I'm serious as foot cancer. You all expect me to say something like I'm serious as dick cancer but I'm trying to clean up my act.
Okay, I'm serious as dick cancer.
When I say we all have to give up something we love, I actually mean we have to give up a lot of things we love. We DO NOT have to give up the things we love most. In fact, in terms of doing something real about climate change, giving up things we THINK we love will protect the things we REALLY love for us and future generations.
My main argument with the way Bill McKibben is approaching activism (not that Bill knows who I am or cares) is that he is working only on the supply side of the carbon-energy equation. Please believe me, this is a very minor disagreement. No two people agree completely and I will take Bill as he is, the most important, the most effective climate activist alive today. The only agreement that matters is that we are on the very precipice of a planet-encompassing disaster. No one person has shouted that louder, and made people believe it than Bill McKibben.
So instead of bitching that Bill doesn't talk carbon consumption - conservation issues enough, I'm going to start talking about them myself. I'm not going to quit being an asshole. I'm going to try to be a more useful asshole.
Along those lines, how about supporting this Daily Kos outfit.
Why the consumption side?
Here's why. In a Market-Based World Economy, reducing consumption reduces demand. It lowers fuel prices. Lowering fuel prices helps the World Economy and is just as effective at keeping oil and coal in the ground as treaties or laws limiting production or transport of carbon fuels. No, more effective -- certainly more realistic and more immediately implementable.
In a Market-Based World Economy, limiting the supply-side, limiting production and transport of carbon-based fuels increases fuel prices and harms the World Economy. For those of you who want to attack climate change by first creating World Socialism, go ahead and stop reading now. I won't say good luck with that because luck won't do it. That takes war. I'm a Socialist at heart. Hopefully someday in the future of this planet Socialism (or something more socialistic) will be widespread and successful -- but that won't happen in time to save the planet from the very-immediate catastrophic effects of climate change. Just won't happen.
Which of these will work? Not work better in a Market-Based Economy -- work at all.
Shift climate treaties to get the carbon-based-fuel-producing countries to limit production and transportation of carbon fuels. Tell the Saudis and and the Emirates and Russia and Nigeria and Venezuela (and all the net carbon-fuel producing countries) to start shutting in the wells and closing the mines. Tell them to lose economic productivity. Tell them to quit making so fucking much money. I should include the USA here because if we start exporting a buttload of coal, convert our transportation fuels more toward natural gas and start exporting a buttload of oil, we too will become net carbon-fuel producing. I think Great Britain is in there too, but not for long, which is a good point that McKibben makes.
Shift climate treaties to get the carbon-based-fuel-consuming countries to limit consumption of carbon fuels. Tell the larger quantity of countries, with more of the World population, a greater share of World industrial and economic productivity, that they must limit carbon fuel consumption. Tell them to gain economic productivity via lower fuel prices. Tell them they have to start making more fucking money.Actually it will take a mix of both of these, but the second one has to come first if we're to avoid disaster, genocide and all that horrid horse shit.
BIG problem: both of these involve the jackbooted, iron-knuckled hand of the rule of law. Tough fucking shit. We in the Developed World need to change our lifestyles drastically, and nowhere is this more true than right here in the United States of America. We have to be FORCED to change our lifestyles. That means YOU, Liberal American. It also means the wingnut crazy fucks and Teabaggers if that makes you feel any better - it does me - a lot. I've heard arguments against this in the past couple of years coming from my fellow progressives and liberals. I'll use the rest of the diary in answering these arguments.
Developments in green energy technology will come along just in time to prevent a climate disaster while allowing us to maintain something close to our current lifestyles.
No. They won't. No one with anything resembling a complete understanding of the potential of these technologies, even if everything goes perfectly in their development and even with a huge increase in government funding BELIEVES THIS. The most optimistic forecasts are that green technologies will cover 30% of our total projected energy needs by 2050 (pay close attention to that word "total"). We. Don't. HAVE. Until. 2050! So we have to cut our total projected energy needs. Don't tell me about studies that show Australia can power itself 100% with wind and solar in the next 30 years or whatever. It's bullshit. Studies like that are bad science and you won't find a serious scientist or economist who puts any stock in them. Bad science doesn't help.
I support climate change activism. I deserve to put my dogs in the mini-van and take them out into the country-side once a week. They love it so, and it lets me decompress after a week of pressure in my job mostly because of that bitch Melody.
No. You don't deserve that. What did you do? Star some of McKibben's tweets? No. Get off your fat ass and WALK your dogs someplace closer to your house. They'll love it just as much. Because they're dogs. I agree with you about Melody though. What a bitch.
Look. I want to avoid climate change and all but I don't see why they should have to raise taxes to do it.
Fuck you. We're raising your taxes.
I'm an environmentalist myself. I gave money to that Ted Danson guy who is against them drilling off our beautiful California coast. That would destroy the wonderful view from my house, right between the utility pole and the convenience store you can see a patch of ocean. No shit. But here's the thing. I own a totally restored '59 Vette. I like driving fast man. I get out on the PCH going North and let me tell you, it's what I love. You can't tell me I don't deserve that.
You don't deserve that. Stop it. Stop talking.
I don't want the government telling me how warm I can keep my house or business during the Winter, nor how cool during the Summer. I don't want the government telling me I can't travel as far and as often as I like either by train or car or plane. And I have a better idea than those laws anyway. All you have to do is increase the carbon ratio assessment differential exception tada tada tada...
Sorry to stop you. Ideas are fine. But if you think they'll delay or lessen the changes we have to make in our individual lifestyles, then you're not being intellectually honest. We have to start with changes that affect US personally, most of all. We have to give up things we love, things we think we deserve, even things we don't see how we can do without. We have to do that first before we expect anyone else on the planet to change what they're doing. We have to accept drastic change. We have to support laws that make everyone use less fuel, whether they like it or not. We have to give up some things we love. Or I assure you, we are going to Hell.
UPDATE: A Siegel has a DIARY up wherein he claims I created at least somewhat of a strawman argument with regard to Bill McKibben. I for one think A Siegel is right about that. I didn't mean to, of course, but I did that. Read that diary. It's good. Very good. I agree with it very near completely. And rec that diary up. If excellent diaries like that don't make the rec list and my goofy shit does, we have a problem. Fix the problem.