Extreme Temperature Diary- Wednesday January 29th, 2020/ Main Topic: Leaving Money In The Ground… Why Solving The Climate Crisis Cuts Against The Grain Of Human Nature

Wednesday January 29th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😉

Main Topic: Leaving Money In The Ground…Why Solving The Climate Crisis Cuts Against The Grain Of Human Nature

Dear Diary. Before getting started on today’s subject I’d like to thank many of my readers who responded to yesterday’s post on the influence of climate change on pathogens. Many times on more peripheral climate crisis items I don’t know everything, so in writing these posts I am learning more with you. This is an educational experience for us all. We need to think of as many consequences as possible that global warming will or could bring to humanity and nature. Please drop me a note if you wish for us to take up a subject, no matter how bizarre it may appear on face value.

And on we go… During most of the 20th century the world had a big debate between capitalists and communists that almost ked to our annihilation due to nukes. Capitalists won the debate because the proverbial carrot and stick approach as a motivating factor made progress for societies better over the course of the 20th century than collective socialism. The standard of living was much improved under capitalism. Factor in greed and the desire by some to gain power over their fellow men, and the picture gets more clear.

Ever since civilization began to appear in the Near East about 5-6 thousand years ago, and even before then, the idea of trade became engrained in society. In other words, I’ll scratch your back only if you scratch mine. Eventually coinage or money came to pass, from which both wealth and inequality were a direct result. Communists were not immune to this concept after their early 20th century revolution, so the hierarchical structure of the Soviet Union and Cuba quickly evolved into corrupt systems. True communism, or a concept in which no one individual can own property or substantial bank accounts, with all sharing burdens and responsibilities for society without compensation, fell apart. We as human beings are not wired to be communists. 

I’m sorry Mike Hudema. I agree with you, but the powers that be will not stop wealth inequality:

I write all this before asking the question, if you knew that a large sum of pirated money was buried in the ground could you leave it there, knowing that there would be consequences if you dug it up? Many oil and coal companies are now left with this conundrum. As the old saying goes, money makes the world go round, so brown energy companies must get a lot of incentive to not mine and drill buried treasure. Or, greedily, do they wish to metaphorically have their cake and eat it too?

There is money to be made with renewables and brown energy, which many companies are exploiting simultaneously in 2020. Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that unless energy corporations are policed with harsh penalties for wrong action, not much will change…and we only have about ten years to do so. 

Also, if greed and the need for individual power were not part of our DNA we would, like Star Trek’s Borg, move almost instantly as a species towards green solutions once the science was settled, leaving money (and poison) in the ground, but we don’t have a “collective” hive mind. In the name of freedom we pollute.

For another essay pointing out how hard it will be for the world to reverse course on the climate issue please read the following excerpt. I’ve linked the full article here:

https://www.ft.com/content/d7ec60e6-9b9a-11e9-b8ce-8b459ed04726

“No major carbon-emitting economy except India is doing enough to keep the rise in temperatures below 2C, says the Climate Action Tracker, a research group backed by environmentalists and the German government. Politicians and voters remain distracted by culture wars: two public pools in Grenoble shut mid-heatwave after a row over swimmers wearing Islamic burkinis. Blaming inaction on climate deniers such as Donald Trump is a comforting way for liberals to absolve ourselves. However, new leaders such as Elizabeth Warren — for whom green is an add-on ideology — won’t save the planet either.”

“It’s cheering that some Democratic presidential candidates want to make the US carbon-neutral by 2050, but even if they could get that through Congress and the Supreme Court, the commitment risks being downgraded when the next recession or terrorist attack hits. Anyway, proclaiming your country carbon-neutral is easy if you outsource your emissions. When the US imports a ton of cement from China, will it account for the 1.25 tons of CO2 emitted during production?”

“The harsh fact is that going carbon-neutral would be more painful than most greens admit, says Ross Douglas, founder of Autonomy, an urban-mobility conference in Paris. Many politicians are now promising “green growth”. Maybe one day we will indeed enjoy renewable-powered overconsumption. However, for the next two decades at least, until greener technologies arrive, cutting emissions will hurt. The US could go carbon-neutral fast if it rationed clothing, turned beef and flying into once-a-year luxuries, set a serious carbon tax, and banned fracking, coal mining and the Ford F-Series pick-up, the country’s bestselling vehicle for 42 years. But nobody gets elected president on a platform of economic decline.”

“And given the lag time of carbon emissions, these measures would only ameliorate the climate some time next century. Anyway, all this would be an almost pointless national sacrifice unless other countries followed suit. It takes global collective action to limit climate change. Conservatives enjoy mocking greens who own frequent-flyer cards, but there’s no point going carbon-neutral if everyone else carries on merrily while Brazil razes the Amazon rainforest.”

“Once temperatures rise, the problems of a hotter daily life will dominate politics: less water, more illness, lower productivity, unlivable regions and, in Europe, a permanent cordon of ships in the Mediterranean to stop climate refugees from the Middle East and Africa. All other political issues, from healthcare to housing, will become secondary. The role model for leaders will be Churchill in the second world war: nothing matters except victory in the existential struggle.”

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So, my overall questions today are can we live like the Soviets did with overall economic decline due to moving towards a carbon neutral society, knowing that what we are doing now is unsustainable in the long run? Can we painfully wean ourselves off a comfortable modern day lifestyle that might be viable for a few more decades with no real change? Will better technology and politics come along to ease the pain of transition? Hopefully I will get a chance with you, my readers, to find out over the next several years.

Here is some related material:

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Here is some more weather and climate news from Wednesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have  put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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