"The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has
released the third and final part of its monumental climate change trilogy: a
report on what we can do to avert global climate catastrophe.
The answers won’t please anybody.
Conservative media, naturally, will either ignore the report or dismiss its
3,675-page review of 1,202 climate change scenarios in the same way it
dismisses any science it doesn’t like (including climate science): as some kind
of liberal plot.
But liberals may not like the report either—because it shows how wrongheaded
much of liberal environmentalism has been.
Like many seemingly apolitical acts (wearing a mask, drinking espresso),
environmental conservation has lately become a badge of political identity. If
you’re a liberal, you save electricity, you cut down on your carbon footprint,
maybe you even fly or drive less than you used to.
This is all pointless—as scientists have said for decades—and the IPCC has said
yet again in its report today.
Individual actions, however well-meaning, are utterly irrelevant to stopping
global climate disruption. They may express one’s ethical values, and are a
perfectly fine way of doing so, but they don’t move the needle on atmospheric
greenhouse gases (GHGs). Worse, individual actions tend to mislead people into
thinking that’s the solution to saving the planet—each of us “doing our part”
and changing our lifestyles—thus giving a pass to the fossil fuel industry and
other large-scale, systemic challenges.
Which is, no doubt, why British Petroleum invented the term “carbon footprint”
in 2000: because it lets them off the hook.
In fact, says the IPCC, what must change to mitigate the worst of climate
change is our society’s collective reliance on fossil fuels for energy,
transportation, agriculture, and industry. We’re not talking about my electric
car or you turning off the lights in the bathroom. No one’s footprint matters.
We’re talking about the entire power grid, the infrastructure supporting
gasoline cars, the government subsidies of fossil fuel exploration, and so on."
Via Frederick Wilson II.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics