & gas). US EV market share is about 3%, China’s is 22% so it’s electrifying & renewablizing its primary energy at a much faster rate. It has 3 doubling times left to virtually 100% EVMS, with a much faster doubling time than US EVs, & a HUGE! advantage in both use & electrification/REification of transit.

        Both US parties including Biden are deceitfully blaming China to distract from US inaction; that may become unnecessary when the Supreme Court announces its ruling that we’re not allowed to do anything on climate. Both countries, along with all but about 5 others, should feel nothing but shame for how badly they’re handling this dire emergency, but China’s feeble excuses come off as massively more justified than the feeble excuses of the richest country on Earth with by far the best mix of diverse clean safe renewable energy potential in the world.

        The bipartisan right wing objections to climate action are ostensibly economic and technical but that’s just a coverup for the actual, psychological reasons–the insistence by the nihilistic narcissistic psychopathic leadership of a narcissistic country that we visibly dominate everything–all people, races, countries, nature, and atoms.

  4. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    “We can always stop making the problem worse.”

    Has he met the humans on this planet?

    Was he asleep during the protests against vaccinations and masks?

    At some point Mother Permafrost will say “I’ve got it from here, hon.”

    • ubrew12 Says:

      “At some point Mother Permafrost will say…”
      And I think it’s very important to reiterate: we don’t know where that point is. The uncertainty over how Earth responds to our climate forcer will not automatically resolve itself in our favor (despite what your Church might have told you).

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