Andrew Revkin shares an email discussion he had with Naomi Klein (and bookends the discussion with his own additional observations) about the big picture on climate change: Naomi Klein’s Inconvenient Climate Conclusions. A short excerpt:
Q. Your examination of liberals’ views appropriately reveals the unwillingness – at least of “mainstream” liberals? – to acknowledge the full scope of what would need to happen on a world heading toward 9 billion people seeking decent lives. Certainly others — e.g., Growthbusters and the Post Carbon Institute — have not.
But you also seem to presume that the only strategy that can work is “radical government intervention,” when there are other approaches that have gained some traction — including no-brainers like strengthening standards and incentives for energy efficiency and conservation (which surveys show have very wide support, including among Republicans outside the obstructionist fringe, see p.5 here) while reviving long-eroded basic research and development in basic energy-related sciences. (Even George Will has warned the new Republican power brokers against neglecting science.)
A. I agree that some market incentives and R&D investments are part of the solution, and I say so in the piece. But do I think they can get us to 80 per cent emissions reduction by mid-century? No. Not everything is win-win, some very powerful players are going to have to lose if we ever decide to get serious about climate change, which is why the denial movement is so well funded.
It’s interesting to me (and kind of refreshing, if also depressing) to listen to some smart non-denialists arguing over what needs to happen. They’re describing an elephant based on divergent notions of the trunk’s importance versus the tail’s, which leads me to think they’re both right (and both wrong). But at least they’re not wrong in the same sense that the denialists are wrong. Yes, it’s an elephant, not a trunk or a tail. But it’s more a trunk or tail than it is a tortilla.