Consequences of climate change

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:06 am UTC

To be fair, it is certainly true that science reporting is overall pretty bad, and I don't think climate reporting is exempt from that. I just don't think that Gore is somehow especially bad, and in my experience, climate science reporting from left-leaning sources is often better than reporting on other fields, such as nutrition, medicine, astronomy, physics, and particularly evolution.

Right-leaning sources, however, have appallingly terrible reporting of climate science, to the point where it is simply dishonest. There is no comparison between the two.

p1t1o
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby p1t1o » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:54 am UTC

Sounds deep but doesnt hold water. We could easily still have capitalism with clean energy.

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PM 2Ring
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby PM 2Ring » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:27 am UTC

p1t1o wrote:Sounds deep but doesnt hold water. We could easily still have capitalism with clean energy.

Indeed. Capitalism doesn't intrinsically imply that you're free to pursue your economic goals without cleaning up any messes you create in the process.

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Pfhorrest
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:33 pm UTC

I think there are two different but compatible things being said here:

1) If we just had a source of clean energy that would fix climate change without having to get rid of capitalism or anything like that.

2) If we keep capitalism then we are unlikely to develop sufficient quantities of sufficiently clean energy sufficiently soon because the motives to do so won’t exist in the market.
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Thesh
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby Thesh » Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:49 pm UTC

More specifically, the only way to solve environmental problems within an economic system that inherently rewards decision makers for overconsumption, waste, and pollution is to use government to limit consumption, waste, and pollution. The biggest problem is that within capitalism, the wealth of the wealthiest people depends on maintaining the status quo, and since they have so much political power it's extremely difficult to get government to do anything more than just barely enough to make the public not concerned about the problem - especially when so much propaganda is dedicated to ensuring that people do not have the will to solve it.
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby elasto » Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:19 pm UTC

Exactly. There's nothing intrinsic to capitalism that says we must privatise profits and socialise externalities. Something like cap and trade is perfectly compatible with capitalism.

As Thesh says though, the issue is that wealth and political power form a feedback loop, and nothing grows wealth quicker than privatising profits and socialising costs, which, in the case of climate change, has been occurring for a century or more.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:58 pm UTC

To bring things down to earth, the current reality is that green energy is overall more expensive than conventional energy unless externalities are considered. There is not, at present, a mechanism to internalize those costs, and the free market has not found a solution. So if we are serious about doing something about climate change, we have to change the market. That may be tantamount to blasphemy to some libertarians, but it's not the equivalent of destroying capitalism. A system like carbon credits is not a tax, it just forces companies to pay for the costs they incur.

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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby ijuin » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:04 am UTC

The problem with methods of internalizing those external costs (e.g. via tradable carbon credits) is that the people who don’t want to pay for it (largely because they would need to buy the largest amount of them) have sufficient power to block the enforcement of such a system to begin with.

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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby elasto » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:54 am UTC

Another problem is that climate change needs a coordinated, world-wide solution. If America implements a carbon tax and Africa doesn't, it doesn't really help the world if American firms just offshore their CO2 production because it works out the cheapest option once a carbon tax comes in...

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:00 pm UTC

You need an international agreement, which is the whole point of all these agreements we were signing until something happened a couple years back.

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Zamfir
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Re: Consequences of climate change

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:47 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:The problem with methods of internalizing those external costs (e.g. via tradable carbon credits) is that the people who don’t want to pay for it (largely because they would need to buy the largest amount of them) have sufficient power to block the enforcement of such a system to begin with.


Another point on this: a carbon price is only one side of full "internalization" of costs. The other side would be paying out the proceeds to the people damaged by climate change, somehow commensurate with the damage. That part is never on the table - there is no political will for it, or even a idea how to exactly identify the damages and the damaged people.

That one-sidedness bothers me. Especially when I see elborate analyses that try to determine an "optimal" carbon price, with some economic model balancing costs of climate change versus costs of greenhouse gas reduction.

These looks as fancy with graphs and everything. In practice it mean that poor people in poor countries might get hit hard - losing houses and food supplies. Which counts for little damage in the models, because not much euros involved. On the other side of the equation, rich people might have to drive a smaller car and wear a sweater indoors, or buy expensive carbon-neutral machinery to avoid that. Big damage when expressed in euros! And to "balance" these factors, the rich people will "internalize" the climate effect by paying a carbon price to their own government, who will then (of course!) not send the money to other countries, but return it to its own citizens.


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