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Rippounet

What should be done... about climate change

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there's been a lively debate in new left review recently over the various positions.  one contributor summarizes it broadly as:

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Herman Daly, a pioneer in the field of ecological economics, was quizzed on his programme for a steady-state system by Benjamin Kunkel, n+1 founding editor and author of Buzz. Canadian environmental historian Troy Vettese argued for a pollution-shrinking ‘half-earth’ project of natural geo-engineering and eco-austerity. Taking the opposite tack, the radical economist Robert Pollin called for massive global investment in renewable energy. In the current number, uk-based scholar-activists Mark Burton and Peter Somerville reply with a defence of ‘degrowth’. Still to come are contributions from an eco-feminist perspective and from the global South

despair and reliance on bourgeois writings coincide without remainder.

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19 hours ago, Rippounet said:

I have some time and I'm curious.
I'm wondering what should actually be done to prevent global warming. I see the political and economic angles, but I'm not clear on what it implies for everyone on a daily basis. What would the lifestyle changing measures be? The few I have are:
- Almost eliminating meat. I assume we'd turn to protein alternatives.
- Turning to short circuit production, especially for food (I'll miss guacamole).
- Almost eliminating individual transportation and air travel.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle... Almost no single-use items.
- Better quality devices (less planned obsolescence) that use less electricity.
Has anyone written an authoritative guide to the ecological transition?

You forgot less use of the internet. How much energy the servers and databases eat up gets rarely ever mentioned.

Old Link

I'll leave the thought of how many trees every visitor of this very forum has destroyed over the years for some other time.

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42 minutes ago, Conflicting Thought said:

But like 70% of emissions are caused by only 100 companies.

But all the other companies (and in the end, people) use the stuff those companies produce; we couldn't just shut down the 100 overnight and everything would be fine, the knock-on effects would be catastrophic. But yes, the answer is to force companies to change, not for individuals to make different purchasing decisions.

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1 hour ago, Conflicting Thought said:

But like 70% of emissions are caused by only 100 companies.

some times i think this depopulation "fix" is kind of a dogwhistle (not saying you are doing this) and misses the point entirely, and is offen racist and classist. 

That 100 companies stuff is basic misrepresentation and bullshit. The report that makes that claim attributes all the pollution created by products made by those corporations used by the downstream purchasers of the products back to the corporations. The 100 corporations are actually only responsible for 7% of emissions, the other 90% is caused by the people who use the products.

For example, the report attributes all the pollution caused by people who buy gasoline from Exxon back to Exxon. The way to address that pollution is to have people buy smaller more fuel-efficient cars, or electric vehicles, or to drive less. Now, you could shut down Exxon and thereby eliminate all the gasoline sold by Exxon and it's associated emissions, but presumably other oil companies would sell the drivers gasoline in that event. What then? Shut down all the oil companies? Effectively that's the aim of many countries that want their citizens to switch to EVs, but I bet the automobile manufacturers are on the list of 100 companies as well.

Climate change is being caused by human activity, all humans, by doing the things they do every day, and it's their/our activity that has to to change. As Kalbear said, people need to acquire religion about fighting climate change, and it isn't happening fast enough. I'm one of the people who expects there will be massive 'depopulation' events over the coming decades, as crops fail and heat just kills off masses off people.

Here's an article about the '100 corporations' quote, and how it gained popularity.

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/so-you-think-corporations-are-responsible-for-the-worlds-emissions-its-not-that-simple 

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As to what that religion would look like, that gets more into the idea of what a life would be like.

Specifically:

  • Virtually all meat production as an industrial foodsource is stopped. Including fishing. 
  • Most animal protein would likely come from insects assuming we have any at all
  • Conspicuous consumption is morally outrageous
  • wasting anything - food, clothing, whatever - is morally outrageous
  • Virtually no one travels anywhere far other than to put down infrastructure for nontravel or in emergency cases. 
  • Sprawl is morally outrageous
  • Single family homes are morally outrageous
  • Consumer goods are largely morally outrageous, and are expected to last for a long time without replacement
  • Most entertainment is virtual or does not require in-person travel
  • Vacations become virtual
  • Production of goods becomes 3d printed and you buy designs or rent them. Nothing is shipped regularly, least of all disposable goods. Shipping is done largely via dirigible and is very slow
  • Most food is locally available
  • food preservation becomes a bigger deal
  • Oddly things like computers and other energy consumers become even bigger of a deal, as more actual experiences are shared online instead of in-person
  • Virtual avatars and bling become regular status symbols instead of clothing you wear

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20 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

That 100 companies stuff is basic misrepresentation and bullshit. The report that makes that claim attributes all the pollution created by products made by those corporations used by the downstream purchasers of the products back to the corporations. The 100 corporations are actually only responsible for 7% of emissions, the other 90% is caused by the people who use the products.

For example, the report attributes all the pollution caused by people who buy gasoline from Exxon back to Exxon. The way to address that pollution is to have people buy smaller more fuel-efficient cars, or electric vehicles, or to drive less. Now, you could shut down Exxon and thereby eliminate all the gasoline sold by Exxon and it's associated emissions, but presumably other oil companies would sell the drivers gasoline in that event. What then? Shut down all the oil companies? Effectively that's the aim of many countries that want their citizens to switch to EVs, but I bet the automobile manufacturers are on the list of 100 companies as well.

Climate change is being caused by human activity, all humans, by doing the things they do every day, and it's their/our activity that has to to change. As Kalbear said, people need to acquire religion about fighting climate change, and it isn't happening fast enough. I'm one of the people who expects there will be massive 'depopulation' events over the coming decades, as crops fail and heat just kills off masses off people.

Here's an article about the '100 corporations' quote, and how it gained popularity.

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/so-you-think-corporations-are-responsible-for-the-worlds-emissions-its-not-that-simple 

not exactly. sure, people might over simplify the "71 companies" argument, but the point is that addressing climate change must be a systematic effort and individual consumer choices are insufficient to effect positive change on the scale required. the "well, actually..." arguments come across as a smoke screen for capital, laying the onus for change directly on the consumer while ignoring the fact these massive companies , in addition to directly or indirectly contribute the majority of emmissions, wield outsized power in determining what choices consumers actually have and preventing viable alternatives 

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3 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

not exactly. sure, people might over simplify the "71 companies" argument, but the point is that addressing climate change must be a systematic effort and individual consumer choices are insufficient to effect positive change on the scale required. the "well, actually..." arguments come across as a smoke screen for capital, laying the onus for change directly on the consumer while ignoring the fact these massive companies , in addition to directly or indirectly contribute the majority of emmissions, wield outsized power in determining what choices consumers actually have and preventing viable alternatives 

Oh bullshit. People refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. Like fucking smokers who can't believe they need by-pass surgery. The car companies are eliminating many of the passenger cars they used to make in order to build more and bigger SUVs because people are buying SUVs, not because Ford or GM has power over buyers.

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4 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

Oh bullshit. People refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. Like fucking smokers who can't believe they need by-pass surgery. The car companies are eliminating many of the passenger cars they used to make in order to build more and bigger SUVs because people are buying SUVs, not because Ford or GM has power over buyers.

lol ok, be sure to mention that to the $35 billion a year the automotive industry spends on marketing. 

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2 minutes ago, a good and nice guy said:

lol ok, be sure to mention that to the $35 billion a year the automotive industry spends on marketing. 

Yeah, sure, and people start smoking because they see ads.

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7 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

Yeah, sure, and people start smoking because they see ads.

well yes, i'm pretty sure there is a strong correlation between tobacco advertising and rates of smoking, but thats not really the point. and, for the record, i am not saying that there is no place changes in individuals consumption or lifestyle choice, but that trying to rely on that alone is wildly insufficient, and in many cases not an option at all. like, consider the emissions and pollution associated with the creation and distribution of packaging of consumer groceries. you are basically blaming people that because they have to, yaknow, buy food.

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2 hours ago, Kalbear said:

As to what that religion would look like, that gets more into the idea of what a life would be like.

Thanks that's exactly what I was looking for. 

So it's either a religion or a totalitarian state, right ? Not that the two are mutually exclusive. In fact they're quite complementary. 

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1 minute ago, Rippounet said:

Thanks that's exactly what I was looking for. 

So it's either a religion or a totalitarian state, right ? Not that the two are mutually exclusive. In fact they're quite complementary. 

I think something like that, yes. I think that for a societal change, it needs to be a moral and ethical point in that society.

Iceland is a good example of this - a country that has been entirely ravaged by ecological change. Every aspect of their society considers the ecological impact of it now, because they all understand deeply what it means. That doesn't mean they don't have, say, bottles or things - but it does mean every use of land, every car, every plant, every animal needs to be discussed and evaluated and the like, and this is an 'of course' sort of thing. 

But that's because their society has these as moral underpinnings now. And it took a collapse to get them there. 

I don't know that it has to be a religion, but it needs to be something more than just 'hey, this would be a good thing'. It has to have societal, universal shame behind it. It has to be something that ostracizes the people who don't. 

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33 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I don't know that it has to be a religion, but it needs to be something more than just 'hey, this would be a good thing'. It has to have societal, universal shame behind it. It has to be something that ostracizes the people who don't. 

You need a relatively united society for that though and with a few notable exceptions (mainly China), this just isn't the case today. In fact, in some countries, anything that even vaguely smells of such religion or ethics will almost automatically meet a strong resistance complete with the usual silly counter-rituals (e.g. rolling coal).

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8 hours ago, Zorral said:

Plant trees! Halt the deforestation of Africa, Brasil and southeast Asia, and North America.

Hate to break it to ya, monsieur Rip -- but climate change has already taken place.  But reforestation can do a lot of mitigation.

Also, mushrooms?  Really?  Do you have any idea how quickly they go bad and what that smells like?  Not to mention how difficult the rotting slime is to clean up?  That has to be one of the most stupid ideas I've seen in a long time -- beyond all the supposed ideas that support fascism, racism, sexism, tvillain, etc.

IKEA Starts Using Biodegradable Mushroom-Based Packaging for Its Products

https://medium.com/wedonthavetime/ikea-starts-using-biodegradable-mushroom-based-packaging-for-its-products-42d079f98bb1

Quote

Almost all retail products that we use today come packaged and nearly 50% of all packaging materials are made of plastic. While packaging products in lightweight and durable plastic improves a product’s shelf life and handling convenience, plastic can wreak irrevocable damage on the environment. As awareness about plastic’s drawbacks and legislative restrictions on fossil-fuel based packaging materials increases, alternative “green” packaging materials have been discovered. One such material is Ecocradle, a mushroom-based packaging material, developed by Ecovative Design in 2010 by mycelium technology. The natural and biodegradable Ecocradle can literally be grown in a controlled environment in a week’s time and takes just a week to decompose totally. It fits right into nature’s recycling system.
Mushroom-based packaging went mainstream when the furniture giant, IKEA, announced that it will replace Styrofoam packaging with EcoCradle for all its products. Ecocradle decomposes within weeks as against Styrofoam packaging that can take centuries to decompose. Moreover, it’s cost-effective to produce and almost as durable as plastic.

 

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12 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Woah, I honestly thought I was missing something big, but based on your answers I'm not... :o

So it's really not so bad, provided we act now, uh. Which makes it all the more tragic I suppose.

I'm leaning the other way.
Gas taxes basically mean that individual transportation, exotic fruits, or anything foreign-made, will be luxuries reserved for the richest fucks out there. Many of which happen to have a rather important responsibility in the current problematic socio-economic structure in the first place.
Basically, if you go through taxes, it means you're trusting the market to "self-regulate" in time and you're creating new inequalities on top of existing ones.
 

These are sensible policies.
What worries me is that we may not have the time to make the transition through this kind of progressive, moderate approaches that respect both the market and individual liberties.
For instance, assuming we believe that acting is urgent, is emphasizing a healthy diet really an appropriate answer?

I opened this thread wondering what should/could be done from a bottom-up perspective., because ideally people can start adapting their behavior on their own. But I'm worried that any actual solution would really be a semi-authoritarian top-down one and look like China's credit score.
 

Yeah, I agree on the gas taxes. Plus you will be beset with yellow vest protesters. Fuel standards are  a real win win, as they help the working-class that are reliant on vehicles to get to their jobs, since their vehicles use less gas for the same distance. And investment in renewable energy helps everyone in the long run, even if adoption lags some in the lower income percentiles.

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34 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Ah, not mushrooms per se -- and veddy cool.  Ya, I am for this!

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The EcoCradle packaging is grown with mycelium, a fungal cell combination that, when mixed with byproducts such as oat hulls or buckwheat husks, grows into efficient packaging material without the use of chemicals, water or sunlight. Once the packaging has developed, in just 5 to 7 days, it is treated with heat to prevent future growth and sealed into packing part...

 

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7 hours ago, Kalbear said:

-Outbreak of religion that causes everyone to act as if their very souls require them to morally behave in an ecologically friendly way.

Or perhaps better messaging towards existing religions.

 

 

 

Quote

For the study, Goldberg and his team crafted climate-change messaging specifically oriented towards Christians in order to emphasize the normative value of caring about the environment among people of the Christian faith. The researchers found that messages about climate change that emphasized religion––such as “God made humans responsible for taking care of His creation”––made a much stronger impact on Christians than motivational messages without a religious bent. Plus, messages that highlight religion impacted many Christians’ thoughts on factors such as who should be voted into office and what issues the president should focus on. Notably, the study also found that results did not vary by political ideology, and the religious messaging was equally effective on both liberal and conservative Christians.

 

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4 hours ago, Kalbear said:

As to what that religion would look like, that gets more into the idea of what a life would be like.

Specifically:

  • Virtually all meat production as an industrial foodsource is stopped. Including fishing. 
  • Most animal protein would likely come from insects assuming we have any at all
  • Conspicuous consumption is morally outrageous
  • wasting anything - food, clothing, whatever - is morally outrageous
  • Virtually no one travels anywhere far other than to put down infrastructure for nontravel or in emergency cases. 
  • Sprawl is morally outrageous
  • Single family homes are morally outrageous
  • Consumer goods are largely morally outrageous, and are expected to last for a long time without replacement
  • Most entertainment is virtual or does not require in-person travel
  • Vacations become virtual
  • Production of goods becomes 3d printed and you buy designs or rent them. Nothing is shipped regularly, least of all disposable goods. Shipping is done largely via dirigible and is very slow
  • Most food is locally available
  • food preservation becomes a bigger deal
  • Oddly things like computers and other energy consumers become even bigger of a deal, as more actual experiences are shared online instead of in-person
  • Virtual avatars and bling become regular status symbols instead of clothing you wear

This is why your first bullet point from your first post about total paradigm shifts with energy innovations are our only hope. 

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5 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

Oh bullshit. People refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. Like fucking smokers who can't believe they need by-pass surgery. The car companies are eliminating many of the passenger cars they used to make in order to build more and bigger SUVs because people are buying SUVs, not because Ford or GM has power over buyers.

First I agree with you.

Second, I can't help but to notice the irony of talking about personal responsibility with regards to peoples' carbon footprints and consumer choices, and smokers ending up with heart surgeries, while you were somewhat less onboard with the personal responsibility angle, when I mentioned it with connection to Facebook (during the CA scandal).

 

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9 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Yeah, I agree on the gas taxes. Plus you will be beset with yellow vest protesters. Fuel standards are  a real win win, as they help the working-class that are reliant on vehicles to get to their jobs, since their vehicles use less gas for the same distance. And investment in renewable energy helps everyone in the long run, even if adoption lags some in the lower income percentiles.

Doesn’t personal transport equate to a relitivly small percentage of overall emissions compared to power generation and industry though?, not that I’m not advocating transport to clean up too, I’m sure auto manufacturers could make the switch to electric quicker than it has been going, but the problem is their wanting to maximise profit by keeping gas/diesel around longer, and that most places haven’t got the infrastructure in place for people to switch to electric cars on such a large scale, the change can’t come soon enough though, for the planet as a whole and local air quality in cities.

 

We need to switch to renewable sources of energy for power generation, but again realistically is there enough power available to be generated by renewables?, is nuclear power a safe stopgap option?, I’m kind of undecided there after watching Chernobyl!.

Lastly, we need to get much better at recycling, how some people still don’t bother to separate their rubbish these days is beyond me, what’s even worse is that lots of it still ends up in landfills anyway!, that and our oceans and seas are full of plastic is just absolutely wrong imo.

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