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October 10, 2018

Climate Change Blame: How to Create Real Change

On October 5th, the world was yet again warned about the life-or-death consequences of climate change. This warning, issued by the UN, was perhaps the most dire yet.

With this warning comes the standard question about solutions. "We have a monumental task in front of us, but it is not impossible," states Natalie Mahowald, a lead author on the report.

Cue the demands that proletarians become vegans, consume less and trade their cars for bicycles. These are noble causes that we should all support, but in the grand scheme of climate change they are red herrings meant to deflect accountability from the owners of production and the political bourgeoisie to the average individual worker bee. Businesses, the rich and politicians all have an inherent motivation for self-preservation, so it isn’t surprising they deflect accountability. Instructing the individual to own the solution by making lifestyle changes implies responsibility, shifting the focus away from the biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses.

We all share the blame and must work together to make a better world, but it is unfathomably rare for authorities to lay out the real changes our world must undertake. The truth hurts. ‘Big Money’ wishes to retain power by ostracizing radical change and by convincing us we can solve this problem by making relatively simple lifestyle changes, like switching to green dish-washing detergent. All the while, the true magnitude of the problem and scale of required solutions are obscured from view.

After all, how often is the topic of climate change raised in corporate team meetings? In contrast, other more palatable issues, such as gender diversity, are regularly discussed. Both issues are important. One issue is comparatively easy to solve, while solving the other requires a herculean effort that would undermine the foundation of the corporatocracy. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

Don’t get distracted. Solving climate change requires a focus on the biggest offenders:
  • 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. One-freakin-hundred! Most of these are the massive fossil fuel behemoths you'd expect, yet somehow it’s up to Joe Blo to switch to biodegradable wipes to save the planet.
  • 15 ships emit as much nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide as the world’s 760 million cars. Fif-freakin-teen! These unregulated ships transport goods and commodities around the world, spewing vast amounts of crap into the air. Yet, saving the planet depends on Jane Smith to switch to a programmable thermostat.
Drawdown.org has listed the top solutions that would reduce atmospheric CO2 (table below). While there is a shared burden that individuals must accept, it is clear that a major responsibility lies in the arms of regulatory bodies, governments and businesses. Joe Blo can eat less meat and waste less food, but he doesn’t control the food distribution network, can't regulate the shipping industry and doesn’t know the first thing about refrigerant disposal.

So while the actions of many individuals can add up, people must force those in power to also take action. Real climate action requires tax policies, regulations, enforcement, pooled investment and potentially the nationalization of certain industries or companies. These measures are all beyond the control of the individual, so it is critical that individuals take action in the most powerful way they can – by voting.




2 comments:

  1. Great comment observation; nice to see insightful commentary.

    I saw the Climate Change Campaign last week, and I thought; realistically there is not much I can do. I am a skeptic, there does not seem to be an informed serious public discussion, and as you just pointed out the overriding agenda is always to preserve the system’s powerful winners. Your Ship observation illustrates how the low hanging fruit is not being addressed as it is on a tree ring fenced by powerful interests.

    I happen to have the perspective that Human Population size\growth is the core problem we face, (your cause is a lost cause without population control) but that topic is taboo so it cannot be spoken off. For me then Climate Change is an oblique approach to address the population bomb and impact.
    Items 6 & 7 from Drawdown.org are both population control related. (https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/26/16356524/the-population-question)

    So while I distrust the current messages re Climate Change I can go along with the prescription as it ameliorates the human overpopulation problem; Reading this book now; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/983068.The_Ostrich_Factor

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    Replies
    1. Population control or perhaps more specifically control over the number of middle class in 'other' parts of the world has been part of the Western agenda for decades. It's about resources and power.

      I believe both Republicans and Democrats acknowledge the world is changing. I also believe they think there is nothing that can be done, given the state of politics and business. I also think people are looking at our distant neighbours in the world who are polluting 2x as much but are given special exemptions because they are 'developing' nations. It's a no-win situation. But politicians can't publicly say it. So they deny anything is happening at all.

      In the meantime, existing powers are consolidating power so they come out on top when the sh!t hits the fan. In their minds, the population problem will eventually take care of itself...

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