It’s clear that 2018 was a terrible year for Earth’s climate. California saw the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in its history, the continually thawing Arctic got down to the last 5% of its oldest and thickest ice, and after slowing in recent years, greenhouse gas emissions were once again on the rise. This year was the fourth hottest on record.
Better technology can and should be part of the solution, but depending on the very thing that caused a problem, to solve the problem, is always dangerous, especially if that solution depends on consumers. For example, with the current low gas prices, sales of hybrid and electric cars in the U.S. are down at a time when the crisis has reached emergency status. The American consumer will continue to buy gasoline cars as long as they can afford gasoline and politicians know it. No politician is going to push for higher gas prices to force consumers into buying electric cars. That would be political suicide. For damn sure, if we have to wait till sometime in the 2040s for consumers to have transitioned over to electric cars - and that’s an industry based guess and pure speculation, by the way, - we may have already passed the point of no return.
The one portion of this article left out: the Stimulus bill. It amounted to the largest public investment in renewable energy in the country’s history and is widely credited with sparking the modern renewable energy market. Notably, Republicans tried to dismantle the renewable energy tax credits, but those vile corporate sellout Democrats who just don’t understand the need for clean energy development kept them in the budget as part of the last negotiations.
Unless energy demand is decreased the effect of increased renewable energy will fall far short of any goal. The main problem in not technological but political. Fossil fuel companies want to remain profitable and fossil fuel workers want to keep their jobs. Also, people in developing countries who lack electricity do not want to wait for renewable energy to be implemented so many coal-powered plants are being built. I would say there is no realistic hope to stay below 1.5C. There a temperature lag in the system and their are aerosols in the atmosphere from coal burning that have a cooling effect by reflecting sunlight and right now are keeping the Earth slightly cooler than it would be otherwise. Coal-burning needs to be stopped but the aerosols need to be accounted for. More than 1.000 coal-burning plants are under construction or are being planned so there is no reason for optimism. There may be a slight chance to stay below 2C but almost no developed country is on track to meet its pledge to reduce emissions and those pledges would lead to a temperature increase of over 3C. The good news on global warming is overwhelmed by the bad news, To make matters worse fascist leaders have gained power in the Russia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, and the US and are gaining strength in other countries.These leaders depend on a fictional view of their countries and in some cases the fictional view of science as in the US. For the most part things are lining up for catastrophic climate change that is unimaginable a this time.
So what’s the real story behind right-wing climate change denial? These money grubbers are not stupid, so they have a plan or direction not widely known. Off planet? Miracle fix we don’t know about? Plans to move to higher ground, and or, live underground with questionable energy resources to sustain themselves?
It’s just the lemmings that are screwed.
The “explosion” of clean energy is happening in other countries—not in the U.S., the world’s biggest polluter—and until it does, that shred isn’t enough for anyone or anything to survive on.
Most right wing deniers are not wealthy. They are ordinary people who do not trust people they refer to as elites including climate scientists. They don’t need a plan because they don’t believe anything bad is going to happen. They trust people like Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh. Those who are wealthy and are just lying don’t have a plan either because there is no possible plan. They are just going along with all the greed that surrounds them and can’t turn around and do the right thing for the long run rather than the wrong thing for the short run.
They don’t all think of these things identically, but I think we can generalize.
They tend to conclude that the only practical way forward is to step up their brinkmanship, burning more energy for arms. They intend to continue to plunder other areas and peoples for such solutions as might exist to such problems as they might cause.
Their rationale seems to run something like this:
- Humans are intrinsically venal and foolish, and cooperation would require altruism; therefore, people will continue to fight each other murderously rather than cooperate for resources.
- Since cooperation between humans must fail abysmally, and regenerative ecology requires cooperation, regenerative ecology with humans must fail.
- Since regenerative ecology with humans must fail, and the Earth is populated by very many humans, some sort of severe crash or severe problems are to be expected.
- Since some sort of crash must be expected, and not all humans may be expected to survive or to live well following such a crash, the key project or question to be resolved is how to be among those who survive and thrive, not how to avoid or reduce the crisis in general.
- Since humans cannot cooperate and resources shall inevitably run short, coercion is necessary to retain access to resources.
- Since coercion is necessary, and high-tech hydrocarbon and nuclear fueled military hardware is the best known for coercion, flagrant and merciless use of the last such resources to the last drop and to the last man is the best of all available worlds.
One would think that no one would publicize such a philosophy. It is almost tantamount to Geoffrey Dahmer selling his memoirs before his arrest. But apparently different people of such persuasions need to contact each other to exercise influence. So we have publications by people like Kissinger, Brzezinski, Huntington, Wolfowitz, et al.
And of course these people advise presidents and bankers and oil and communications magnates and other influential psychopaths.
The world’s biggest polluter is China, not the US which is second by quite a bit. I would say the “explosion” of renewable energy is happening in some states. I think Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa would qualify for wind and California and Hawaii for solar. You can find the energy mix for electricity for every state at the link below.
People are not lemmings.
We will survive.
“Think mobile phones overtaking landlines”, that sounds about right. Your cost will quadruple and it will not work in many places.