In what's being called the People's Climate Case, families from eight different countries have come together to sue European Union (EU) institutions for failing to adequately address the global climate crisis that's threatening their livelihoods.
If we wanted to inhibit and reverse climate change, and the Koch brothers don’t,
If we wanted to inhibit and reverse climate change, and Congress doesn’t,
If the European Union wanted to inhibit and reverse climate change, then they would already be performing the following research:
We need buildings that store solar heat and bring it in at night. Heating is a major use of fossil fuels, and warm, concentratable sunlight falls on almost every building.
We need automated, above-grade zip-line transit to cover the last mile problem between subways and garages. Automobile/truck transit (and freeway construction) is a huge energy hog.
We need nighttime electricity generation. Solar thermal is one horse in the running. Solar power towers would undercut even photovoltaics if they could solve the bird kill problem, and that solution is at hand.
We need Arctic albedo remediation to prevent a massive methane and CO2 release. This fight is going to take money, not 100th as much money as a war but we should be prepared to do a job.
We need all this stuff pretty fast too. So, EU, where is your climate moon shot? Do you have a frisbee shot at least? Then we’ll ask the same question of Massachusetts, of California, of your state or of your progressive region. Where’s the beef?
We need a class action suit.
We need to de-elect a number of (a) culties and (b) two-faced public servants who often say the right thing, then vote the other way.
My first love was Mother Earth. A sassafras sapling yanked from her loins, rinsed in the lake, and gnawed on for hours was among her first charms. I weep that people grow up not knowing her. They don’t read Emerson. What a loss. Viva Pacha Mama.
A much broader canvas for “the art of the possible”
The problem is none of these families have any resemblance of an idea what they are demanding. I find it interesting how economics is a driving factor for why these families are suing the EU, yet they are not aware of the fact that more drastic action could greatly impact the global market resulting in just as much economic harm if not more than what these families are currently facing.
If youre interested in learning about various decarbonization feasibility studies please read the following article, which goes into depth about the economic challenges facing such scenarios:
I am in my 70’s and have been active for 50 years trying to wake the people to this impending nightmare that is about to overwhelm us all, we have gone too far and now have to live and die with the consequence of our stupidity, I truly believe that most of us, myself included will live to see the end of the world, what Mother Nature has in store for us, plus a few Nuclear exchanges will seal our fate . .
Really? How do you think that stacks up against a planet that is on the road to becoming uninhabitable? What do you think those costs would be? Hint: orders of magnitude higher than the costs you’re focused on.
The source you provided is merely a meta-study – a review of other studies. I didn’t create an account on that site (or pay the fee?) to read it, but the summary doesn’t offer much on your point.
When you add in the external costs, fossil fuels simply don’t come close compared to renewable resources. External costs include (but aren’t limited to): health costs, environmental degradation (including habitat), social justice (unfairly imposing costs on those least able to bear those costs), lost real estate and other property values, displacement of entire populations of people, animals and plants, and so on. As usual, you ignore these, because you only look at internalized costs – does my coal plant cost more or less than your renewable resource? Guess what, it turns out that even on internalized costs, coal and natural gas can’t compete, or in the very near future won’t be able to compete.
Apparently you think you can just make this shit up and people will believe it – the urban myth, Goebbels’ “keep telling the lie and eventually they’ll believe it,” nonsense.
If you cause an entire nation, take a Pacific island nation of your choice for example, and make its entire land mass uninhabitable because you’ve polluted the climate with CO2 and its equivalents, you seem to think you have no responsibility for that. Well, guess what, you are responsible.
And it’s not just some small Pacific island nation population we’re talking about here, it’s nearly 10% of the global population – some 634 million people are at-risk from rising sea levels.
Im not comparing externalized costs on a global scale. I am comparing the suspected cost on these specific families to the potential implications that a $50 to $70 carbon tax could have on an economy if implemented in a very short time frame on these specific families.
Yes the externalized costs from fossil fuels is a lot of money and if left unmitigated the long term economic damage would be magnitudes greater than if we take action today. However, I do not think these families truly appreciate the economic effect of drastic action taken to curb emissions.
Unfortunately we live in a time, when our major sources of media do not take the time to divulge information in the context of scale. We see a single story on renewability for a population of 5,000 people and media institutions take that information and come to conclusion that the USA with a population of 328 million people should just as easily be able to do it in a ten year time scale. That’s ridiculous.
Just because you hear some green blog post about how we want 100% renewable energy and zero carbon by 2030, does not in any way prove that such a proposition is logistically feasible or economically advisable. You cant just tell a nation that we demand all fossil fuel infrastructure to be terminated in the next 15 years, without first recognizing the economic cost of such an action. Sure we will be better off in the long run, but if these families cannot afford food for the next 5 years because drastic action was made for the better long term, I don’t think such a proposition is actually in these clients best interest.
When then are net benefits from taking action, there’s no reason for those least able to bear costs to be burdened with them. That is a political choice, not an economic one.
There are net benefits over time, but what about the immediate costs that can play a large role on these families lives? My argument was simply respective of the families filing a suit, because the suit is for their own personal reasons not the greater good. Drastic action could be against their own livelihood and while there are potential net benefits for everyone in the context of this particular suit I don’t believe they truly understand the gravity of the potential costs on their livelihood in the next 10-15 years.
Lets look at this in an example. Say a country decides that they want to drastically reduce petrochemical production to reduce CO2 emissions in order with a suit made by several farmers who are experiencing issues due to a warming climate. Now in the long run this may reduce the rate of warming and yield better results for these farmers in the future. On the other hand a drastic reduction in petrochemicals can lead to a reduction in fertilizer production, which their crops rely on. This reduction in fertilizer coupled with warmer climates can negatively compound the poor performance of their farms production. Therefore while the long term benefit may be beneficial the immediate cost may result in even fewer yields of crops and they may no longer be able to support their farms because their production is so low.
This has nothing to do with politics- its a recognition of opportunity cost.
Unfortunately, to a great extent, it’s the fossil fuel industry that gets the opportunities and the rest of us that get the costs – this is what externalities are all about.
But, to the extent fertilizers are part of the climate problem at a level significant enough to address, then the farmers have their own externalities to bear. To the extent the fossil fuel industry has successfully marketed petro-fertilizers when and where they can be avoided or used in reduced volume, the fossil fuel industry is the source of the externality – and excess use of fertlizers increases climate impact at an exponential rate so, to the extent they have encouraged excess use, they are once again culpable.
Regardless, the first step is to require the source of externalities to bear those costs. Where that cost is deemed execessive or inappropriate, then it is a political issue of redistributing that burden to others.
But your example narrows the case too much. The fossil fuel industry is the source of most of our climate change problem – not because of fertilizers, but because of CO2 and methane emissions, primarily associated with the combustion of their products. To the extent the farmers are damaged by that, the fossil fuel industry should be made to compensate them for the damage, for they are the source of that damage and they have affirmatively sought to misinform the public about the impacts of their product on the rest of us. The latter point should open them up to punitive damages, on top of the compensatory damages from their product.
Finally, your attempt to put the farmers in the position of choosing between long-term benefits and costs versus short-term benefits and costs, is a red herring. In the absence of addressing climate change now, the farmers are doomed because the climate will not support them – either in their farming or in their general ability to inhabit the planet. The truth is, they have no choice but to address climate change now. In the meantime, the fossil fuel industry, having successfully pushed trillions of dollars of externalities out the door and on to the rest of us over the past century or so and having profited greatly in the process, should be made to pony up the money to address the problem.