html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: My Chris is right.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Chris is right.

I've been getting involved with the bureaucratic side of California's climate change plan. Chris was right when he said:

All the people talking about climate change are coming from the attitude that we should hold lifestyle constant and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. That isn't going to be good enough. We need to get our greenhouse gas emissions where they've got to go and then maximize lifestyle.

10 Comments:

Blogger Scott Calvert said...

I agree, but it will never happen. We. Are. Fucked.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

We. Might. Be. Able. To. Choose. How. Fucked. We. Are.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Jess Austin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

I hope, but when I evaluate it logically I see little reason to think the hope is anything other than delusion. When in the history of humanity has a large nation state chosen to reduce its level of consumption to accomplish an abstract goal? How could we avoid the inherent prisoner's dilemma built into our roughly free market system where reduced resource use by some simply leads to lower resource costs and higher usage by others? I hate to be a downer, but on the climate change front my hope starts at "aliens come from the sky and fix things" and quickly head on to even more unlikely scenarios quickly.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

I'm impressed with some of the recent ideas I've seen technologically:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/19/science/19carb.html

Also some interesting ideas about removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

It might not work, any of it. But I'm leery of simply saying downsize. The way the world works, the first world will downsize a bit and complain mightily, while poorer countries, where development impacts who gets to live and die, will have to bear the lions share of the burden.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voluntary poverty -- and, be honest, that's what cutting "consumption" to pre-1940 levels would mean -- is a profound, total nonstarter.

To the degree we solve global warming, I strongly suspect we'll do it by "cheating": using geoengineering and lots and lots of nuclear fission power.

The idea that anybody, anywhere is going to actively go for some massive self-impoverishment was already pretty thoroughly debunked on this very blog a few weeks ago. I'm mildly surprised that it keeps coming up.


--Erich Schwarz

1:28 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Daniel Quinn studied at Saint Louis University, University of Vienna, Austria, and Loyola University, receiving a bachelor's degree in English, cum laude, in 1957.

In 1975, he abandoned his career as a publisher to become a freelance writer. Quinn is best known for his book Ishmael (1992), which won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award in 1991. This fellowship was established to encourage authors to seek "creative and positive solutions to global problems". Ishmael is the first of a trilogy including The Story of B, and My Ishmael. The 1999 film Instinct is roughly based on the story.

Ishmael and its sequels brought ever-increasing fame to Quinn throughout the 1990s, and he became a very well-known author to certain segments of the environmental movement, the simplicity movement, the anarchist movement and Anarcho-primitivism movements.
...
While response to Ishmael was mostly very positive, Quinn inspired a great deal of controversy with his claim (most explicitly discussed in the appendix section of The Story of B) that since population growth is a function of food supply, food aid to impoverished nations merely puts off and dramatically worsens a massive population-environment crisis.
...
Quinn has replied with a modified version of some of Thomas Malthus's arguments, suggesting that current population growth is unsustainable both for human beings and other species, and that apparently benevolent policies now will wreak havoc when considered from a longer-term view. As evidence of this, he points to the extinction of 200 species a day currently being caused by human beings. Quinn has also suggested that the low fertility rates of developed nations are irrelevant as counter-evidence to his thesis, because the growing food production of developed nations is what is driving population growth in the Third World.

Related authors include Derrick Jensen, Jared Diamond, Jack Forbes, Edward Goldsmith, Morris Berman, and Fredy Perlman.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Quinn0.

6:48 AM  
Blogger matt said...

Good call on the Quinn reference. I've read some pretty good stuff from Diamond and Perlman, too. Don't know the other guys, but will have to check them out.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous mith said...

"When in the history of humanity has a large nation state chosen to reduce its level of consumption to accomplish an abstract goal?"

The Soviet Union did this for decades. It only required the deaths of tens of millions of people and nationwide poverty, but they most definitely reduced consumption to accomplish an abstract goal.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

"The Soviet Union did this for decades. It only required the deaths of tens of millions of people and nationwide poverty, but they most definitely reduced consumption to accomplish an abstract goal."

But we could do it better!

10:06 AM  

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