This touches a number of recent climate issues—some new, some familiar.
- The primary issue for climate change is alternative energy sources.
We’re not repealing the industrial revolution.
This shouldn’t be a partisan or a lifestyle issue
We need good science and the will to fight entrenched special interests
- Conservation is important for now but not the main focus
Alternative energy will do the job if we do ours.
Chevy Suburbans are not the issue—we just need to power them differently
“Respect for nature” by primitive peoples is irrelevant (but coming from all directions!)
- This is a fundamentally international problem where what we do for the rest of the world is as important as what we do domestically. We will need to spend money on parts of the world who can’t.
- The fossil fuel companies have an evil influence on progress, but outrage at what they knew 50 years ago is a distraction.
Oil isn’t unclean—we just went too far with it.
The Carter era thought the world was running out of oil in less than 50 years
The key issue is influence of fossil fuel companies now.
- Conversions of coal power plants to gas are still important—they buy time
We’re up against a carbon budget limit—any saving buys time
Progress is still rapid for alternative energy technologies—even electric cars aren’t ready for everyone yet.
Coal plants, especially new ones, continue to be a problem.
- We should stop calling a carbon pricing a tax.
We need to stop the huge fossil fuel subsidy—$1 T per year in the US—that comes from using the atmosphere as a free carbon dump.
We need a plan to make the population whole—and earn the trust we will do it
History and politics
- Obama actually did quite a lot for climate
International unanimity (after many years of failure)
A process to do more in the future
Turning China around (look at China’s line on the emissions chart above)
Seed funding for Tesla and subsidies for electric cars
Note—the US was the primary beneficiary of the Paris Agreement. We’re not being told to stop emitting at twice the rate of anyone else!
- Trump’s effect on progress is far worse than acknowledged
Reversed progress on all environmental issues in the US
Broke international unanimity—okay for everyone including China, Japan, and Germany to backslide with coal power plants
Legitimized attacks on climate action everywhere (Australia)
Continues to block any international cooperation on any issue
- The single most important action is to defeat Trump
He is a roadblock to progress by anyone’s definition.
Any of the Democratic candidates would be good—no one has a real plan yet anyway
- The Green New Deal delivers a necessary coalition for progress
Makes clear that the new world is a good place to be.
Unites all constituencies
Must eventually add carbon pricing.
Not yet a plan
- The youth climate movement is helpful but a little worrisome
Non-partisanship makes it easy to co-opt—speakers at rallies dismiss all establishment parties.
Trump was (in part) elected by young people who thought voting didn’t matter.
- If we can get past Trump, then we all need to get serious about a real plan
Needs to address our current usage
Make sure it happens–what to fix when and by whom
Minimize the hurt (particularly for the disadvantaged)
Recognize full international responsibilities
Don’t expect climate efforts to fix everything. Broader issues include:
Easing workforce disruptions from technology, globalization, etc. (not just from climate)
Infrastructure (much more than climate)
Jobs and wages (unions, minimum wage, role of the public sector)
Racism and sexism (need rules for everywhere)
Inequality overall (need a tax plan)
Other environmental issues will still be there to be solved