[Vision2020] Global Climate Change Responses - A Proposal

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
Sat May 15 08:35:27 PDT 2010

I did not intend to imply that banning fossil fuels was actually on the 
table.  I was exaggerating for effect.  It's too bad that sad mistake 
completely undermined the rest of my post because, well, crap.  I was on 
a roll.

I concede that this issue has a moral component.  I just don't think 
it's as cut-and-dry as you seem to imply.  That sort of perspective also 
tends to demonize anyone who, for whatever reason, takes a stand (even 
in a small way) that is not on "your side". 

More to the point, do you think *I* am being immoral when I suggest that 
we don't jump on these carbon trading/taxing/sequestering schemes 
because we don't know enough about it yet and we could seriously fuck 
things up if we jump the gun on this one - even if it removes one lever 
that might actually reduce our fossil fuel usage in the short term?  Is 
it not OK to worry about the people that will be hurt when prices across 
the board go up?  Should I not be offended that someone may be trying to 
scare me into doing "the right thing" when they may not have all the 
facts?  Should I not feel angered that, while some are in this for "the 
greater good", others very likely stand to make millions on dubious 
carbon credit schemes at the expense of everyone in line at the grocery 

I don't like black-and-white, "my side" vs. "your side" type of thinking 
from left-wing progressives anymore than I like it from right-wing 
neocons.  The world is gray and nuanced, and difficult to know if you 
are doing the right thing.  I don't like that anymore than anyone else 
does, but attempts to simplify the world's problems to those sorts of 
binary terms haven't seemed to work out very well in the past.

Having said that, I think there is plenty of room for agreement between 
us and others here on the list.  I, too, think that we should stop 
chopping down rain forests and spewing toxic chemicals across the length 
and breadth of the earth and that we should reduce our dependence on 
fossil fuels, specifically foreign oil in the short term.


Garrett Clevenger wrote:
> Paul writes:
> "I don't like the tendency to frame this issue as a moral one. There are all sorts of good reasons not to just ban oil and coal tomorrow. How do you think your food gets to the supermarket? How many people survive the winters because of coal plants? How much are crop yields increased because of modern fertilizers?"
> This is a moral issue.  It wouldn't be an issue if it weren't.
> The fact that we're being asked to reduce our use of fossil fuel (what feeds our desires) in order to reduce the impact we have on the future is a moral argument.
> I have little faith humans will do the right thing.  We don't like to change, especially if it means potential hardships and loss of profits.  This is an uphill fight for conservationists and people who understand the underlying morality.
> People are too self-centered to be concerned about possible future impacts.  The course we're on probably won't be changed in time.  There will always be people who resist seeing the bigger picture and the world will suffer from that.
> Paul implies that a ban on fossil fuels is seriously being suggested.  That's a red herring.  I can appreciate his argument to an extent but that statement ruins it.
> Of course we rely on fossil fuels for all kinds of things.  I'm a farmer who uses a tractor and appreciates having that instead of breaking my back tilling the soil.  I don't want to live in cave.
> We don't have to use so much, though.  There are ways to reduce our impacts.
> The fact is that fossil fuel is the enabler for our lifestyle which in turn is probaly the greater threat to the planet.
> That is, we now are able to chop down the rain forests at unprecedented rates.  We're now able to produce all kinds of toxic chemicals which are the silent killer we're subjecting the world to.  Countless airplanes crisscross the sky pumping their pollution right into the ozone layer.
> Unsustainable human populations, habitat loss, high levels of species extinction and water and air pollution are the consequence of burning fossil fuel and that will have as much impact on the future as climate change may.
> While climate change may be an important issue to address, it's too bad that people are more fixated on that then on all the other real and drastic consequences of burning fossil fuel.
> We may be richer then ever due to fossil fuel, but that'll come at a cost to future generations.
> That to me is the definition of immoral behavior...
> Garrett

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