Politics and Climate Change

Discussion in 'Politics' started by geordief, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. geordief Valued Senior Member

    Of the various strands of current political thought and persuasion ,which if any are compatible with the need to alter our behaviours so as to facilitate our ongoing survival and well being on an interconnected and rapidly changing planet?

    We can choose between centralized economies ,laisser faire economies, centralized decision making (=ie dictatorships ) etc etc
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Absolute dictatorship would be the only form of governance capable of enacting effective change in the available time-frame.
    A strong socialist government with sound climate policy and excellent scientific advisors might be able to take mitigating actions, so long as there were no concerted opposition, inside or enmity outside the country.
    Laisser faire - or any other economic driver - could only make things worse. How do you think this happened in the first place?

    In fact, the exact opposite will happen. Economic interests will continue to make the physical climate worse, and drive the political climate toward right-wing extremism, supported by frightened and misinformed populations, which inevitably culminates in dictatorships dedicated to maintaining their own power at the expense of the people.
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  5. geordief Valued Senior Member

    Ignorance ,quite clearly. I doubt the political systems we have inherited have had too great a bearing on the development of the problem.

    I feel that laisser faire might be better for working our way out of the problem but that "strong socialist government with sound climate policy" (your quote) might inspire more confidence in gaining acceptance of the difficult choices.

    At some stage it may become immaterial as the evidence becomes even more overwhelming.

    Technological fixes are the joker in the pack as they seem to have the side effect of us taking our eye off the ball and retreating into previous behaviours (quite rationally)

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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    I was there. We had warnings of global warming and environmental degradation and overpopulation all through the 20th century.
    They knew.
    They just don't give a shit.

    They invariably chose "The Economy" (short-term profits through fossil fuel, pesticides, drugs legal and ill-, factory food, privatization of water, ghettoization of countries that could be exploited for resources and cheap labour - yes, even if it means routinely scuttling their young democracies and smothering their national aspirations) or hegemony over the interests of people and the future, let alone any other consideration of earth and other species.
    Have you any idea how much nuclear waste is lying around, just from the weapons-posturing of powerful governments over the last half century? Or how much expensive toxic crap those expensive fighter-planes - and all the other air travel, of course - are spewing into the air every minute of every day? Or how much it costs taxpayers to subsidize the oil spills that are killing the oceans?
    All of those decisions were made by governments with access to all of the relevant information regarding the consequences.

    Capital-driven politics had 60 years to work its way through to making it a lot bigger a lot sooner. There is no profit in giving up our profligate lifestyle.
    It might have. But no such government gets a clear shot at implementing long-term policies in an atmosphere of anxiety and suspicion. One guy manages to barely shoehorn through legislation for a half-assed-better-than-nothing initiative; the voters immediately turn around an elect a fathead who not only rescinds that regulation but enacts four laws that have the opposite effect. the fathead promises them money and security. (He lies, of course; he lies fluently and continuously; he takes away far more than he gives, every time, but they keep coming back for more.)

    You mean, April 3, 1976? Yup.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    One of the problems today is that there have been dire warnings before. Oil would run out by 2010 at the latest. In 1968, Ehrlichmann wrote that "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate."

    But that stuff never happened. And so people think the same about climate change, despite the overwhelming amount of science that demonstrates it.
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Governments should be able to tell the difference between predictions made by teams of scientists, with reams of evidence, and pronouncements made by politicians* who don't want to deal with poverty. It's their job to evaluate and follow up such predictions and take steps to prevent the worst outcomes.
    Some of the European governments did, eventually, and China's starting to - very late. The US is still in denial.

    *Unless you mean Paul Ehrlich. Pretty much everything he warned us about back then - according to information available to him back then - has either happened or is happening right now. Not perfectly on schedule; therefore to be discounted? Technology slowed the ride to hell in a handcart, and we put the brunt of it non-whites, where it doesn't count.
    People are starving to death every day, and have been all along. The birth rate has finally started to level off, but nowhere near enough.
    The oil would have run out if not for the deep ocean drilling and tar sands - the even dirtier methods which have lately been employed and poorly regulated by those same governments. Ironically, if it had run out by 2010, we might have had a chance.
    It shouldn't matter what "people" are inclined to believe and why. The governments which do have access to high quality intel should be informing the people and taking the lead in what needs to be done.
    Instead, all the flood- and tornado-relief funds are diverted to keeping poor people out of rich countries.
  10. geordief Valued Senior Member

    I was there too. We knew about the Greenhouse effect but not that it would have the consequences that are now far more obvious. (Global cooling also seemed a possibility)

    I can agree with you about the rest of the environmental depredations but that was not the question I posed in the OP.

    My mind was firmly fixed on Climate Change.

    To be honest I breathed a sigh of relief when Climate Change became obvious as I thought it would force our hand on all these environmental issues - and that we could not be sufficiently collectively stupid to allow Man Made Climate Change to happen.

    I still hope that.I hope that no one can imagine it is someone else's problem .

    These days I hope that the young generations will manage to make the older generation feel the shame they deserve and are able to wrest control before it is too late ( for them- as for us oldies we can afford to be indifferent as we may not have to personally face the consequences of our "good times " )
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, sorry, Erlich. Given that he said that there was no way to avoid hundreds of millions deaths in the 1970's, his future predictions won't be taken very seriously. That's true of anyone who makes such predictions.
    Of course. But the number has been going down, not up overall. Percentage of undernourished people in the world:

    1970 37%
    1980 28%
    1990 20%
    2004 16%
    2007 17%
    2009 16%

    (from UN Food and Agriculture Organization)

    Now if you change that to MALnourished that number is indeed rising. But that's because overeating leading to obesity is classified as malnourishment.

    Well, except that the governments are taking the lead - in improving short term economic behavior at the cost of long term sustainability. And it's not that they are ignoring the will of the people - that's what most people WANT, to be richer in five years.
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Okay, he overestimated. Therefore, nobody who tells you the cost of overpopulation and overconsumption need ever be listened-to again.
    Not even if you can see it happen before your eyes. It's only a tens of millions, not hundreds of millions, so the guy was all wet and by extension, so is everyone else who thereafter predicts a negative outcome to the direction civilization is going.
    Oh, but those pictures are from a war, and that doesn't count, because wars in hell-holes created in poor countries by rich countries have nothing to do with overconsumption in rich countries, or the policies of their governments.

    That's what I said. Governments driven by their economic interest blocs make policies counter to the needs of the planet and both by omission and commission, misinform their people.
    "Go shopping or the terrorists win."
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    "We" are not - even now, but far less so before the internet - privy to all the information that a government can collect - if it's interested in long-term survival. They have all these agencies with state-of-the-art equipment, the best qualified scientists, weather stations, the works. They're supposed to know a lot more than we do. And they're in a position to make changes, regulations, bans, monetary incentives; they're in a position to inform the public or hide the truth.
    They knew. And they didn't give a shit.
    Because making those decisions might be unpopular, might alienate financial backers, might cost money and lose elections.
    (Ed. I have to qualify that. President Carter had solar panels installed on the White House, and president Reagan had them torn off. Some care, but have limited ability and time to implement changes; they're replaced by those who don't care and take two steps backward.
    The previous (liberal) Ontario government had a carbon tax, alternative energy and retrofitting incentives, a pilot GBI program and several more progressive policies. The conservative one that just came in wiped all of those programs and spent an undisclosed amount of tax-money on a lawsuit against the federal government, plus an even larger undisclosed sum on a campaign against cap-and-trade, on top of the $3M lost revenue in the first year.
    That's just to not do anything about climate change.
    He's another mini-Trump)

    They're all interlinked.

    But we were.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I didn't say anything like that. Why are you making up strawmen?
    Nope. Even if people had the whole picture, they'd vote for the politician who gets the stock market to go up in 5-10 years. Because then they retire, see, and who cares what happens after that?

    We have met the enemy, and he is us.
    Capracus likes this.
  16. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    good read

    It seems most likely that during at least 3 of the last 4 interglacials the earth was warmer and sea levels were higher----------and, all of this without our intervention.

    If we can expect a likelihood of natural sea level rise of 9 meters-----------plan for that.
    If you expect a significant alteration of the natural via intervention of h.s.s., ---then plan for that.

    Or: Look to the previous ability of H.S.S.'s long term planning and just expect whatever happens.
    Meanwhile, consider that the genus Homo was doing quite well during those warmer interglacials, and plan accordingly.

    Leave pandering to the whim of the mob to politicians.
    Leave science to the scientists, and those capable of critical thinking.
    Confusing the two is usually not a very good idea.
  17. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Of course.
    The OP question was what form of social control could best deal with the problem, not whether the human species is sane.
  18. sculptor Valued Senior Member


    Everyone who wants to be controlled by someone else raise your hand.
    Everyone who wants to be controlled by people who you do not even know, nor even know who they are, raise your other hand...

    I'm a tad myopic
    Would someone please count the raised hands for me?
  19. geordief Valued Senior Member

    Is there a problem with "the need to alter our behaviours" in the OP?

    Is that "social control"? Would it be bad if it were?

    Is Global Man Made Climate Change an existential threat such that we should collectively reserve the right to appropriate "controlling measures" similarly to those we accept in times of war?

    And what about the technological fixes in post #3 ? Would the risks involved in such measures be better than altering our behaviour in such a way as to inculcate a sense of respecting the biodiversity of the planet which would ,I feel entail a solution to the MMGW/MMCC as part of the package.

    Indoctrination? Brain washing? Impossible endeavour?
  20. spidergoat Venued Serial Memberlist Valued Senior Member

    I want to be governed based on sound science. Stop being a jackass.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    When the wrong predictions by the few are taken as the standard of reference, and the right predictions by the many dismissed thereby, the question to ask is how that happened.
    If we have to wait until the Republican media wing cannot find or invent anyone making poorly founded predictions to exaggerate and hold up as their standard, we'll be waiting a long time.
    (and Ehrich's were not exactly or entirely wrong - take a look at them: if he had been savvy enough to predict war and political collapse instead of passive starvation, his prescience in locating the scenes of future disaster would be notable. )
    "And so"? How did that follow?
    - - - -
    That would mean no more posting of irrelevancies by the uncritical - like this:
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    He is Republican voter us. That's not "us".
    The current US government - voted in by some rigged minority of "the people" - are not making "the people" richer in five years.
    And the crash and burn show they've been putting on for forty years is nobody's idea of "improving economic behavior".
    So you plan to ignore the science?
    The science says this isn't going to be just another interglacial, after all.
  23. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    2.4 billion religious; unknown secular, since half of them had their headphones on and some were picking their noses when you called to roll. Of course, Hindus and Buddhists won't raise their hand for a meaningless question. Anyway, lots.

    Now, hands up everyone who thinks he isn't controlled by people they don't know.

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