Who is Really Causing Climate Change?

February 17, 2023

Be careful before you eat the rich. You might just be one of them.

9 Responses to “Who is Really Causing Climate Change?”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    The original Wealth Inequality in America (10 years ago):

    The follow-on Global Wealth Inequality (9 years ago):

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    A nit: At one point ClimateAdam lumps all forms of environmental degradation together, but habitat destruction or water pollution has a different dynamic with respect to wealth, population, governance, etc., than global emissions. Carbon footprints can vary by several orders of magnitude, in contrast to the range of food consumption per person.

  3. disperser Says:

    I rarely comment (and I’ll likely regret doing so now), but it would be interesting to see the data behind his sweeping claims.

    For instance, “raising every person in the world out of extreme poverty is <1% increase in emissions" . . . extreme poverty is classified as earning less than $1.90 per day.

    So, is he talking about going to $1.91 or $10? I think the amount makes a difference. Projections for CO2 emissions in developing countries show them increasing at a steady pace.

    And the extra billion of low-income people adding a 'mere 300,000,000 tons of CO2' . . . is that based on them subsiding below the poverty line? Or does that take into account efforts to improve their standards of living? And, again, by how much? Do we stop at $1.91, or keep going to higher amounts? I ask because few people self-regulate their consumption, whether rich or poor.

    Also, I'm pretty sure there are low-income people in developed countries as well, and I bet their impact is a tad higher . . . or are they not reproducing?

    What happens if low-income people emigrate to "rich countries" where their earning potential is greatly increased? I ask because we'll see that in short order as populations in "rich countries" begin to shrink (and also because of climate change).

    By the way, using the "one study found" argument reminds me of the tactics of climate deniers.

    As entertaining as it is to watch, I think it presents simplistic (sometimes insultingly so) — and hence of limited value — arguments. In fact, it seems more like propaganda to counter propaganda by the other side than reasoned arguments.

    I'm hoping I'm wrong, but that's why I ask about the data he's using for his claims. Even a cursory look-see for supporting data has me run into caveats and qualifiers to his arguments.

    Hence, this seems more aimed at preaching to the converted than winning new converts (unless the new converts don't think about stuff too much).

    But it also tells the other side that it's OK to NOT help developing countries limit emissions because, hey, 1B more of 'them people' is barely a dent as far as emissions are concerned.

    • Mark Mev Says:

      If you go to youtube and search for the channel ClimateAdam you can find his video:

      He lists his references just below the video.

    • disperser Says:

      Yup . . . I did write: “Even a cursory look-see for supporting data has me run into caveats and qualifiers to his arguments.”

      Not to mention that some of the references are referencing each other.

      The point I’m making is with the assumptions of those studies.

      Take his example of lifting people above the poverty line. You can’t both say that poor people account for very little CO2 emissions because they are poor and then say that lifting them out of poverty (again, no amount of ‘lifting’ given) has little to no effect.

      Also, the assumptions for adding a billion “poor” people involve a bit of a sleight-of-hand because the study specifically states it ignores ancillary effects (for example, the need for water, food, land use, and shelter) of adding one (or more) billion of poor people. Essentially, we add a billion people but not assume the associated cost . . . plus, we assume they will remain in poverty.

      The study also ignores that the population is growing worldwide (yes! even in developed countries).

      Also, the numbers for the top 10% isn’t straight-up either. FSM-knows I don’t want to defend the hypocrites, but their consumption numbers include the effect of “things they indirectly invest in”. I’m pretty sure poor people “indirectly invest” in things as well. It’s one thing to speak of wealth If we’re talking about consumption, I’m pretty sure that collectively, the bottom 90% consume more stuff than the top 10%. (For example, I find it difficult to believe the top 10% eat more food than the bottom 90% )

      To be clear, I’m not happy about the fact that the operation of one of Gates’s private jets for a year has the equivalent of 250 of my yearly CO2 emission (but, you know, he’s important to the cause, plus he excuses the use because he buys carbon offsets (another thing I find questionable)).

      Look, I’m not against the message, but throwing out ‘facts’ that can be questioned doesn’t help.

      There’s also a smugness I find a tad annoying, but that’s just a personal bias against people who are cock-sure that everything they say is beyond question.

      But, I agree with his argument about Loss and damage . . . and the fact that it’s incredibly controversial (at least he doesn’t claim he has an answer). There’s a reason why it’s controversial.

      What concerns me more is that almost all the current push toward Green energy will (does) hurt low-and-middle income people (for example: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190712151926.htm).

      Those people who will be most hurt by future climate collapse? They don’t look kindly at short-term sacrifices to achieve a goal that’s 20 or even 10 years away when they’re having problems meeting their current needs. Wanna bet how they will vote?

      And, no, I don’t have an answer, but ignoring the issue (and somewhat misrepresenting stuff) doesn’t bode well for current plans to go green.

      Add to that the fact that, to my knowledge, even countries that are the most ardently committed to reducing CO2 emissions have (to date) failed to meet goals that were more modest than their current goals, and I think that maybe we’re not having the right conversation.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        These conclusions are the result of many studies:

        Population in the rich world is already stable or shrinking. The only place any significant increase in numbers is happening is among the poorest. Even the population growth in rich countries is—duh—from immigration, & a little from the poorest there.

        Many poor farmers aren’t just low-carbon; they’re net negative carbon because they sequester more than they use.

        Not helping the poorest improve their lives is unforgivable. Helping the richest improve their lives by drastically reducing their wealth and income is also necessary & will largely if not completely balance the increase in income of the poor as it eliminates the climate catastrophe forcing of inequality.
        Above all we need to reduce impact per dollar by switching at least 10 times faster to efficiency; wiser lives; renewable energy; small-scale, low-meat, organic permaculture; regenerative forestry; and ecological industry.

        • disperser Says:

          The first part doesn’t refute anything I wrote.

          The last part points to profound ignorance about human nature.

          It’s like saying people need to live healthy lives, not overeat, exercise more, be kind to each other … all things that are ‘true’ but few are doing.

          Heck, I have many suggestions about what people ought to do … the question is how to get them to do it.

          It’s proven over and over that humans rarely do what’s best for them, even when they can define it (which isn’t often), which is why when I read these plans and agreements, I have little confidence in their success.

          My guess? Even if by some fluke we meet some of these goals, it will be in the backs (and suffering) of the poor, here and abroad.

  4. J4Zonian Says:

    Food footprint can vary by several orders of magnitude, too.


    Eating equal amounts of the bottom 6 foods = avg. food impact of 1.23 Kg CO2/110g protein.
    Add an equal amount of eggs (that’s a LOTTA eggs) =1.65. This is close to the way I eat; fewer eggs, but that’s offset by tiny amounts of dairy products. But my diet over the last 20 years also includes a lot of home-grown eggs, nuts, beans, fruits, veggies, mushrooms, honey, herbs, spices… A lot of those beans, nuts, fruits, veggies, bee plants… are perennials that sequester net carbon. Most last-mile transport (me, feed, etc.) has been by bicycle. It’s possible (& hugely emotionally rewarding) to live at the extreme low end of ecological impact, even net-negative carbon. Very rough calculations suggest it’s about 1 so far.

    fast company “this graph will show you the carbon footprint of your protein”

    But Adam’s video is still making the tu quoque fallacy. Personal lifestyle change is good in several ways but will. never. make. anywhere. near. enough. difference. Many orders of magnitude off.

    Only massive, immediate radical government action will save us.

    • disperser Says:

      I tried finding even one example where “immediate radical government action” was successful or beneficial . . . I failed. Maybe I didn’t look in the right places.

      So, what form does this radical government action take? Does it involve a police state? Martial law? Just wondering.

      As for the food . . . “lot of home-grown eggs, nuts, beans, fruits, veggies, mushrooms, honey, herbs, spices” . . . that suggests an agrarian lifestyle which is impractical for most people. I mean, good for you, but I’ll also point out few people would willingly choose that diet.

      Full disclosure, I don’t, so you are free to chastise me for it.

      But, we’re drifting away from the topics in the video and a discussion of the assumptions made therein. Actually, I don’t see a discussion per se; just a reiteration of what was said. To that end, I’d like to have better arguments when debating people who raise the same issues I did.

      If we’re going to affect change and hopefully minimize the effect of what’s already in motion, we have to discuss realistic goals and doable mitigation efforts alongside efforts to switch to sustainable energy. All I see right now are programs that will make a few people and companies a lot of money and have a negative impact on people already struggling to live from paycheck to paycheck.

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