The End of Global Warming in 2 Easy Steps
Joyce Park stashed this in Science
Pragmatic and optimistic solutions are rarely ideologically pure... but if we can hopscotch our way to the future via fracking and solar, maybe both environmentalists and conservatives need to get on board with that.
Environmentalists have been the main force behind the fight against carbon emissions. But, as it became apparent that there would be no drastic voluntary worldwide curtailment of industrial society, many seem to have fallen into a funk of despair.
And that's the crux of the political conflict. WAY too many so-called "Environmentalists" simply hate the trappings of modern civilization and seek to curtail and undo it.
Even if the Environmentalists would be willing to compromise -- which they're going to have to do or they'll get nothing -- we still have the issue that other nations have other agendas, too.
The so-called "Environmentalists" need to publicly expel their civilization hating wing and their capitalism hating wing and their 'Owls and lizards are morally superior to humans' wing and their 'humans only destroy' wing (which all together is pretty much the whole movement) and embrace the concept of conservation for human benefit, good stewardship, compromise, and the realization that the only way out of this purported catastrophe is technological advancement to make environmentally damaging activities obsolete.
This actually seems like a promising set of compromises:
The way to save our planet is clear. Step 1 is to embrace natural gas as a "bridge" fuel, limiting the risks from fracking and helping China and other developing countries to switch from coal to gas. Step 2 is to fund research to ensure that the jaw-dropping three-decade plunge in solar power costs continues for two decades more. Natural gas is the temporary ally. Cheap solar is the cavalry that will ride in to finally save the day.
So why won't this work?
The only reason I can think of is people.
Environmentalists, conservatives, economists, and policymakers will have to each be willing to compromise.
That is really, really hard.
Unfortunately professionalized rile-up-the-base with us-vs-them narratives makes it hard for either side to compromise or consider anything other than the emotional/partisan/interest politics. There are a few illustrations in this piece...
...including specifically regarding the environment:
Senior environmentalists have told me that it would be desirable to radically streamline environmental review to enable rebuilding of our country's power grid, but they could never join with industry to support such a speedy process, because their "base" would think they were selling out.
So what's the endgame? We politic ourselves to death?
In any case, the market will trump politics... just as cheap Natural Gas is running coal out of the market, so will eventually cheap solar run it out of the market too.
It's almost schizophrenic how the author acknowledges that the market is doing the work for us, yet insists that "we" somehow try to speed up the process of deprecation... Things happen in the market when the market is ready for it... not one moment before.
Market forces are in a race to beat the point of no return of climate change.
I don't think we're doomed, but systemic reforms at the level Howard discusses (in the link I forwarded and his other articles in that series) need more attention. (Even without believing he's got it all right, at least it's at the right level of analysis, rather than just, 'the other side is abusing the system!') Anything to pop up the stack would help, away from the over-gamed current-issues-politics into the sorts of balance and process issues that the framers/founders did so surprisingly well at.
I believe some of the best changes may be counterintuitive for people who religiously believe "more people voting on more things" is always better. The problem isn't representativeness -- our politics *is* representative of the shallow, inconsistent, unaccountable preferences of distracted voters -- the problem is cogency-of-discourse and accountability-over-time. Those could be easier with fewer polls among fewer people... as long as the people are still representative. For example, I think electoral-juries/sortition (random selection of voters or officeholders) may be overdue for a comeback.
If a law or rule is being written, it needs to be done by our elected representatives.
If a law or rule is being adjudicated, it needs the facts determined by a jury under the oversight of a qualified judge.
If a law or rule needs enforcement, the enforcer needs to be selected in fashion which does NOT permit a "mandate".
I had to look up "sortition". Bravo!
We will not solve our problems if limited to the same words that created them. :)