Dress it up however we may wish, climate change is ultimately a rationing issue.Put another way, climate change activism goes Thorstein Veblen and Ken Galbraith one better by turning the operation of those mauve-and-cerise, air-conditioned sedans into Crimes Against Humanity, as simply deplorable-shaming Babbitts isn't enough.
The responsibility for global emissions is heavily skewed towards the lifestyles of a relatively few high emitters – professors and climate academics amongst them. Almost 50% of global carbon emissions arise from the activities of around 10% of the global population, increasing to 70% of emissions from just 20% of citizens. Impose a limit on the per-capita carbon footprint of the top 10% of global emitters, equivalent to that of an average European citizen, and global emissions could be reduced by one third in a matter of a year or two.
That's not what the latest report is going to do, though.
Ignoring this huge inequality in emissions, the IPCC chooses instead to constrain its policy advice to fit neatly within the current economic model. This includes, significant reliance on removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere much later in the century, when today’s senior scientists and policy makers will be either retired or dead. Conjuring up such futuristic ‘negative emission technologies’ to help achieve the virtually impossible 1.5°C target is perhaps understandable, but such intergenerational buck-passing also dominates the IPCC’s 2°C advice.Where are the economic incentives to do these things? Not necessarily in the various international agreements. "Breakthrough analysts conclude that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have actually fallen faster since 2010 than they would have had the the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade scheme been adopted by Congress. The U.S. trend toward lower carbon dioxide emissions was helped along by the global financial crisis, a weak recovery, and the ongoing switch from coal to cheap natural gas for electricity generation."
To genuinely reduce emissions in line with 2°C of warming requires a transformation in the productive capacity of society, reminiscent of the Marshall Plan. The labour and resources used to furnish the high-carbon lifestyles of the top 20% will need to shift rapidly to deliver a fully decarbonised energy system. No more second or very large homes, SUVs, business and first-class flights, or very high levels of consumption. Instead, our economy should be building new zero-energy houses, retrofitting existing homes, huge expansion of public transport, and a 4-fold increase in (zero-carbon) electrification.
Note also this: the carbon footprint of nuclear-steam electricity is smaller than that for coal or natural gas plants. Bet on trade-tested betterments to make the automobiles more energy efficient, and expect the Wise Experts to be serious once you see a nuclear power plant put into operation.
Until then, well, Ed Driscoll found this.
Here’s my problem with climate change: everyone from “turn back the rising seas” Obama to the pastor of my local liberal church will eagerly assure me that Science has proved that the end is nigh; climate change isn’t just happening but is imminent. We or our children are about to witness the mother of all fiery crash-and-burns unless we repent and turn from our sinful ways. Time is running out. It was running out in 1989, then again in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2014, 2015…Heck, I was around for the first Earth Day in 1970, and we shouldn't even be alive to read this.
It’s as if we’re on the plane — eating our pretzels, pecking at our laptops, trying to keep our toddlers entertained — and periodically the stewardess announces that the plane is about to tumble to the ground in flames and we’re all going to die. Then she brings the drink cart around, starts the in-flight movie, and goes back to her argument with the other stewardess about who forgot to put toilet paper in the first-class loo, or whether a businessman should be able to have three olives in his complementary martini.
[I]f the world is going to end, the people who do know and claim to believe need to walk the walk their talk implies. I need to see some white knuckles and mumbled prayers. I need to see Al Gore arranging teleconferences from his yurt, not luxury Davos getaways from his beachfront mansion; I need to see the Democratic Party setting aside the issues that can only be important when and if the world is not about to end.Let's see how much attention they pay to Professor Anderson.