fred smith wrote:
Personally I believe it is possible to 1) adapt to climate change 2) reduce pollution by an order of magnitude, including CO2 (although whether that matters is up to you to determine) and 3) generate wealth while we do it.
The very admission of the same, would you see, vindicate my argument ALL ALONG on these threads. You are a relative newcomer. Scroll back to the original threads where I always said the issue is to a large degree moot unless any action beyond making people feel good about themselves would lead to anything tangible or beneficial.
Well, fair enough. I was referring to recent threads in which we were unable to steer the conversation past various bits of scientific flotsam. The topic of this thread is hypocrisy (in policy) and I think it's a pretty interesting one.
fred smith wrote:
The uphill struggle is convincing people that doing so will make things better.
Who decides "better?" The capitalist world that this IPCC effort is seeking to subvert through costly bureaucracies to fund the endless desire of many to serve in lucrative functionary positions that has been around since the dawn of time, would actually SLOW the move to the new technologies and the other waste-preventing methods in my view.
Very good point. At the moment its a combination of admen, politicians, and various others with vested interests who decide what's "better". And I agree with you that it doesn't matter whether they work for the IPCC, the US government, the UN, or Save The Rare Fungus - their aim is to channel as much money as possible into their own pockets or those of their friends and cronies. However, they've done an extremely good job of convincing millions of people that their way is the One True Way.
They have also, paradoxically, turned off third-world countries to the idea of sustainable development. When someone says "don't do this", the natural human response, unfortunately, is to do it anyway, often because we imagine that the forbidden activity must offer some sort of hidden benefit.
I suggest we can redefine "better" in the same way the Microsofts, Apples, and BMW's of this world do it: by developing outstanding products to replace those that need replacing. In the absence of political intervention (there's the rub, of course) the market will decide what's "better".
fred smith wrote:
To my mind, consuming less, wasting less, and letting nature give us free stuff must make us more wealthy, but try telling a classical economist that.
You have lost me there.
Well, most economists take "growth is good" as dogma. Yet they rarely examine the nature of growth, or explain why it should be good. Most of the things we consider valuable - security, rule of law, freedom of speech, clean air and water - they really don't "cost" anything, as such. Their existence depends on social constructs, not economic activity, and certainly not on economic growth. Freedom of speech can (in theory) exist in abject poverty.
It seems to me that, for any given increase in economic activity (=consumption of irreplaceable resources), the return (=quality of life) is small to nonexistent, especially once you get past a certain (fairly modest) point of technological development.
Take, for example, industrial agriculture, which has well-documented side effects, produces a poor quality product, and would cease to exist without massive inputs of energy and mined materials. The average US citizen spends about 5% of the average US income on food. Looked at another way, we can say that one person "feeds" (through a complex economic chain) 19 others. Yet most natural-farming advocates estimate precisely
the same level of productivity using modern, low-input methods which require no chemical fertilizers, very limited machinery/energy, and produce almost zero pollution. In various places, natural farming is delivering results in excess of that conservative estimate. That is, most of the economic activity in modern agribusiness, with its attendant consumption and waste, is completely pointless
And have a look at Divea's post back there.
What about her post would be offensive in your view?
Not offensive - just weird. I already answered this question in previous posts, but I cannot comprehend why she thinks poor countries should waste their scant financial resources on polluting, expensive, outdated infrastructure that "advanced" countries would like to discard, when far better methods are available to them at lower cost. You'll note that she didn't have an answer: it's simply an idea that politicians in poor countries find extremely useful, because keeping the hoi polloi poor and stupid means that they can extract whatever they like with impunity. Do you disagree?
We know the world is full of incompetent leeches who make their living spending other people's money on stupid stuff. 'Twas ever thus. Doesn't mean the rest of us can't get on with something useful as best we can.
The very fact that you conclude with this statement, again, vindicates everything that I have been saying for seven to eight years. The ORIGINAL view was not like this. The original view is that Kyoto and other schemes would work and that people like me who scoffed were in the clutches of oil and coal lobbyists. We were the ones who could not see the possible, the unenlightened ones who did not get it. The very fact that this entire thread is now along the lines of the original arguments that I was making often alone is a huge shift in the paradigm. THAT is my point.
In that case, I imagine the rest of this thread could get very interesting!
On the subject of nuclear: personally I think it's just one possible option that will have niche applications during the next couple of decades. In sunny countries with plenty of land area, solar is cheaper and (more importantly) it's very easy to operate and has no inherent safety concerns. Very very few countries have the money, accumulated expertise, and cultural wherewithal to build and operate nuclear reactors safely and effectively. I see the current obsession with nuclear as stemming directly from a one-dimensional focus on CO2, which is just one of many pollutants, and in the grand scheme of things, not the most important one. Improperly-stored nuclear waste is far more hazardous.