Saturday, May 28, 2022

Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism. Have we got the stomach for it?

"Today's children, as they become more politically aware, will be much more radical than their parents, simply because there will be no other choice for them. This emergent radicalism is already taking people by surprise. The Green New Deal (GND), a term presently most associated with 29-year-old US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has provoked a wildly unhinged backlash from the "pro free market" wing, who argue that it's a Trojan horse, nothing more than an attempt to piggyback Marxism onto the back of climate legislation.

The criticism feels ridiculous. Partly because the GND is far from truly radical and already represents a compromise solution, but mainly because the radical economics isn't a hidden clause, but a headline feature. Climate change is the result of our current economic and industrial system. GND-style proposals marry sweeping environmental policy changes with broader socialist reforms because the level of disruption required to keep us at a temperature anywhere below "absolutely catastrophic" is fundamentally, on a deep structural level, incompatible with the status quo.

Right now we can, with a massive investment of effort by 2030, just about keep the warming level below 1.5C. This is "bad, but manageable" territory. Failing to put that effort in sees the world crossing more severe temperature barriers that would lead to outcomes like ecosystem collapse, ocean acidification, mass desertification, and coastal cities being flooded into inhabitability.

We will simply have to throw the kitchen sink at this. Policy tweaks such as a carbon tax won't do it. We need to fundamentally re-evaluate our relationship to ownership, work and capital."

1.  They keep moving the goalpost.  I have seen videos from a decade ago stating that we were on track to increase the average atmospheric temperature by 3 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, and that would be bad, but if we can get it down to 2 degrees Celsius then that would be manageable.  However, in recent years, I have seen videos stating that we are on track to increase the temperature by 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, and that would be bad, but if we can get it down to 1.5 degrees Celsius then that would be manageable.

In the years prior to all these predictions, I was seeing dire predictions of a temperature change of 5 to 12 degrees Celsus by the year 2100.

The reason for these changes is that some of the very dire predictions of the past haven't come true.  They have made claims that the polar ice caps would have melted by now and that we would have a billion climate refugees.

If you look at the data, it has taken 140 years for the temperature to go up one degree Celsus.  These changes are very slow and don't represent a crisis.  Should we lose some coastlines, people have plenty of time to adapt, or build floodwalls.

2.  There is a difference between what the science is saying about climate change and what the politicians are saying about climate change.  It is a difference between caution with big levels of uncertainty baked into the predictions, versus alarmism.

3.  Climate Alarmism ignores the enormous benefits of carbon fuels and CO2.  Our entire food supply runs on carbon fuels.  Atmospheric CO2 is a valuable resource that is a necessary food for plants.  Over the last 40 million years, the atmospheric levels of CO2 have been in a steep and dangerous decline due to natural processes that sequester carbon, while the recent increase in the level of CO2 has resulted in the greening of the Earth, increased food production, increased rainfall, and a shrinking of deserts, contrary to the opposite predictions.

4.  Should we need to, we could use a technique called "Iron Fertilization" to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.  However, I think that this would be counterproductive.

5.  During the last 2.5 million years we have technically been in an ice age, dominated by long periods of mass glaciation covering much of the northern hemisphere, with only brief ten thousand year warm periods like the one we are living in now.

6.  Capitalism is really a free market, which is your right to own property and own a business.    My retirement fund is invested in the S&P 500, which technically means that I am invested in hundreds of businesses.

7.  Socialism takes away all these rights in the name of euphemistic terms like fairness and environmental protection.  However, the net result is slavery, or at best tyranny.  The government will tell you what you can own, where to live, where you can work, and what you must do.

8.  Rahm Emanual said, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."   Nobody voluntarily goes into a prison unless they are more afraid of what is outside the prison.   People don't voluntarily give up their freedom unless they are afraid of a crisis.  For this reason, the political left is always trying to justify infringement on our freedom by telling us there is a crisis.  (This is "The Walking Dead" theory of socialism promoted by Dan Bongino.  In the show, "The Walking Dead", the survivors of a Zombie Apocalypse try to hide inside a prison because it is well fortified.)  

9.  The real goals of the political left are about power. It is about who is in charge and who gets to run things.

10.  True socialism, which means that the state owns the means of production, is unsustainable.  No socialist system has been able to keep itself going without adopting some free-market measures.

11.  When confronted over their ideas, the left tends to change its definitions.  They will assert that they never meant what they said previously and that the rest of us are just too stupid to understand their theories.  They also claim that they want one thing, like a Nordic-style welfare state with a capitalist economy, while out of the other side of their mouth claim that they want to get rid of capitalism.

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