I am no scientist. I accept that anthropogenic climate change is a real. The problem I have is the apocalyptic rhetoric attached. Human beings love to claim things are the end of the world when they’re most certainly not. There are plenty of examples of that in recent history (overpopulation, peak oil, the first time environmental collapse was supposed to kill us, etc.) that have come into fashion and then are gone in a decade or two. How am I, as an ordinary person, supposed to tell the difference between a real crisis and largely empty apocalyptic cultural movements? Climate talk often feels like religiously based end times thinking.
It’s pretty clear to me that creating a climate theory that accounts for past results is useless here. For climate modelling to indicate that things are desperate it must predict the future. If someone can say *the temperature will raise by X here in Y time* then that’s a good start. As far as I’m aware, no such modelling exists (and certainly not in an easy to explain and consume format suitable for the majority).
On the pragmatic front, climate action feels like just more baizuo virtue signalling. We have one climate but there are multiple countries, any of which can undo any efforts to remediate climate issues. The West isn’t going to hand the third world the required technology gratis, nor is it going to invade simply to stop people burning brown coal. This feels exactly like recycling—lots of emotive messaging and expensive sorting programs just so all the garbage can be sent to the third world for poor people to rip apart for metal salvage and burn the left overs. Is anything that is being suggested or done for climate actually efficacious? Is there any point if it can simply be undone by others?
Again on the pragmatic front, and somewhat more cynically, I am forced to ask: Who profits? “Follow the money” is an excellent adage when it comes to figuring out what’s really going on in a situation that otherwise appears complex. If the overarching messaging for the population is “Change your behaviour in this direction, think this way, believe these things, accept these impositions” especially when those running the show are doing the exact opposite of what the messaging suggests, then that tends to erode my faith in that messaging. If you’re constantly flying to climate conferences on your Gulfstream between hanging out on your super yacht then I’ll look to your actions rather than your words.
Finally, if climate change is a problem and we want it fixed then that’s almost certainly going to be dependent on building a profitable industry catering to that. If you want something done then the easiest way for that to happen is by paying for it. If people can get rich from fixing the climate then the climate will get fixed (to a point anyway, no one that profits from a problem is ever going to let that problem truly end. Just ask any activist or charity). The UN certainly isn’t going to get it done.
Thanks for your input :).
Is anything that is being suggested or done for climate actually efficacious?
I am perhaps more optimistic about being able to find effective climate change action, since there are effective altruists who are working on the problem. Have you tried looking at the effective environmentalism Facebook group?
If the overarching messaging for the population is “Change your behaviour in this direction, think this way, believe these things, accept these impositions” especially when those running the show are doing the exact opposite of what the messaging suggests, then that tends to erode my faith in that messaging.
My guess is that in 30 years if climate change is no longer treated as a very serious issue by scientists, it will probably be because we developed a technological solution, rather than some type of moral shift or political action. I agree that personal behavior changes are pretty weak variables when we consider long term trends.
That said, politics can still be important to the extent that it can ensure some type of differential technological progress. Subsidies for solar energy are one example of this.