I understand that Climate Action is an important issue to many nerdfighters, and so I am interested in discussing how we favour dealing with this issue.
I am an Australian, and there is currently a big debate going on about the implementation of a 'Carbon Tax' which essentially places a cost on each tonne of CO2 produced. I am totally against this approach- I admit that I am one of the rare conservative nerdfighters, both social and fiscal. To me the approach of taxing, 'putting a price on polloution' is the 'stick' as opposed to the 'carrot' approach and will end up driving the cost of living up. However I don't want this to turn into a debate about the Australian Carbon Tax.
What I want to discuss is how nerdfighters believe we should deal with the issue in a more general sense- the sort of approach to take.
Personally I favour a 'carrot' approach, where incentives through government grants and particularly tax breaks are given to companies investing in green technologies. This I feel will create jobs, kick-start a green technology industry, and have environmental benefits. My fiscal conservative nature just tells me that it's not the best approach to tax and punitively cost out polluting energies, costing jobs and hurting the economy. Basically I feel incentives are the way to go, promoting a free-market way to go.
Very interested in your thoughts.
I mainly favour grassroots change, as well as a combination of carrot and stick approach for businesses and governments, (although more stick than carrot, why pay someone to do something they should do anyway? Not screwing the planet should be incentive enough, if you ask me.)
It needs to come from the people, a government putting legislation in place only goes so far, people have to make individual efforts to help. Recycling and re-using waste, not driving when you could walk or cycle, using public transport where you can, cutting down (or even better, cutting out) meat consumption, and just general stuff around the home like making sure lights are off when not in use. This is direct action to stop climate change instead of just waiting for the governments of the world to do it. It also helps send a clear message to government and business that something must be done.
The environment should be as important, if not moreso than the economy and social issues, not just an afterthought.
One thing that I keep finding myself coming towards is how economics works. Post Fordist understanding of production began putting emphasis on the demand of goods. Demand is driven by preferences, and taxation can and will result in market inefficiencies from a purely monetary standpoint, and taking a value approach is something that isn't easily measured. I find myself always thinking why not change preferences through education. I feel like that is one of the reasons why the "Green" movement really gained traction. It was all of the educational programs (magic school bus recycling episode ;D), and the environmentally aware parents that educated and shaped the preferences of this new enviro-friendly generation( I haven't actually done real research into this, its just an idea I've been tinkering with).
As you said, "It needs to come from the people" is what is important. It may be a slow change, but it should prove to be an effective one. We are on the brink of a paradigm shift, slowly from
no one cares -> some uppity college kids care -> uppity college kid's kids care -> people have to look they care -> people really do care -> everyone cares -> everyone gets a unicorn.
I probably shouldn't say this as it is kind of tangential, but I really do not believe in global warming. It is interesting that Bush 43 started this new "Climate Change" buzz word because it was getting harder and harder trying to sell the global fall in temperatures as global warming.
That said, there are huge benefits to reducing our reliance on hydrocarbons well beyond our non-existent impact on the Earth's aggregate temperature.
But the first absolute requirement before we do anything is to have some, ANY, viable alternative. And as Liam has stated the only alternative that exists today is nuclear fission. I am very keen on nuclear fusion.
The difference between the non-existent technologies is nuclear fusion has the potential to solve all our energy problems forever where wind, solar, tide, etc if they could ever achieve their theoretical maximum output, would still be basically useless. This makes fusion something worth enormous investment, where wind power will never benefit anyone on earth except GE's stock holders.
Taking a stick to people with no options is just cruel and people should remember that when they vote. The only action I can see available to any government in the alternative energy arena is to reduce politically based barriers to fission and pass laws forbidding themselves from ruining the economics of fusion. Then basically "get the hell out of the way".
However, I believe you are basically operating from the gross misconception of what the real goal is. Climate change is a platform that the people (mostly kids at the time) of the west were brainwashed into believing. The real goals are as simple as they are nefarious: control, power and money.
Overall, Governments, and scientists are not idiots. So ask yourself why they would support a course of action doomed to catastrophic failure by the very laws of physics. When faced with these apparent conflicts -- follow the money. It will always lead you to the truth.
Climate change is an observable phenomenon, data collected over the years shows it IS happening. Denying that is like denying gravity, or denying that the sun rises.
The debate comes in as to whether humans have caused and continue to cause climate change. Scientific consensus is that while climate change is a natural phenomenon, human influences are causing it to happen at a rapid and unnatural rate.
There's tons of information about this, but all signs point to evidence that climate change is real and it's caused by humans.
Interesting side note: A lot of lobbyists saying that climate change isn't happening are funded by oil companies, I'd say oil companies have a pretty vested interest in convincing people that these environmental problems are nothing to worry about.
OK, I do stand corrected. Yes, the climate does change. And sometimes it is very dramatic. Also humans have caused the CO2 levels to rise above the historic norm. I was speaking of the doom and gloom sayers who proclaim the world is ending, it is all our fault, and we must follow their insane plans to save all human life.
I will resist pasting in a dozen links "I" think are interesting, but here is one for current breaking news talking about the potential coming dramatic drop - driven by the sun as 90% of our climate has always been.
The 'carrot' approach has been tried already for the past 30 years. The U.S. government has been providing tax subsidies and incentives for people to switch to greener sources of fuel for decades now, and it still hasn't caught on the way environmentalists would like. The bottom line is cost. Green energies have to come way down in price if a large portion of the population is going to switch to them. The real problem is in developing countries. China is already producing more CO2 emissions than the US and India is well on their way to surpass the US as well. Nearly all western cultures have been doing a lot to curb their CO2 emissions, so doing even more is not going to help much unless there are solutions that will work in developing nations as well. So Australia can pass whatever harsh laws they want dealing with carbon taxes, but it isn't going to make any real impact on global climate issues. If it is a global climate problem then the entire globe needs to find solutions.
If you really believe that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels is going to cause climate changes with drastic impact on humanity, then one of the most viable solutions is nuclear power. It is the only form of energy that compares in cost with fossil fuels, so that is what I am in favor of.
Bring back the EBR-II and more advanced reactors like it for the US.
For the rest of the world: Major investments in microfinance show the potential to create better societies, eventually leading to a developing world that is developed enough to actively engage in aiding climate change and having a strong corps of engineers capable of working with ours. Climate change solutions don't necessarily have to be "green technologies", either.
Climate change solutions don't necessarily have to be "green technologies", either.
So asside from simply using the technologies we have now less, what do you suggest?
Well, consider another issue—ozone depletion.
What if we found a way to artificially generate ozone and add it to the stratosphere? I'm not the first to come up with this idea.
Perhaps there are ways to artificially remove carbon.