Mainstream liberals are unwilling to acknowledge the full scope of what would need to happen in a world heading toward 9 billion people seeking decent lives.
- The following are Naomi Klein's Inconvenient Climate Conclusions December, 9, 20 11
A great many American conservatives have come to see climate science as a threat to their core ideological identity. In the book entitled Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, they say that many of the key scientists behind the denier movement hold a similar point of view – they are old-school Cold Warriors who came to see fighting environmentalism as a battle to protect “freedom” and the American way of life.
There is a massive gap between the euphoric expectations of the environmental movement and the real political outcomes. A large segment of the U.S. population is rejecting the science altogether. I think we need to admit that climate change really does demand a profound interrogation of the ideology that currently governs our economy. And that’s not bad news, since our current economic model is failing millions of people on multiple fronts.
Market incentives and R&D investments can get us to 80 per cent emissions reduction by mid-century. Some very powerful players are going to have to lose if we ever decide to get serious about climate change, which is why the denial movement is so well funded. A recent example is the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline.
We all know that real solutions lie in shifting to renewable energy. But in the meantime we also need to ask our governments to say ‘no’ to the dirtiest extraction projects on the planet – projects that, if fully realized, would make catastrophic climate change far more likely. And since the eighties, our governments have gotten really bad at saying no to corporations, in large part thanks to the triumph of the no-intervention (except when we need a bailout) “free-market” ideology represented by the Heartland Institute. The Heartland crowd likes to claim that climate change is a socialist conspiracy to redistribute wealth. It’s not a conspiracy, but it’s absolutely the case that climate change raises very troubling questions about the true costs of the wealth that has accumulated in the Global North. It’s also the case that climate talks will remain virtually deadlocked until our governments deal with this thorny issue of historical responsibility.
Investment in public infrastructure is another form of government intervention in the market – not just R&D but building public transit systems and smart grids, and shoring up levees and sea walls and the like. There is no question that robust public infrastructure is key to both reducing emissions and preparing for the heavy weather that we cannot avoid. Yet for the right-wing think tanks that sponsor the Heartland conferences (not to mention the modern-day Republican party), this is ideological heresy. Their whole reason for being is to shrink the public sphere in the name of low taxes and the benefits of privatization. What I’m arguing is that the idea that we can win the climate fight without engaging in ideological battle over these core questions about the role of government has always been a fantasy.. It’s no coincidence that the countries with the most enlightened climate policies are also, overwhelmingly, the most social democratic.
Research coming out of Yale’s Cultural Cognition Project has found that the major determinant of whether a person rejects the scientific consensus on climate change is whether they have a strongly “hierarchical” or “individualistic” worldview. One set of stats that didn't make it into my piece: 78 per cent of subjects who display an “egalitarian” and “communitarian” worldview believe that most scientists agree climate change is happening (which is true) – compared with only 19 per cent of those with a “hierarchical” and “individualist” worldview.
Basically the argument is that we who live in the industrialized countries that emitted most of the carbon that created the climate crisis have to acknowledge our historical responsibility, first by leading the way on emission reductions, then by offering assistance to countries that did little or nothing to cause the crisis but are suffering the worst effects. That assistance can take many forms, from debt forgiveness to technology transfers, to direct economic support (perhaps through a tax on financial transactions). This assistance will provide opportunities for poor countries to meet their development goals in ways less ecologically costly than extraction-based exports.
China and India have already invested heavily in emission reducing technologies, despite the fact that they are not required to do so under Kyoto. In fact China has been doing so much, the U.S. has challenged its renewable energy policies at the WTO (another argument for why “free trade” is a menace to climate action). I’m convinced that if the U.S. had come to Copenhagen with science-based emission targets, it would have been a game changer. Partly because when the U.S. refuses to accept its historical responsibility, it strengthens the hand of developing country politicians who want to cloak polluting, destructive and often corrupt development practices in anti-imperialist rhetoric.
But it’s also the case that these governments are under intense popular pressure within their own countries to adopt less ecologically damaging policies. (This will be very clear during the upcoming summit in Durban, a city with a highly mobilized and militant movement against environmental racism. See: groundwork.org.za.) China’s environmental movements are also formidable, as are India’s, though they often express themselves as battles against mining or mega-dams. If developing country governments are no longer able to play the anti-imperialist card to defend dirty development, these movements will be much better positioned to win significant environmental victories.
A great recent example is Bolivia: Evo Morales’s government has championed the idea of “climate debt” at the UN, but at home Morales has been pursuing development projects that don’t match his rhetoric of environmental concern. Over the past few months, Morales has faced an internal uprising, led by indigenous groups, and was forced to make significant concessions.http://www.readersupportednews.org/news-se...ate-conclusions
U.S. Believers Favor International Action on Climate Change, Nuclear Risk
Seven in ten (70%) among Evangelicals think that there is NO consensus among scientists that urgent action on climate change is needed and that enough is known to take action.
This is what we need to put on a BUS sign.
Evangelical is a term that is meaningless as there are degrees of what these people believe, but that said, 26.3 percent of Americans are evangelicals.
For conservative evangelicals' political activism is around the issue of abortion, in addition school prayer, sexual morality and homosexuality have been energizing factors—and above all, the fear that elites are pushing America into secularism. Survey data shows that 40 to 25% of evangelicals accept the proposal for a Christian America—that is a nation in which Christianity is given a privileged position.http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/uniini/release...?ArticleID=2576
Dick McManus for Congress, D-WA, 2012 for 1st, 2nd, or 10th CD
Democrat, Everett, WA
Chief Warrant Officer/counterintelligence special agent, US Army, retired.http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DickMcManusforCongress/
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