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Living like a monk, under capitalism, will do nothing about global warming.  But I'll tell you what might work...

(crossposted at FDL and at VOTS)

I suppose this is the newest, most popular conversational trend among the well-heeled now.  Buy a Prius, install energy-saving lightbulbs, and stop using so much energy, so you can feel you are "doing something" about global warming.  (Or at least talk about those things.)  Oh, and leave the capitalist system alone, because (as Saint Margaret Thatcher put it) "there is no alternative."

Maybe a new trend in monastic living will be advertised to suit the vows of austerity that will accompany the declines of fortune among, well, the middle class -- especially the Black and brown middle classes.  It will fit current trends in policy, with the chained CPI for Social Security, the Grand Bargain, and so on.  I suppose it only seems romantic if you're rich and white.  The uber-wealthy can have Marie Antoinette fake peasant villages where they can save energy when guilt over abrupt climate change becomes too pressing or something like that.

But really, folks, what we are talking about here is a class-based approach to abrupt climate change.  Oh, maybe you don't feel so rich compared to your neighbors (and one of my neighbors bought into her plot for $950,000 back in '06, so I know what you mean), but, globally, you're rich.  If you live in a rich country and your ecological footprint is 12 times the size of the average Indian's ecological footprint, you no doubt feel significantly responsible for accelerating greenhouse gas emissions.  

But here's the catch: how is "consuming less" under capitalism a one-size-fits-all solution?  Eh?

 Large portions of the world's population live like monks now -- but not because they want to.  I'm talking here about the world's poor.  You know, that one out of every eight children who go to bed hungry, and so on.  The global capitalist system keeps great masses of people poor -- they're the folks who make all that cheap stuff we Americans buy in the stores.  The stuff is cheap because their labor is cheap.  The world's poor -- specifically the world's urban poor (and as Jeremy Seabrook tells us, urban poverty is significantly different in character than rural poverty) -- no doubt want to consume more fossil energy, so they can have food, shelter, jobs, and so on.   They aren't going to want to live like monks.

So when the oil producers produce, well, are we just going to tell the world's ambitiously undernourished people that they don't deserve a share of that 74 million bbl.day global oil burning habit?  I can tell you how that's going to play out.  The Powers That Be in the poor nations, oh sure they're not always nice folks, but they're going to say "hey we need fossil fuels to develop," and the whole "let's live like monks" thing is going to be limited to well-off folks with guilty consciences.  And everything will continue along in its merry way until Earth turns into Venus.

And it's easy to imagine what would happen if enough people actually stopped consuming fossil fuels to make an economic impact.  The price would go down!  Less demand means lower price.  Fossil fuel "producers" don't produce for you, they produce for an anonymous "market" that can have any shape it wants depending on who are the buyers.  That is, they do that under capitalism.

Now, of course, the proactive response is for the world to arrange Third World "development" on the basis of alternative energy.  That is the point of the Aubrey Meyer Contraction and Convergence schtick.  It's a good thing for what it is.  Unfortunately, Meyer, like the rest of the world, is too fixated on "emissions" control.  For all the good communism it brings to the world, it's still a consumer-based approach.  My criticism is, in a nutshell, this: the consumers are never going to put together a global boycott of oil within an economic context of universal dependency upon capital.  So you either get rid of capital, with some massive share-the-wealth initiative that grants every family on Earth a solar panel or whatever, or you enact a producer-based approach to climate change.  Here's how you do it -- the producers of oil and coal (yeah, and tar sands kerogen and so on) must phase out production.  It's called "Keep The Grease In The Ground."  Bill McKibben, on the problem:

This record of failure means we know a lot about what strategies don't work. Green groups, for instance, have spent a lot of time trying to change individual lifestyles: the iconic twisty light bulb has been installed by the millions, but so have a new generation of energy-sucking flatscreen TVs.
and the solution:
At this point, effective action would require actually keeping most of the carbon the fossil-fuel industry wants to burn safely in the soil, not just changing slightly the speed at which it's burned.
So you need a producer-oriented approach to actually mitigate abrupt climate change.  You cement the thing through an international treaty to phase out fossil fuel production.  It's an ecosocialist move -- the only way you're going to get the world behind it is by a fundamental leveling of the economic playing field between rich and poor nations.

Originally posted to Postcapitalism on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:23 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, DK GreenRoots, and Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But it makes me feel better about (14+ / 0-)

    the hopelessness of the situation.

    Makes no sense but there it is.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:30:59 AM PST

    •  It'll be easier than you think (17+ / 0-)

      Frankly, the producer side can be pushed a long way with policy driven incentives and disincentives.  For exapmle, the renewable portfolio standards FORCE utilities to buy renewable elctricity.  THis creates a market for it so that you have the full weight of Wall Street investors (e.g., Warren Buffet) investing in the zero carbon economy.

      It can be done, and exerting political pressure for action is a great way to do it!

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:24:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I said in another diary's comments (7+ / 0-)

        We are in a very complicated situation.  Emissions in the OECD are projected to, basically, flatline. Richer people will gladly pay to pay less in the long run on energy, and cars and appliances and buildings are becoming less wasteful in time.  Our problem, to me, is that they're not declining over time. But that's not the stark problem.

        The emissions that are most frightening in terms of countries like Russia, Canada, U.S. are methane, because we have so little methane in our atmosphere and we might have a scary lot in the taiga and tundra.

        I'm not an 'eco-capitalism' guy. But that's the facts on the ground. It's the development of the developing world that promises huge growth in carbon emissions which is a double-edged moral, economic and sociopolitical dilemma. How do we tell poor people 'no' when we have had no moral leadership?

        Mindful Nature, you are talking about something that interests me: state mandates on utilities.  These have so far proven to be more effective than federal mandates at increasing investment in 'renewables.' I guess 30 years ago this point would be for the moderate Republican, but here we are today.

        I've had my own ideas in the past about what an America that responds to the facts and probabilities would like. But I'm curious what an effective federal strategy would be. Something much bigger than cap-and-trade or laws fixing the amount of carbon emissions. It's something much grander. A vision instead of a mitigation.

        Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change.

        by Nulwee on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:44:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well... (7+ / 0-)
          How do we tell poor people 'no' when we have had no moral leadership?
          Developing moral leadership?

          "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:45:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That is an important point (9+ / 0-)

          The action is now in the developing world.  However, if the US were to match the European standards, that alone would reduce our GHG footprint by 40% or so. (The us sits around 18 tons per person, most of Northern Europe is around 9-10). So, the US could really lead just by catching up to our economic competitors in terms of efficiency

          Then of course we would have to help the developing world leapfrog the older technologies.   I am not sure we have to make any moral argument.  We can simply make an economic "just adopt the latest best technology" approach. That's how Brazil has ended up with better wireless networks than the US.  When Brazil was really putting in a lot of networks, the landlines were terrible.  Rather than incrementally upgrading bad lines, the telecoms sector simply went for the latest and best.

          It would be a major help if the IS and Europe ponied up some cash to help this effort.  That's be moral leadership.  For that we need to elect leaders with moral compasses though

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:58:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If the whole US just matched the best States (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane, Calamity Jean

            we'd accomplish about the same thing.

            http://www.usnews.com/...

            "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

            by JesseCW on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:50:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  As a californian (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              surfbird007, JesseCW, Lujane, trumpeter

              I heartily endorse this message!

              I find it even more fascinating that some of our coldest states manage to be the most energy efficient.  Frankly, a big reason my own energy usage is low is because it rarely tops 80F or drops below 45F at my house ever.    For Vermont, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts to be so efficient is truly fabulous!

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:17:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  New York uses 25% the energy of Louisiana does (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, trumpeter, Nulwee

              25%.  Let that sink in.  that means 75% of Louisiana's energy is pure waste.  Astonishing.

              (I didn't pick on Wyoing and Alaska because some is attributable to the low population densities and long distances, although the fact that a huge portion of Alaskans live in Anchorage cuts against that some,  I suspect)

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:20:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  There's quite a bit misleading about this (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lujane, ban nock, Nulwee

              Montana produces a lot of energy, being as there's a lot of coal and a lot of power plants as well. There aren't a lot of people though, so the power gets transmitted to other states (like California). There's also the matter of having aluminum plants and lumber mills (what few are left), that use a lot of energy, but are not labor intensive at all.

              In order to get an accurate assessment of energy consumption by individuals, you'd have to actually do a survey of peoples meters. That I'd find to be interesting.

              Small varmints, if you will.

              by aztecraingod on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:22:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Mentioning Warren Buffet (0+ / 0-)

        to illustrate a point, undermines your contention.  Buffet's Mid-American utility and its subsidiaries emit massive tonnages of coal-produced carbon, and his BNSF railroad hauls millions of gallons of tar sands oil to US refineries.

        If I were king, I'd put Buffet and his Berkshire stock on the 350.org boycott list.

        Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

        by 6412093 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:22:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Warren Buffett also has made a big move into solar (0+ / 0-)

          The point being that if we create policies to put solar on even or better footing as an investment then we create a situation that the billions of dollars that Wall Street commands (usually against us) can actually be put to good and worthwhile use.  Maybe the way to phrase it is to say that if we set up the right policies, even Warren Buffett will join in.  Once taht happens, renewable becomes a serious economic player I predict.

          In a way it's akin to the strategy of driving coal out of business by making alternatives cheaper, rather than by banning coal.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:44:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed. If we had started with gradual change (18+ / 0-)

    about twenty years ago, and done it effectively, we might be able to wean ourselves off fossil fuels bit by bit.

    As it is, we're going to have to shift rather abruptly.

    Let's make 2013 the year we take back our planet.

    by Eowyn9 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:31:08 AM PST

  •  Sorry, just isn't going to happen. (6+ / 0-)

    Our entire civilization is built on massive amounts of relatively cheap stores of energy. Just as you can't hope to effect a reversal of climate disruption by burning fossil fuels a little more slowly, and I agree with you overall, so you cannot expect any agreement on phasing out fossil fuels from producers. I do think there is one thing that can be done and that's to impose a carbon tax that increases at a few percent a year. In the US, you get fiscal hawks to support it by earmarking it for deficit reduction. You could conceivably get an international agreement on that because governments would be getting the proceeds of the tax.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:37:00 AM PST

    •  The producers don't need to agree. (5+ / 0-)

      The consumers restrain the producers.  Just like we don't need the agreement of the super-rich to create socialism.

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:41:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you wish upon a star (5+ / 0-)

      it ain't going to get you very far.

      We need solutions that are possible, not idealistic pipe dreams.  You're not going to get the consumers or anyone else to force the producers to leave fossil fuels in the ground if it's profitable to extract them.

      We need doable solutions.

      Carbon tax is becoming less doable, but it's worth a try.

      I favor a massive jobs program aimed at ALT-E.  PV prices are dropping like a rock, and the economies of scale are making  PV prices competitive with fossil fuel produced electricity, when all subsidies are equalized.

      An Apollo type program to produce a better battery may be our only chance of getting out of this on coming disaster.  We need a solution to liquid fuel transportation, and a better battery is the only thing looking good for the foreseeable future.

      We have to deceive the public into believing we're doing things to improve the economy, while at the same time saving their children from the horror of global warming.  

      •  Still with the profit. (7+ / 0-)
        You're not going to get the consumers or anyone else to force the producers to leave fossil fuels in the ground if it's profitable to extract them.
        It doesn't do any of us any good to profit if the planet is dead.  Time to put an end to the profit game.

        "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

        by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:21:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK, off you go, end the profit game. (6+ / 0-)

          I don't mean to be facetious but, if Lenin and Mao couldn't do it, I don't think a small minority of radical environmentalists is going to succeed where they failed. We are very clever apes who have worked out how to game all kinds of systems. That is what profit is, the little dopamine spike we get from gaming the system. Profit isn't some kind of invention; it's biology. It's who we are for good or ill. The challenge is to direct that deep instinct to worthwhile ends.

          For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

          by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:36:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Profit is not biology. (7+ / 0-)

            The human race has existed for 200,000 years and for the vast preponderance of that time it persisted without a notion of profit.

            Profit, as it currently stands, is a concept dependent upon other concepts of "money" and "property" which were refined in classical Greece and which were solidified in their social contexts by the first capitalist state, the UK after the Glorious Revolution of 1688.  Other states were brought into line with this model by the further pressure of imperial ambitions.

            Profit is a cultural phenomenon.

            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

            by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:04:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

              For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

              by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:07:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Can you expound (3+ / 0-)

                as to why you disagree with "Profit is a cultural phenomenon."  It might be near universal, now, but how is not cultural?

                Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:30:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I am a scientist (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  A Siegel, mattakar, offgrid, CalGal47, ban nock

                  I study the brain. Culture is a combined artifact that comes from brains working in social hierarchy, the standard structure for all primates. In fact, primates are incredibly similar in their social structure even to the extent of moral judgment. There is a very extensive literature on this. So, when someone says the word "profit" to me, I see it as a sociobiological feature. What does a monkey mean by profit? How does the brain recognize a profitable activity? The diarist is looking at profit, I imagine, in a narrow monetary sense, but money is just another kind of banana to the brain. When we profit by an activity, our brains release neurotransmitters that say "good". These chemicals lock in the rewarding activity, and we learn very quickly that we should do more of it. This isn't just a monkey thing, of course. It's common to probably all multi-cellular organisms. Is it nasty or is it nice is a question every creature has to answer every day. Our ability to answer this question decides key questions of survival, genetic penetrance, and dominance. The kinds of reward systems we have a very, very old, maybe as far back as the Cambrian explosion. My point then is that you are never going to defeat a system that is so deeply ingrained in our biology. We will seek profit for our tribe, our offspring, and ourselves, often at the expense of everything else. Our goal must be to harness that profound and powerful drive to serve the tribe more than the individual, and to expand our sense of tribe to encompass all of humanity, not just the Company we work for or the country we live in.

                  I hope that clarifies the point I was making.

                  For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                  by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:33:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are overgeneralizing "profit." (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JesseCW, atana

                    Certainly as a scientist you have a concept of conceptual accuracy?

                    "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                    by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:42:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think you are being too narrow. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Remembering Jello, ban nock

                      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                      by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:46:05 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That hardly counts as science. (nmi) (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        JesseCW, atana

                        "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                        by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:53:19 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  And your statement is science because? (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Anne Elk, mattakar, too many people

                          Having watched two well fed dogs fight over a bone, I'm with Anne Elk.

                          •  Numerous anthropological studies (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ZhenRen, atana

                            show that many different groups of people in many different social contexts will pursue increases in leisure time rather than pursuing what capitalists call "profit" at their jobs.

                            Of course, if you call all responses "profit," you get what information scientists call GIGO, or garbage in, garbage out.

                            The onus is not on me to operationalize Anne Elk's definitions.  It's her claim.

                            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                            by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:15:47 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ah. But leasure time (0+ / 0-)

                            is "profit".

                            In fact, it's the greatest goal, or "profit". that everyone tries to obtain more of, after the necessities of food, clothing, shelter, safety, and health are secured.

                            The whole point of having a lot of money is to gain more leasure time, or at least to think that you will get more leasure time. It's the actual goal, not the money, although most doen't recognize that, and most people never actually get there.

                          •  Funny, people had a lot more leisure time (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus, offgrid

                            before capitalism took over the world.

                          •  That isn't the way Calvinists think. (nmi) (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            offgrid

                            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                            by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:49:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  heh (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            That's one of the reasons that I'm not a Calvinist, although that is certainly not the only thing that they are wrong about.

                          •  Right -- (0+ / 0-)

                            But I am suggesting that there is one important cultural tendency that contravenes the idea of profit as a basis for greater leisure time.

                            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                            by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:15:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's naive biological reductionism (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            Unfortunately, sociobiologists are infamous for that, as well as pushing right wing political memes as the latest "science".

                            Sociobiology is based on mid-20th century theories about how genes evolve that were absurdly oversimplified and have next to nothing to do with what we have learned in the decades since we began sequencing DNA. Most of the DNA doesn't code protein (classical) "genes") at all -- it codes numerous different kinds of small RNAs or it has patterns involved in how DNA is bound to chromatin.

                          •  Thanks atana! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            atana

                            Have you thought of converting this post into a diary?

                            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                            by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 04:14:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, it's not exactly news any more :-) (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            The sociobiology debates were hot stuff in the 1970s, but the latest manifestation of it is "evolutionary psychology" which is an enthusiasm of psychologists, not biologists. "Evolutionary psychologists" worry about things like why homosexuality exists, since in their view it is "obviously" a Darwinian disadvantage... and they spout rubbish about how girls are bad at math because prehistoric girls didn't throw spears... and gems of that sort.

                            If evolutionary psychology ever raises its pseudoscientific head on DKos, I might write something about it. But most biologists who study the evolution of animal behavior don't make sweeping, reductive statements about human social constructs such as "profit".

                            However -- it's very possible that our billionaires and masters of the financial universe have a form of addiction to making money, and that their brains' neurochemical reward systems are not working as they originally evolved to work in our ancestors.

                          •  atana, all I need to do here is mention socialism (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            atana

                            and the evolutionary psychologists come out of the woodwork right away to claim that "man" was not meant for socialism, or for that matter any society based on anything but the almighty free market.

                            So my feeling is that this topic deserves a diary!  At any rate, I greatly appreciate your contributions here.

                            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                            by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:08:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, I'm a socialist too, but also an ecofeminist (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            so I they probably wouldn't even bother to engage with me :-)

                          •  ? (0+ / 0-)
                            Most of the DNA doesn't code protein (classical) "genes") at all -- it codes numerous different kinds of small RNAs or it has patterns involved in how DNA is bound to chromatin.
                            How does that negate sociobiology?
                          •  Unit of selection problems (0+ / 0-)
                        •  There you go being narrow again (0+ / 0-)

                          For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                          by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:58:30 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Cell signaling predates the evolution of neurons (0+ / 0-)

                            and neurotransmitters by eons. Single-celled bacteria use cell signaling for things like quorum sensing. That should clue you in to the fact that social evolution in the broadest biological sense is not just about dopamine and serotonin.

                          •  Never said it was. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            pigpaste

                            But you merely emphasize the concept that, in contrast to the assertion of the diarist, neurochemical feedback loops that guide behavior have been around for much longer than humans have and, as you point out, even longer than multi-cellular organisms. However, not to get too far afield, it makes more sense to discuss these issues in terms of primates, which I have tried to do. In that context, dopamine particular is a central actor, as has been widely demonstrated in the scientific literature, particularly when one considers socially destructive behaviors, and that brings us back to the diarist's original point about getting rid of profit, something I contend is a hard-wired, although complex, trait. The diarist complained that I thought of profit too broadly, but I think that focusing specifically on monetary profit misses a deeper reality about the biology of human behavior.

                            I think we have rather exhausted this topic now.

                            For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                            by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:30:50 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Signal molecules evolved because (0+ / 0-)

                            they indicate the biological rewards, not because they are the biological rewards.

                  •  Thank you ... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cassiodorus, offgrid

                    interesting and worthwhile.

                    Would it be 'acceptable' if the conversation / framing were shifted to 'monetary profit is a cultural artifact'?

                    BTW, this seems to me a version of 'everyone does everything for something' being read by too many as money or thing as opposed to potentially being 'self-esteem' or 'self understanding of ethics' or 'cultural conditioning'.

                    Again, thank you for interesting, substantive, quality response.  I am glad that I asked.

                    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                    by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:44:31 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I confess to being a sociobiologist (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      A Siegel, ban nock

                      To me, everything is biology, even culture. So, money, as I said is just another kind of banana. Interestingly, money has many things in common with drugs of addiction. People who are so vastly wealthy that they could never hope to spend even a tiny fraction of it still seek it. There seems to be never enough. When they talk about making money, you can see the enormous thrill they get from such acquisition. This is not something I really have, and you probably don't either, but we live in the same culture as, say, Donald Trump. I would say that he is addicted to money, and his brain probably gives him the same dopamine charge as a cocaine addict gets when they snort a line.

                      We now know that all addictions work through the same mechanism. Low basal dopamine levels in the addict's brain need a bigger stimulus to get to a threshold than you or I do. Addiction can be created to many kinds of behaviors, as long as you have low dopamine and the behavior brings a big immediate reward. The endless pursuit of ever more money is just that, in my opinion. Perhaps if we could deal with the dopamine problem, we could deal with the money problem, but not before.

                      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                      by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:57:51 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And yet a mother (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        atana, Cassiodorus

                        will gladly sacrifice her own personal "profit" for her children, if it otherwise means letting them starve. You're ignoring other human traits while elevating the trait that makes us want "more."

                        Traits can be exaggerated beyond proportion. To say they exist is one thing, but the question is do such traits exist to the exclusion of all other traits.

                        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                        by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:43:38 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

                          Selfishness is a patriarchal construct which is parasitic on the nurturing gift economy of mothers. Human sociality -- language, intelligence, tool use all of it  -- evolved from cooperative childrearing among protohuman females.

                          The whole patriarchal capitalist meme of warlike "selfishness" is a projection of our diseased and nonviable culture. It's simply social Darwinism, reintroduced as part of the right wing resurgence in the 1970s.

                        •  Zhen Ren, it's more than that. (0+ / 0-)

                          "Anne Elk" is trying to universalize something that is culturally-bound and specific to historic time.

                          "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                          by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:45:43 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I realize that Cass (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            And there are many studies that indicate that this competitive drive for "profit" is balanced by other traits. It really is a right wing meme that other social biologists, anthropologists/psychologists don't agree with.

                            Here's a comprehensive article (one of many found with a quick search) that covers a lot of ground:

                            http://anarchism.pageabode.com/...

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:09:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  people do things for all kinds of reasons (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Cassiodorus

                          elevating a rational self-interested profit motive assumes a lot of things about the economic agent.

                          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:56:42 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Don't make that assumption ... (0+ / 0-)

                        I -- like most in my (our?) society -- often have bugged-out eyes contemplating 'sales' or 'things' or dreaming of the Powerball payout.  Now, I recognize this (most of the time) and fight that 'dopamine' drive -- often successfully.

                        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                        by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:49:05 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  To me, dopamine is the ONLY reward (0+ / 0-)

                      The rest of it is just stuff that gets you to release dopamine.

                      •  You got it, Jello (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        too many people

                        There is also, serotonin too, which makes you feel quite satisfied with how things are turning out.

                        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                        by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:59:42 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yeah, but no rush (0+ / 0-)

                          I've known so many people who crushed their serotonin levels chasing dopamine.
                          Just crushed 'em.

                        •  It seems the thing to do is find a new drug. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          too many people

                          That is, using Ann's concept of profit, find a solution that provides a better kick than the current system, as opposed to telling people they can't have the old drug anymore.

                          •  She has elevated the drive for individual profit (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            above all other social traits, as if that one drive is paramount. She ignores social instincts of humans in which mutual survival is important. Species don't just have an instinct for individual survival, but also for survival of the entire species. Thus, humans are capable of forgoing the drive for "more" if it comes at the expense of the entire tribe.

                            Here's an excerpt of an article about Dawkin's view on the topic:

                            http://ezinearticles.com/...

                            Darwin described this mutual aid as 'a permanent instinct,' that is always at work in all social animals, especially in Man. Having its origin at the very beginnings of the evolution of the animal world, it is certainly an instinct as deeply seated in animals, as is the instinct of maternal love. Darwin posits that cooperation may even be seated deeper because it is present in such animals as mollusks, some insects, and most fish, which he said hardly possess any maternal instinct. This mutual empathy is all too conveniently forgotten by followers of Darwinism.

                            However, this is not the full picture because within this animal instinct we have the origin of feelings of benevolence, as well as partial identification of the individual with the group, both of which are the starting-point of all the higher ethical feelings. It is upon this basis that the higher sense of justice, equity, and liberty is developed, as well as customary self-sacrifice to aid the continuance of the species.

                            Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/...

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:28:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry but I haven't quite done that. (0+ / 0-)

                            In fact, in chimpanzee's group profit is as important as individual profit, and that is apparently true for all primates. Otherwise, there would be no social groups at all. So group profit matters a lot too. However, the real point relates to the balance between individual and group. Some individuals engage in behaviors that they see as just so rewarding that the interests of anyone else just do not signify. That's true of heroin addicts and it's true of Donald Trump, and it's driven by the same neurochemical mechanism.

                            Also, I would caution you about quoting a 19th Century icon like Darwin. His insights were profound, but he was limited by his time. He isn't all-knowing. More recent thinkers like Richard Dawkins see things like maternal love as a biologically valuable trait because it serves the transmission of genes across time, and is the core reason for any organism's existence. Cooperation is common among many species because cooperation helps the individual, and thus enhances the prospects for reproduction.  

                            For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

                            by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:23:30 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Chimpanzees don't "profit." (0+ / 0-)

                            There are no chimpanzee accountants keeping balance sheets.  They have neither assets nor liabilities.  Try using some vocabulary.  English is a big language.

                            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

                            by Cassiodorus on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 09:27:27 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, she hasn't. (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm puzzled by the urge some of you have to put words in her mouth.

                  •  Just finished reading Zoobiquity - (0+ / 0-)

                    wow, just fascinating.

                  •  Are you not ignoring other survival traits (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    freesia

                    in favor of just profit? Humans also are social animals, and they don't just seek individual profit, but mutual profit.

                    These various traits counterbalance each other. Which is why, as anthropologist Graiber points out, when someone says "hand me that wrench over there", most people comply without asking for "profit" if it is easy enough to do. In other words, people want to profit together.  Most people won't say, "sure, I'll give you the wrench for exactly two bananas." Instead, they simply hand over the wrench. There are countless examples of this.

                    There are biologists and social scientists who think humans are wired toward teamwork and mutual aid, as well as to compete. Competition for "profit" isn't the only trait at work in the human animal.

                    Socialism doesn't try to end mutual profit, just individual profit at the expense of everyone else. Primates are social animals, and they are capable of teamwork and mutual aid.

                    Perhaps seeking "profit" is more than a cultural trait, but individual profit at the expense of everyone else, tantamount to hording all the bananas while one's tribe-mates die of starvation, IS a cultural trait.

                    It is an easy trap to fall into linear thinking, raising one trait above all others, as if that trait exists in isolation.

                    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                    by ZhenRen on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:22:44 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  yep, her argument elevates drive for (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Cassiodorus, DawnN

                      personal pleasure over the drive to survive

                      a micro version of the discussion happening at all levels worldwide right now

                      I am suspicious of any argument that attempts to naturalize a cultural construction. We don't consider that biology is destiny when it comes to gender--I assume everyone here is in support of transgender people and their civil rights. So, why should we believe that biology is destiny when it comes to our economic system?

                      gender isn't inevitable, neither is sex, but the rules of capitalism are inevitable and immutable?

                      Can we at least determine which form of capitalism we're talking about here that is so inevitable? Is it the mercantile capitalism of a fifteenth-century Florentine merchant? The industrial capitalism of a Rockefeller or a Carnegie? the lightspeed casino capitalism of a Bloomberg? Which version is the immutable law of the universe? When Wall St finishes destroying capitalism, what then?

                      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 02:05:36 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
                        We don't consider that biology is destiny when it comes to gender
                        We don't? Some would say the failed attempts to force little boys who felt they were girls to happily adopt male identity are pretty strong evidence of biology as destiny.
                        •  And I've heard the exact opposite (0+ / 0-)

                          description of how transgendered folks are forced into roles they don't belong in.

                          In other words, you were born with male organs, that is your biology, so you will be a boy--regardless of how you feel.

                          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 09:49:32 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  Life depends on the evolution of regulation (0+ / 0-)

                    Forget sociobiology; look at the biochemistry of the cell. It depends on very precise regulation. It is not about selfish genes, each doing its own thing. That idea has been exploded by genomics.

                    What we are facing is a life-threatening inability to regulate our extended biology -- our industrial system and our technologies. We know damn well it is because of capitalism and gross income inequality that we can't make the changes necessary to survive.

                    We will either find a way to do it, or become extinct.

                    And, no, capitalism is not dictated by our biology. That is nothing but social Darwinism.

          •  Lenin and Mao weren't facing (0+ / 0-)

            planet death.

            if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:51:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  You can keep all the grease in the ground (0+ / 0-)

          but that addresses only a small portion of carbon emissions. Carbon Emissions from energy generation are the largest single problem and keeping the grease in the ground doesn't begin to address that source.

          Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

          by 6412093 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:25:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The carbon tax is doable (7+ / 0-)

        in the present fiscal climate. In fact, it's even more doable than ever, not only in the US but in other countries. Some countries, like Australia, have even enacted it. Believe me, this is an idea whose time has come because it represents an alignment of fiscal, tax and environmental interests. Remember that quip of Adlai Stevens? When told by a supporter that all thinking Americans supported him for President, he replied, "Thanks, but I need a majority." That's what we need. You have to find a path to a majority that will necessarily include people doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:30:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  China (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CalGal47

          You can get some of the countries to implement a carbon tax some of the time, and many of the countries most of the time, but you can't get China and India to do much of anything that will suppress their standard of living.

          If the 3rd world isn't in on reducing CO2, it isn't going to work.  I also have my doubts about the effectiveness of the "cap" after it's been compromised by a Tea Bagger congress.

          We are in a desperate situation, and I'm all for trying many different approaches, but I firmly believe that unless we get ALT-E cheaper than fossil fuels, for the entire world, we and most other species on this planet are going to lose big time.

          •  I think it will be successful. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            too many people, CalGal47

            China and India have as much or even more motive to sign onto a carbon tax than we do. Tax revenue is a persistent problem in these countries, particularly India. A carbon tax is a very efficient source of revenue because there is no evasion. You dig up coal, you pay the government. Simple, efficient. India could use the revenue to build much needed infrastructure. The revenue potential is really huge too, and it avoids the dreaded income tax hike to the extent that there is much of that in India. So, I wouldn't be so pessimistic about those countries. It's the USA I would be worried about, but even here I think linking it directly to deficit reduction is a low-pain method for helping the Congress avoid appearing to raise income taxes.

            For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

            by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:45:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  But having a carbon tax would allow (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW

            charging a tariff on Chinese or Indian made goods, to the extent that it charged for "embodied carbon" in the goods.  The only way imported products would be exempt from the tariff would be if the country of origin charged an equivalent carbon tax on their own fossil fuels.  That would motivate them to create their own.  

            I firmly believe that unless we get ALT-E cheaper than fossil fuels, for the entire world, we and most other species on this planet are going to lose big time.
            You are absolutely right.  But a carbon tax and/or removal of subsidies from fossil fuels would make renewable energy cheaper.

            Renewable energy brings national global security.     

            by Calamity Jean on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:58:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  true, pollwatcher, but it must be said (0+ / 0-)

        tbat not wishing upon a star hasn't gotten us fuck-all.

        We've been using the pragmatic approach since the late 80s. Cap and trade started as a centrist, pragmatic, business-friendly way of dealing with climate change!

        Secondly, your suggestions also could be considered a kind of star-gazing:

        I love this green jobs program/Apollo program idea of yours, but since neither party supports Great Society or New Deal types of spending, and austerity/paygo is the name of the game for both parties, I don't see how you're going to get the government to do any of what you suggest. Your ideas seem at least as improbable as Cass'.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:55:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, you can pit producers against each other (6+ / 0-)

      If we create policies to promote big renewable energy producers, they will create political push back against their competitors, the fossil fuel industry.

      There's money to be made, and by working in incentives, the money will flow down hill.  

      Some examples:  renewable portfolio standards, investment in research and bringing new technologies to market, tax incentives, cutting fossil fuel subsidies, enforcing environmental standards for real on polluting industries.  All of these can push us the right way without the tax.

      I agree, the tax woudl be a huge help though

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:29:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I fear that a carbon tax (0+ / 0-)

        if not world wide will simply drive the rest of our heavy industries to relocate in the 3rd world.

        Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

        by 6412093 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:27:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not if the carbon tax is charged as an import (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW
          I fear that a carbon tax if not world wide will simply drive the rest of our heavy industries to relocate in the 3rd world.    
          tariff on things imported from nations that don't have a carbon tax of their own.  

          Renewable energy brings national global security.     

          by Calamity Jean on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 06:06:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You've Understated the Solution. (11+ / 0-)

    The planet cannot safely accept one single new (net) molecule of atmospheric carbon. Not one molecule, and there's too much in the air now.

    We need to be putting zero net into the air and actually pulling some out into sequestration for geologic time.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:37:17 AM PST

    •  The great masses can do that too -- (4+ / 0-)

      once they're not fixated on working twelve hours a day making (e.g.) clothing for WalMart.

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:02:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, and it's going to take energy (0+ / 0-)

      to do it.  More energy, even, than was produced by the burning that dumped the CO2 in the atmosphere in the first place (that's how thermodynamics works).  And that on top of the ongoing energy production necessary to maintain our standard of living, and bring the rest of the planet up to some level decently higher than where they are now.

      That's a lot of energy.  It is not going to come from windmills.  Some but far from all of it can, perhaps, come from solar panels on every roof . . . but that too will not be even close to enough.

      So what should we say about (and to) the organized and vociferous opposition that beats its chest about climate change and beats the table against the only actual solution that we have?

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:12:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  how do we sequester... (0+ / 0-)

      plant more forests?

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 02:06:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Commodity Fetishism (7+ / 0-)

    We need to create awareness by skillfully branding  that which the media wants us not to see as in "Keep The Grease In The Ground." and Commodity Fetishism.

    The present-day economy is guided by the profits system, which .. has converted government into a facilitator of corporate profit.  In its basic motivation, the profits system is guided by commodity fetishism, the spell of capitalism.  Under the spell of commodity fetishism, fossil fuels appear to have "value," and thus have to be profitably "produced," whereas from an ecological perspective their continued production and burning constitute a hazard to life on Earth
    Thank you for doing this.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:45:28 AM PST

  •  Depends on what it means to live like a "monk". (15+ / 0-)

    In this consumer society, it's easy to imagine all sorts of things as being considered radically acetic.

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Clearly, the average person's embrace is ridiculously, cartoonishly short of what we need. Clearly, what the average person needs to do is radically, perhaps monkishly (?), more than they are currently moved to do in order to meaningfully contribute to the 80% reduction of CO2 emissions by 1950.

    The fact is, the contribution of individuals to CO2 is only about 20% of the emissions. We could all cut our carbon footprints by 80% and still go whizzing past 2 degrees Celsius at amazing speed. If the problem is not undertaken institutionally by both the government and private sectors, it really is, as James Hansen says, game over. Our individual efforts will be for naught. The Tar Sand will not only be harvested, the oil will be burned, if only for the institutions.

    As McKibben explained in 350.org's recent Do The Math tour: the oil industry already has 5 times the oil we can afford to burn in proven reserves, on their balance sheets. Their share prices already factor the extraction and sale of that oil. The vested interest in doing so is...unimaginable.

    While I believe 350.org's "divestment"strategy, beginning with university, a la the South Africa program, is a worthy pursuit, I believe, as Paul Gilding argues in The Great Disruption, that Climate Change driven market disruption alone will force the necessary mass, institutionally supported and led response. The question is when the market disruption, which is already occurring, will be recognized as something more than another disaster-capitalism opportunity (if it ever is recognized as such among the elite gamble class), and whether the response will scale quickly and to the critical mass necessary to address the threat.

    In lieu of all that, our individual efforts to slash, not simply spruce up, our carbon footprints, are collectively more than the sum of the parts, in that they can heighten awareness and develop pathways that others can follow. After all, a sustainable future depends upon a completely different approach to consumption so foreign to the vast majority of us we hardly know where to begin. We need a wide variety of models to choose from and show they way, too few of which currently exist. While we need the institutions to participate, we still need to contribute to and participate in a massive cultural shift from consumption. And that process for many will feel like a monastic pilgrimage.

    Also, I personally am charting a course to a radical reduction of 60-80% of my family's footprint, over the next couple of years, because I couldn't live knowing that I hadn't done the things that were in my control to do. In my personal ethos, that is the only moral thing to do. On top of that, I will use that experience to try and create paths for others to follow, because ultimately we will all have to get leverage on our efforts if we are to have any hope of achieving the level of change necessary.

    Am I going over the top? With the planet at stake and civilization failing the test so utterly miserably, I don't think so. As Jeff Balog, the photographer studied in the documentary "Chasing Ice" said, in the future, when his children/grandchildren ask what he did to address Climate Change, he wanted to be able to tell them everything I knew how to do". I don't know about you, but I want to be able to do the same.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:04:52 AM PST

    •  education for cultural shift (5+ / 0-)

      I like what you said:

      I will use that experience to try and create paths for others to follow
      because I think that could be the main benefit from individual efforts to lower carbon use. Once I get a solar panel up, for example, the 25 households in my neighborhood (H.A.) will be curious about it and some may follow suit. Early adopters help to spread the word; eventually there is a tipping point.

      One thing I like to do is track our electric and gas usage over time to see how our energy-saving measures are doing. Somewhere I found a formula for calculating energy use of KwH and therms together as one number. Then you can look at your household energy use overall, look at it per person, or per square foot, or potentially to compare with other households in your region.

      What I think would be nifty is an "app" for that--a simple, clear way for non-scientists to keep an eye on their actual energy use. People could use this number to look for improvements, to save money, or to brag. Surely some clever way of doing this can be developed! Some people are very aware of their gas mileage, especially if the car has an app (as in the Prius) to show you your current mileage. What if there was a way to show your house's 'mileage'?

      I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

      by sillia on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:20:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My Personal Efforts - Costly, Rewarding Morally (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citisven, CalGal47, Words In Action

      In 2011, I installed solar hot water panels on my roof. Later that same year, I went ahead & did solar energy as well. I was trying to assuage my guilt as a US citizen for how much fossil fuel we burn as a country compared to the size of our population.

      I also upgraded my furnace, AC to 95 % or higher efficiency.
      Yes, I spent a lot of money - close to $80,000 which I'll never get back in the increased value of my home.

       As I live in WI, I can only claim the Federal Credit. In fact, the assessor lowered the value of my home after all this investment, and I had to appeal to get my home more fairly appraised.

      It would be great if I lived in Germany where solar energy installations are valued. Even CA gives a state rebate.

      We must be the change we wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

      by left of center on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:01:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What was the logic behind that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW
        ... the assessor lowered the value of my home after all this investment ....
        Do you know?  

        Renewable energy brings national global security.     

        by Calamity Jean on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 06:13:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re Assessor dropping the value (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW

          Calamity Jane - They lowered everyone in my neighborhood about $20,000 without any respect to any improvements that I made on my property - at least in my case. I should have been clearer in my remarks. They just ignored my improvements & wacked my house along with the homes of my neighbors.

          The assessor also admitted that they had no data to make a decision on my property as very few homes here in Madison have both solar energy & solar water. They also have no tracking info whether homes like mine have appreciated.

          We must be the change we wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

          by left of center on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:03:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You spelled my name wrong. It's Jean, not (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW

            Jane.  Same letters, different order.  

            So the assessor didn't lower the value of your home because of your PV and solar water heater.  At first it sounded like they were lowering your value as if your improvements had actually damaged your house.

            Renewable energy brings national global security.     

            by Calamity Jean on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 02:04:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Typically solar energy systems INCREASE the (0+ / 0-)

            value of homes. You should be able to bring that to the attention of the assessor. Of course, you may want to wait until you're about to sell, unless you don't mind the extra taxes.

            The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

            by Words In Action on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 05:50:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  More than that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, DawnN

      collective individual energy conservation and even home PV efforts can reduce our baseload energy needs.  Our massive national baseload energy requirements, currently provided by a 1000 or so large power plants, reduce the impact of renewables to trivial.

      Huge advances in renewables will reduce carbon emissons by only small percentages until we significantly reduce energy use.

      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

      by 6412093 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:33:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Less is More ain't so bad. Been living that way (6+ / 0-)

    most my life.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:13:11 AM PST

  •  13 years ago my Mother and I had a conversation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, maryabein, too many people

    whereby she posited that people would clean up their act before it was too late.  I said they wouldn't and that we will all go through horrible, horrible times and maybe extinction due to our lack of ability to change. (hello dinosaurs).  She thought I was too pessimistic.

    I think I will remind her of that conversation again.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:13:59 AM PST

  •  One of the biggest challenges, I think, (5+ / 0-)

    is motivating "ordinary" people to take action (either in their own lives OR on a larger scale by pushing governments and industry to change.) We need a large-scale movement, akin to the "peace movements" of the 20th century, ASAP.

    I wrote up some thoughts on this in a diary this morning. Would love feedback and discussion.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Let's make 2013 the year we take back our planet.

    by Eowyn9 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:17:24 AM PST

  •  Well... (7+ / 0-)

    ....we could also ban children. Or at least more than one per couple.

    No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

    by Doug in SF on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:27:50 AM PST

  •  And how will you make all producers to stop (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    production? As soon as some stop, prices will increase and it will provide extra incentive for others to increase production. It's like Prohibition on global scale with similar outcome.

    •  Like I said -- (0+ / 0-)

      international treaty.  If more people read what I wrote, we could move forward a bit more quickly to the advanced questions.

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:07:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It won't work. It's not like CFC where you stop (0+ / 0-)

        production of smth and can easily replace it with smth else.

        •  There's no replacement for fossil fuels? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          citisven, JesseCW, Cassandra Waites

          Perhaps you could engage this concept in dialogue with the "alternative energy" enthusiasts here in the comments section of this diary?

          "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:26:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think the biggest replacement of fossil fuels (6+ / 0-)

            is not needing the energy in the first place, aka conservation. I don't think there is any way to simply replace our current fossil fueled economy and lifestyles with clean energy economy and lifestyles. It just won't work because our entire infrastructure is built on wasting tons of fossil energy, something that has only been possible during this last blip in human history and won't last much longer, no matter what people or the market want. For example, you cannot run suburbia on wind and solar because the entire layout is so inefficient that you need all the fossil energy it took millions of years to form to keep it going. It won't matter that you have solar panels on your roof if you have to heat a poorly insulated single family home and drive your car to just buy groceries.

            So I totally agree that our personal lifestyle choices alone won't do the trick and that fundamental and foundational changes have to be put in place. Having the kind of eco-socialism that you describe in place would be tremendously helpful, just in terms of zoning laws for example, but it's a big uphill battle, at least in this country. I was describing in another diary how difficult it's been just to get the City of Berkeley to designate one block for pedestrians only, because there are so many NIMBYs that talk a big eco game but are totally unwilling to give up their on habits and status. And they have a lot of power, because in America people worship their individualism, and just like they insist on owning as many guns as they damn well please, they insist on building their friggin McMansion where they damn well please or the right of their customers to drive to the front door of their business.

            To me, the personal lifestyle change is as much about reducing my own footprint as it is about inspiring other to show that it's not so hard and can actually be kinda fun to live more simply. It's about changing the common wisdom of what's cool and desirable, because only once you have a critical number of people willing to live in the kind of system you envision can you get the political will to shift towards it. And I think you have to get the people on your side to create any kind of collectivist system, because when you force them history shows that it doesn't turn out well.

            You don’t want to be victimized by your lesser talents. - Gary Snyder

            by citisven on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:55:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You can replace them in the future. But banning (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            6412093

            all fossil fuels right now is is completely impractical. You can do it sort of like Kyoto treaty where implementation is spread out over many years. It might work in this case by accelerating the transition from fossil fuels.

            •  The Kyoto Protocol isn't really a solution. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, DawnN

              It's more of a new opportunity for the peddlers of financial securities.  It doesn't really do anything about the problem.

              About your standard, though: Mass suicide is completely practical -- this doesn't mean we should try to do it.

              "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

              by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:03:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree that Kyoto didn't do much. But in (0+ / 0-)

                order for most countries to agree to any treaty, it will end up diluted so much that its impact will be fairly small.

                I agree with your point that we need to look at both production and consumption. However, attempts to regulate production of anything without changing the consumption patterns have been largely failures. Like Prohibition or war on drugs. You will need a police state to implement it. Approaching it from both production and consumption sides and initially focusing on low hanging fruit (e.g. tar sands, coal) makes more sense.

            •  In Germany (0+ / 0-)

              which is rapidly advancing into renewables, they are still keeping considerable coal-generated power capacity handy.

              Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

              by 6412093 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:37:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  What makes you think oil-producing countries... (0+ / 0-)

        ...would sign a treaty that would crater their economies?

        Or that heavy-consuming countries would sign a treaty that would turn their stuff-addicted people against them in droves?

        An "international treaty" is meaningless if the countries that contribute the most to the problem won't sign it.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:32:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Concern for planetary survival? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          left of center, JesseCW

          There can be an embargo provision against recalcitrant producers.  It does, of course, require a good deal of socialist spirit that is lacking in the world today.

          "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:38:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So it's not a solution. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            freesia

            You yourself admit that the necessary conditions for your solution do not exist.

            So you need to present a plan that will bring about those conditions. What is your plan for increasing the "socialist spirit" to the levels you deem necessary, and how is that plan workable in such a way that it is a more realistic option than emissions-based solutions?

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:44:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, advocating socialism might help -- (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW

              also, libertarian socialist ideas such as Food Not Bombs deserve to spread far and wide... pretty much any practical social entity involving sharing and solidarity is a good idea -- even charities do their part...

              "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

              by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:51:35 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Dictating expensive solutions... (0+ / 0-)

    ...will not work.  Raising living standards worldwide requires increased energy consumption.  Dictating the use of expensive energy (e.g. solar) instead of cheap fossil energy (coal) is a non-starter for developing nations.  We need a market-based solution:  energy cheaper than coal.  See the book of the same title: THORIUM: Energy Cheaper then Coal by Robert Hargraves.

    Imagine a world of abundant, cheap, clean energy.  There is nothing standing between us and such a future besides failure of will and imagination.

    Obama is still my guy.

    by AKguy on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:19:47 AM PST

    •  Let me guess... (0+ / 0-)

      You're a fan of Julian Simon.

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:24:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        ...I'm in favor of a smaller world population and living more in harmony with the natural world.  Getting to lower population growth can come from higher living standards, empowering women, etc.  Cheap energy is key.  Low-carbon energy is essential to mitigate and eventually reverse AGW.

        Expensive green energy is just not going to do the trick in the third world, I'm afraid.  This from someone with $16,000 of solar panels on his roof.

        Obama is still my guy.

        by AKguy on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:47:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Coal isn't cheap. It's extremely expensive. It's (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Stankus, freesia, DawnN

      just that it's very easy for corporations which profit from coal to externalize the cost.

      "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

      by JesseCW on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:23:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, but... (0+ / 0-)

        ...as long as the costs aren't borne by coal-sellers, coal consumption will increase.  Unregulated markets are not good at pricing in externalities, and I don't see carbon taxes happening any time soon.  If you are running a developing economy, are you willing to make electricity expensive so as to reduce CO2 emissions, even though that slows development and keeps more of your populace in poverty?  The obvious answer is: "no".

        Obama is still my guy.

        by AKguy on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:29:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You don't have to make electricity expensive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus

          to reduce emissions.

          You just have start charging some serious fees for the extraction of your nations coal, then spend the proceeds investing in affordable renewable energy.

          •  It also helps to run an army of Robin Hoods (0+ / 0-)

            to tax the rich and give to the poor.  All of the pre-capitalist producers of poverty are long gone, leaving capitalism as the main producer of poverty now.

            "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

            by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:11:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  "affordable renewable" (0+ / 0-)

            And what renewable competes with cheap coal on price, assuming no carbon tax on the coal?  

            Obama is still my guy.

            by AKguy on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 07:29:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Mea culpa ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven, Cassiodorus, JesseCW

    With the disinvestment campaign, I never pulled (back) up 'keep the grease in the ground' even though you were right when you wrote it.

    Again, thank you for challenging my thinking even as I remain in the hope(less) of salvaging something from the current economic system with a (mistaken) belief that regulation and policy can actual achieve something meaningful.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:28:01 AM PST

  •  Minimizing personal CO2 emissions is all you can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093

    do and avoid the guilt of wrecking the climate. It is likely
    we will be at 430 ppm in about 20 years regardless of whatever we do and globally it looks impossible to reduce
    fossil fuel combustion and even if we did land use changes
    will keep adding CO2,CH4.
    At some point redlines are not helpful. People need to
    take personal responsibility for their CO2 emissions.
    How many tons of CO2 did you personally put into the atmosphere in 2012? I put in 3.6 tons in electricity, oil and natural gas, but I reduced it by 3.0 tons by switching to 100% wind farm electricity from AEP mid-year.

    •  The critique of the blame-the-consumer approach (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW

      is taken on in greater detail by Foster, Clark, and York in their book The Ecological Rift, which I reviewed for DKos at the end of 2011.

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:41:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's the alternative? Direct action? That would (0+ / 0-)

        gain you little if you are looking at a 450 ppm redline except to get a more complete fascist state, which we are not.
        It's possible in the next 20 years US emissions will fall by 50% with reasonable actions but that won't be enough to help.
        Maybe a global nuclear war where the US, China and India disappeared would accomplish that but nothing else will keep things below 450ppm.
        I think the keep it in the ground theory only works if you significantly underestimate the amount of fossil fuels left.
        Coal is everywhere and thanks to shale gas so is it and there is plenty of tight oil, kerogen, bitumen and heavy oil.
        Technology such as batteries and hydrogen fuel cells are just too expensive.
        I guess I'm saying do the right thing personally but the promise of collective action will fail.

    •  Now, how about the food you ate? What was the (0+ / 0-)

      carbon footprint there?

      What about all the other goods you purchased?

      I'm not saying you shouldn't try.  I'm not saying that such efforts don't help.  If I ever own a home and can afford to do so, I'm investing in solar.  

      I've already invested all the energy saving devices I reasonably can as a renter.  The big wasteful 1960's vintage water heater isn't under my control.

      But the biggest producers are industrial and we can't control their behavior, or even influence it enough, as "individual consumers'.

      "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

      by JesseCW on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:28:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Food is about health not CO2 otherwise recycle. (0+ / 0-)

        It's hard in a society and economy based on consumption.
        I suppose I ought to give up my cheap subsidized milk products for soy. Should I give up methane belching rice? In 50 years, I would imagine that raising
        animals for food will be outlawed to free up land for grains.
        But obviously not having children would make the most sense.

        •  What? (0+ / 0-)
          Food is about health not CO2 otherwise recycle
          Our direct personal energy use, our private cars and our dryers and our TV's, account for about 20% of our nations CO's output.

          The rest is industry.  Business.  

          The agriculture industry produces a hell of a lot of CO2

          "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

          by JesseCW on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:32:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  living like "a monk"? conserving energy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AgavePup, sillia, 6412093, Dr Stankus

    is within most Americans' control, and of course that will "mitigate" global warming.

    Will it stop or reverse global warming? Well, no, I don't expect so, but that's not what the word "mitigate" means.

    somehow this idea that there's no point in conserving energy, growing more of your own food (instead of buying food trucked or flown in), etc. etc. because any meaningful change has to wait until we "get rid of capitalism" reminds me of the "why bother to vote" argument.

    Kind of an easy excuse not to do anything, isn't it? There's power in numbers.

    •  You're not going to get numbers -- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW

      under capitalism, for the numerous reasons I've pointed out above.  I'd be interested in a point-by-point critique -- it saddens me that such a form of response is rare today.

      Numbers for ecosocialism, on the other hand, might stand a chance.  Please see, e.g. the works of Joel Kovel, Saral Sarkar, Hans A. Baer, or for that matter anyone who has published with Capitalism Nature Socialism...

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:46:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think your theory needs a point by (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        point critique, I expect it all makes sense, from an academic point of view.

        I just quarrel with the idea that individual efforts wlll "do nothing" (that's a direct quote, not a "straw man") and the copy editor (and environmental activist) in me also quarrels with your use of the word "mitigate" to mean "solve" or "stop" or "prevent" or whatever you were thinking, instead of "lessen the severity of the impact" which is what the word means.

        •  Thanks for the clarification. (0+ / 0-)

          though I meant just what I said -- "conservation" won't mitigate global warming because the fossil fuel producers produce for a market, and if we won't buy, someone else will.  Lowering the price will change attitudes if taken far enough, too.  We need a universal "no."

          "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:48:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  This is a complete straw man. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Stankus, Cassiodorus
      somehow this idea that there's no point in conserving energy, growing more of your own food (instead of buying food trucked or flown in), etc. etc. because any meaningful change has to wait until we "get rid of capitalism" reminds me of the "why bother to vote" argument.
      "This is nowhere near enough to solve the problem" does not equal "quit it".

      Recognize it's not enough.  Don't fool yourself into thinking it's a path solving the crisis.

      "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

      by JesseCW on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:30:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, when I read, in the first sentence of a (0+ / 0-)

        diary, this:

        "Living like a monk, under capitalism, will do nothing about global warming."

        I interpret that as meaning there's no point in making any "monk" like efforts, because those efforts "do nothing."

        If that interpretation is a "straw man," well, then, I plead guilty, but I don't think it is. "Do nothing" is pretty strong language.

        I guess it's the Green in me, I always think small scale efforts are part of any solution to any problem.

        I did not say say individual efforts would be "enough," because I wrote: "Will it stop or reverse global warming? Well, no, I don't expect so." and no change, no efforts are "enough" if they don't stop or reverse global warming, right?

  •  Personal lifestyle changes are the gateway drug to (6+ / 0-)

    a better understanding of global warming and what needs to be done on a larger scale.  We still have a sizable number of people who have been led to believe there is no problem.  Those that do, want to be able to do something, within their control, today.  Changing lightbulbs, taking public transportation, starting a vegetable garden are worthy beginnings and are not deserving of such ridicule.    People who begin to engage in the issues in this fashion are the very people that are ready to hear the next steps that must be taken.     Should I go down to the local elementary school that is teaching children to grow organic vegetables, harvest rainwater, recycle waste  and operate aquaponic gardens to just give it up?  I find the voice of ridicule of your target audience often unproductive.

    •  The question is, gateway drug to what? (0+ / 0-)

      Is advocacy of energy conservation the gateway drug to a realization that the capitalist system will not solve our global warming problem?

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:49:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  that's as discussable as single payer, even less (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    so, except in those liberal places

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:49:50 AM PST

  •  I take the exact opposite side of this argument. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    Protesting production and transportation of carbon-based fuels has never work and can't work. Laws restricting production and transportation of carbon-based fuels have never worked and can't work.

    I agree with McKibben on the vast majority of climate change discussions, especially his insistence that it is a bigger problem than most people, certainly most governments think and that it will result in global catastrophe sooner than most people and governments think it will.

    But on this, supply vs consumption I don't agree one bit.

    Not only that, I'm right and he's wrong.

    Well, if you're saying we need to get rid of Global Capitalism and then suppressing the supply side will work, okay, that's probably true. But that's NGTH (not going to happen).

    Why?

    Because laws (and that's what it takes) limiting production and transportation raise fuel prices in a market-based system. They have to. Always have. Always will. Anything that raises fuel prices in a weak global economy is also NGTH.

    Laws (and again, that's what it takes) limiting consumption LOWER fuel prices in a market-based system. They have to. Always have. Always will.

    In fact, laws limiting consumption, conservation laws, lower prices such that taxes can be applied to those fuels with little net effect on the economy. So, you can have $6 gasoline because of reduced supply and all of it goes to the Oil Barrons (as McKibben calls them), -OR- you can have $4.50 gasoline where $1.50 of it is tax and goes to green technologies, including my favorite cause, Fusion Research.

    We have to change our lifestyles drastically. We are going to require laws that force us to do that. Laws that limit production and transportation don't work and in fact create more problems. Laws that limit consumption DO work and solve problems.

    Unless of course you're expecting the planet to rid itself of Capitalism before it rids itself of a life-sustaining climate.

    NGTH.

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:22:00 AM PST

    •  The problem is that too much is "produced." (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishgrease, JesseCW

      In your focus upon "price" you seem to have left out that part.  If the grease can be kept in the ground, then it doesn't matter what price it has, it stays in the ground.

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:26:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh that too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock

        When the price falls because of laws reducing consumption, production will decrease. Has to.

        Same end result, more carbon-based fuels staying in the rock, fewer wells, lower coal tonnage. But by curtailing supply the Oil Barons stay rich and there's a plausible argument they get richer - by curtailing consumption they become less rich and limit production because it is a losing proposition.

        It's really as simple as defining what will work in a global market-based economy and what won't.

        Because that's what we have and that's what we will continue to have. If your method depends upon Worldwide Socialism (which I like the sound of as much as any of the rest of you) then you have to accomplish that first, THEN apply your method. Your method cannot breath in a market-based atmosphere. Mine can.

        It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

        by Fishgrease on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:38:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  glad I kept reading the comments (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishgrease

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:05:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you, ban nock (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock

        I'm a fan of yours. Seen you go up against the multitudes - while generally agreeing with everything you wrote. I don't write the truth any better than you do.

        Maybe I just lubricate it a little better.

        It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

        by Fishgrease on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:28:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thank you, I care a lot about our environment and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishgrease

          issues generally conservation, but I (and many others) generally lack a formal scientific education. Seems like issues environmental get lost in the noise of every day politics.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 10:40:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  minor quibble. (0+ / 0-)
    Green groups, for instance, have spent a lot of time trying to change individual lifestyles: the iconic twisty light bulb has been installed by the millions, but so have a new generation of energy-sucking flatscreen TVs.
    An LCD flat panel display will use anywhere from 30% to 60% less electricity than an old CRT display of the same size.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:54:59 AM PST

  •  theres a lot of things our govt could do with will (0+ / 0-)

    power....

    sad, sad, sad but very true.  Even the ones we have highest hopes for can't seem to get things done.

    Still gotta try and thanks for this very well-researched article

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism. Fuck the NRA.

    by democracy is coming on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:57:13 AM PST

  •  And let's talk about treaties too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    There are many more net-carbon-consumer countries than there are net-carbon-producer countries. The net-carbon-consumer countries also have a much greater population and tend to have less authoritarian systems of government.

    So you can try to convince Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to sign a treaty which will slow their economy. I'm not even going to say "good luck" because it would take more than luck. It would take war.

    Or you can try to convince net-carbon-consumer countries to sign a treaty limiting consumption, which will help their economy by lowering fuel prices and will slow climate change. It will also cause Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to leave more oil in the rock because that's what lower prices do. It's what OPEC does.

    One of these treaties is an easy sell. The other borders on ridiculous.

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:13:32 AM PST

  •  I pee in my yard. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, ban nock

    I think that helps.

    I also use a compressed air rifle which doesn't generate any pollutants other than the lead pellets.

    When I am unemployed I don't go places and have no money to pollute with ....

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:27:50 AM PST

  •  Uh, I'm pretty sure (0+ / 0-)

    LED TVs use WAY less power than CRT TVs.

    Actually if you want to make a small difference make sure you buy an LED/LCD TV and not a plasma.  Plasma uses way more power

  •  Well damn. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    And here I already have the organic tonsure and all!

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:11:45 PM PST

  •  Seriously? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fishgrease, ban nock

    An international treaty to keep fossil fuels in the ground is what's needed, in your opinion?

    Remind me again how successful the UNFCCC process worked for a climate agreement?  It hasn't and it won't.

    But an international treaty preventing extraction should be the goal to avoid 'abrupt climate change'.  How exactly is that going to be approved?  We have to exchange our capitalistic system for a different system?  That won't require massive shifts in sociological processes or anything.

    You're better off arguing for Kyoto II.  It will be approved before ecosocialism is adopted and a treaty halting an entire industry is accepted.

    •  I suppose we will have to wait, then. (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe after famine kills a few billion people the gears will start to grind.

      "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 12:48:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know you're frustrated. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus, ban nock

        I am too. Your diary is probably the best defense of hitting the supply side of this I've seen. Better in many ways than McKibben's.

        Please know those of us critical of the prospects of the method are not critical of your motives. We're all on the same side there.

        One problem is that people assume McKibben is a scientist or economist. He. Is. Not. He's a journalist/author. He's very good at it, and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with being an journalist or author.

        And I agree with most everything he stands for.

        Just disagree where the rubber hits the road. On this one issue.

        It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

        by Fishgrease on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 04:41:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I can see how you read that into my statement (0+ / 0-)

        But I don't advocate waiting for anything.  To the contrary, I think there are probably too many strategies available to us and we're not really committing to most of them in meaningful ways.
        I've soured on the international process because you're dealing with so many vested interests - it is inherently slow and takes too long to respond to crises.
        I note that my question was unaddressed while you instead chose to over-dramatize your response.  Is today's international treaty process well-equipped to handle your suggestion?  If so, describe how it would be processed.  If not, perhaps an offer of suggestions of what needs to be changed would be helpful.  I read a lot of generalities in the post, and perhaps that's all you intended to write in order to facilitate discussion.  Here's is a small part of that discussion.  Let's have it.

  •  thanks for putting it clearly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, DawnN

    none of this is to say that I don't think that I should
    1) eat less meat
    2)drive less
    3)get appliances that are energy-efficient
    4)use cool twisty lightbulbs
    5)get decent insulation in my house and good glass in my windows

    All these things are good. none of them is sufficient. All of them together are still not sufficient.

    Unfortunately, neither laissez-faire nor fascist approaches to government will result in the kinds of policy you desire. And those are the only kinds of government that the 1% want to allow.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:46:26 PM PST

  •  This all sounds great except it doesn't work (0+ / 0-)

    in the hear and now. Rich entitled environmentalists have been telling the world how they should live for decades and look what it's brought us. That do as I say stuff gets old.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:00:14 PM PST

  •  Yes, precisely. (0+ / 0-)

    It's pure nonsense to continue focusing on emissions instead of where they come from. Focusing on emissions means coming up with a complex scheme of some kind, to set targets for each population and measure progress. It means forcing countries still going through the basics of economic development to focus on curbing economic activity.

    Cutting the cord on fossil fuels means fast tracking the introduction of viable alternative sources of energy. I'd like any treaty to include a heavy focus on funding research, sharing technology, and eliminating patent rights in the energy sector.

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 12:04:40 AM PST

  •  You had me right up until the..... (0+ / 0-)

    "until Earth turns into Venus" part.

    Next time you write a climate change article, please don't do that again. Okay? It's not constructive.

  •  Ecosocialist??????????????? (0+ / 0-)
    "It's an ecosocialist move -- the only way you're going to get the world behind it is by a fundamental leveling of the economic playing field between rich and poor nations."
    Sad to say, the chance of this actually happening is zero.

    Human animals with the power of the industrial revolution and the capitalist growth model of perpetual human progress are a cancer on the earth.  Billions will die; the earth will pass through a hot phase climate epoch, with a mass extinction event that has already begun; evolution will create new forms; nature will not care.  

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 01:49:43 PM PST

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