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Green Groups at COP 25 Warn Against Market-Driven Solutions to Climate Emergency

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/02/green-groups-cop-25-warn-against-market-driven-solutions-climate-emergency

Amongst the many tortured pretzels of twisted expression laid on the Climate Catastrophe, we find the most choice carbon markets. The Intergovernmental Procrastination on Climate Committee bequeaths oppression a two-fer by promulgating such a pretzel, dipped in snake-oil. We get more rationalizations for our jerk-ass lifestyles when we buy “carbon offsets” to atone for our sins, when we aim public policy at “net zero” emissions. Plus, we get another excuse to exterminate indigenous people of the forest, who don’t show much appreciation for these important conferences, anyhow.

Golly, it’s almost as if the IPCC acts like this on purpose. What purpose, whose purpose?

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Some unconventional thinking is occurring: https://www.academia.edu/41124743/Global_Warming_The_Emergence_of_a_Broader_Approach

Here is a link to the Indigenous Environmental Network video page which provides an introduction to some of interlocutors discussing the hidden side of trying to deal with carbon by attempting to create a “market” for carbon trading.

IT IS A SCAM. It only works if the forest peoples are sacrificed - a genocide - on the alter of the market because the strictures for the market require that they NOT LIVE ACCORDING TO THEIR KNOWN WAYS OF LIFE. The millennia of stewardship traded for wastrel scale capitalism? When does it stop!!!

Even the briefest of pauses to consider the scale of addiction this represents speaks to an astounding systemic shortcoming.

Here is a link to the IEN blog page with further documentation and discussion.

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I’ll see your two oil pipe lines and raise you a coal field. The wall street carbon trading plan. Here is the problem: We are fifty years behind to find a fix for a problem that has thirty years to go!.

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Buy the sky
And sell the sky
And bleed the sky
And tell the sky
Don’t fall on me

– “Fall on Me”, R.E.M.

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Chief Sealth ( Seattle ) said the same thing back in 1857. Chief Seattle in 1857, in response to a US inquiry about buying his tribal lands:

" But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? If we do not own the freshness o the air and the sparkle of the water how can you buy them?"

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Excellent stuff.

It is now clear that the people of the world are in thrall to a Death Cult.
The Fossil Fuel Industry.

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Given his predilections, it may well be that Stipe was aware of that.

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All market-driven solutions are reactionary to problems (opportunities to make money) long after the horse is out of the barn. This is why we need regulations, to prevent bad things from happening and having to clean up after the disasters.

The “markets”, whatever the eff that word means these days, MUST be regulated to the benefit of the common weal. Otherwise, we’ll all die of poison in our food and water, or climate change induced starvation or other dystopian effects.

Waiting for the “market-driven climate emergency solutions” is like waiting to be extorted by corporations. Screw that!

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A free market solution always fails whenever the free market is known to be easily corruptible. It’s too easy to cut down a forest and plant some seedling trees and call it climate progress. It’s too easy to cook the books, and it’s been done too many times before.

Industry goes only after the low hanging fruit. The medium-hanging fruit, out there 5 years to 20 years in the future, is part of what will save humanity from a big population crash. The U.S. military believes that private industry will never go out of their way to make a secret weapon, which is why the military funds their own labs. I say, fund those DARPA-like climate labs or prepare to die off, one or the other.

Make demands. My R&D demands are as follows:

At least 90% renewable electricity. I’ll take 99% if the R&D is promising.

Houses should provide 90% of their own heating, hot water and cooling, with 10% renewable electricity.

Transit should achieve 300 mpg equivalent in electricity. We’ll have to get rid of freeways to do this. We’ll probably go above-street. I would aim for 3 cents per passenger-mile, far less than you’re paying for that automobile.

The Arctic meltdown will put an unacceptable amount of methane in the atmosphere. We must restore the Arctic albedo on land and sea, or else.

Carbon sequestration is partly a function of land management. If you can’t sequester carbon in your yard, you can’t tell your dumb look congressperson how to do it.

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The big polluters plan to solve the problem by using the very same profit driven markets that have created the problem.

The big polluters are getting together for the 25th time to set emissions targets they have no intention of meeting.

Once, again, energy companies are sponsoring the latest round of talks. Endesa, the largest electric utility company in Spain and the biggest corporate greenhouse gas polluter in the country is sponsoring COP 25.

On to COP 26.

This is more than just embarrassing, it’s freaking insane.

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No amount of “market” solutions will be enough or take place quickly enough and on a scale big enough to make a nickel’s worth of difference. Just like individual sacrifices and lifestyle modifications will also be no more effective than spitting into the wind. Nothing short of government (and not just our government but all governments all over the globe), enacting strict and sweeping Green New Deal legislation and enforcing stringent regulations that will impact not just the polluting industries but all of us, will bring about the kind of changes needed. We are going to have to accept the cold hard truth that it is not going to be easy or comfortable to undo what 200 years of raping and indiscriminately polluting our planet have done.

But any halfway rational person knows that it will take a miracle to get even our own government to do the right thing, the sane thing, the ONLY thing that will make a difference, let alone every other government/country across the globe acting in unison. We might as well learn to live with the fact that we are screwed – being led, as we are, by fools in love with their money who would rather die than admit that we “tree huggers” were right – and deal with how best to face the final days… whether to go out with a bang or a whimper.

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No, there are no regulating markets to do things they cannot do. Fact of the matter is that tons of information is missing in markets and there are no realistic ways to monetize these things, at least if you are trying to create an actually existing sustainable economic system. There are ways that silly neoclassical economists monetize non-market impacts, but their methods have nothing what so ever to do with an actually sustainable economic system. The ecological economists have long been entirely correct about this, as Joan Martinez Alier said, there are no ecologically correct prices, but most economics schools refuse to teach ecological economics, or the history of economic thought for that matter. Just reality-less, nonsense neoclassical drivel. Think of it this way. There are an estimated 80,000 chemicals produced in the US’s industrial and agricultural economies. Is the silly logic that we should price the ecological impacts of those chemicals? They are all have different ecosystem impacts, and the impacts will vary by ecosystem. If we were to monetize these things, and you as a consumer went to the store to buy products that generated all those chemicals and pollutants, are you expected to take into account the ecological impact of those 80,000 chemicals, along with the species extinction rate, soil erosion, deforestation, dead zones in the Gulf? And even if that was the expectation, lets say the price of the chips you used to buy went up massively. Why? Which ecological impact caused the price increase? Kind of a problem, as ecological information and tacit knowledge cannot be passed through markets. Then, what to do with the limits to growth?

The fact of the matter is the we need a very comprehensive form of economic planning, one on the scale normally found in socialist economic systems, and if we want to avoid an authoritarian form of planning, we have to democratize the economic system immediately. Neither party has any interest in this. These empty people would rather see the ecosystems worldwide collapse than let go of capitalism, and they are such empty shells that they would try to argue that doing so is practical and realistic.

It’s a shame too, cause if you look at what cosmologists are saying, we may be one of a small handful of advanced civilizations in the entire galaxy. Here we have this beautiful planet, a habitable planet with lots of water, and we won’t change because we really want to continue on buying gadgets and continue on with an economic system that will destroy this beautiful planet of ours. We were smart enough to build lots of great technology, but couldn’t be bothered to pay much mind to the laws of ecosystems. And since our society is hierarchical, this really does fall on those that are at the top of the social structure. They owned the media, they controlled most of our discourse, they controlled the economy, and they have utterly failed humanity. Capitalism will be what does us in, so anyone defending that damn system (Warren included) should be made to take responsibility for what is happening.

Even if these things could be monetized, the costs of everything would explode and it would be obvious that market are a clunky and unrealistic means of dealing with this issue.

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John Acheson (Why we need a New Green Deal) remarks in his thread:

The second report says we must we move from looking at needed actions through the lens of neoclassical economics—the current framework employed by the IPCC—to a risk assessment model.

Mr. Acheson cites the two latest reports out, the ‘emissions gap’ report by the UN, and the Nature ‘Comment’ of Lenton et al - Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against.

I agree that a ‘risk assessment’ approach is needed.

The risk assessment was the subject of an entire article in The Guardian just after it came out - Scientist’s theory of climate’s Titanic moment the ‘tip of a mathematical iceberg’.

The Astronomer Royal of the UK, Martin Rees, has I believe espoused this approach, and was insrumental in the formation some years back of CSER - the Center for Existential Risk in the UK, and has written several popular articles and at least one book on the subject.

Few people like math or formulas, so I won’t drag my fingernails across a blackboard here, but suffice it to say that as a mountaineer and pilot, this type of risk assessment is made on an ongoing basis, without the math - in one’s head - and it works !

If the risk of allowing the climate and the ‘planetary emergency’ to runaway is real - with the consequent threat of our own species destruction and that of innumerable fellow creatures - then any sane response is to err on the side of caution big time, i.e., don’t go there !

To get back to the title and subject of this thread - while we will undoubtedly try market solutions, and perhaps a Green New Deal - I for one think we will find them inadequate - not up to the task.

By the time we figure this out - more valuable time will have passed.

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And our current crop of political leaders worldwide are not good at risk assessment. They are lawyers, or glad handing politicians, or in the worst case - on the take from big money. Big Money is seldom in touch with reality - they think risk is losing money.

One businessman who does appear to see the light is Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, which is not publically traded. Yvon really is a climber - and understands the risk assessment I spoke of in my earlier comment. Peter Ward, paleontologist and extinction expert, was also an adventurer in his youth, a professional salvage diver, and likewise intimately familiar with real skin in the game. It is I think no coincidence that he wrote the 2007 book “Under A Green Sky”, which is totally on board with those new findings by Lenton et al (linked to above), because the past really has seen all of this before. When things runaway - all hell breaks loose - we definitely, definitively, DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE !!!

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It is kind of mind blowing that these people use neoclassical economics to deal with this issue. It really is, most of the theories in neoclassical economics, all the way down to a demand curve being a nice straight line or a nice looking curve, are based on assumptions that are not found in reality. Instead of studying reality-less nonsense, they could have read the socialist side of the socialist calculation debate. Everyone from Karl William Kapp and Otto Neurath to the later period Oskar Lange. But, they took the Austrian side in that debate, where the idea was to expand markets to internalize these impacts into the pricing mechanism. It isn’t realistic, and what many of the Austrians said in that debate regarding knowledge and informational limitations of planning authorities applies much more to individual producers and consumers, and the tacit knowledge that Hayek talked about (the difficulties of, for example, passing on tacit information through a planning mechanism), there are much more problems in that regard with markets.

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Global warming a swindle? The latest:

Gopherit

I’m afraid you are talking way over my head here in economics - I’m a geologist - mostly an adventurer and outdoorsman - addicted to risk. I just realized just a few days ago with all this talk of neo-classical economics and such that I have always just looked at the planetary crisis thru the lens of risk management - as I do most things I suppose.

@Hemp made a comment the other day that struck me - that ‘both socialism and capitalism’ - and I would think communism - they are all Oligopolies. History would concur I believe. You know, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions…’

Dennis Meadows, one of the authors of the 1972 “Limits to Growth” Club of Rome Report - he has stated that we are not going to make it thru this debacle without collapse - he is dead sure of that.

I am not of that mind - but I look around day to day - people are still blissfully unaware - most simply don’t read non-fiction - so many are religious.

But that may be OK - it never stopped us from reacting once the threat was clear and present.

But right now - we get carried away preaching and listening to the proverbial choir of ‘informed’ citizens - we are a tiny minority.

AND - we lack real leadership.

It’s a problem - a big one.

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