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By what standard is the public NOT at fault for climate change?


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https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

 

This study is popular to cite whenever someone expresses eco-antinatalist sentiment, or otherwise blames the public for climate change by the notion that they drive too much, eat too much meat, etc... and then vote against politicians who would impose taxation on such things.

 

But by what standard are companies that cater to consumer demand not a reflection of the general public's own culpability?

 

One could invoke game theory, and say that if people who boycotted meat or automobiles noticed they were missing out on products everyone else seemed to be enjoying, individuals' willpower in holding firm to their boycotts would collapse, and a plurality of consumers boycotting them would never be reached.

 

But then, isn't that all the more to actually tax such things, such that those who do enjoy such products then have to reimburse the future victims of the harm such products may do?

 

And yet, (almost) every time a politician unequivocally promises to impose a carbon tax, they get defeated in the next election. If people worship the free market too much to support a carbon tax, doesn't it stand to reason that they would worship it too much to support regulation against the companies themselves?

 

I suppose to some environmentalists, the blame for climate change belongs disproportionately to companies whose donations to politicians give them incentive to deny climate change. But they can't bribe everyone. Isn't it a little condescending to imply ordinary voters who aren't being bribed merely don't know better? And if we go down that path, what of all the eco-zealots who cried wolf about the rainforests being the "lungs of the Earth" when in terms of oxygen output they pale in comparison to phytoplankton? Does this not tarnish environmentalism's credibility, and therefore warrant assigning them a disproportionate per-capita share of the blame as well? Why or why not?

 

As well, if you blame the companies on account of spreading disinformation; and/or bribing politicians to do so; why don't these kinds of articles blame them on those grounds, instead of on the grounds of the fossil fuel extraction that simply caters to consumer demand?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101
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38 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

But by what standard are companies that cater to consumer demand not a reflection of the general public's own culpability?

 

It most certainly is a reflection of the public's own culpability. That doesn't absolve the companies though.

40 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Isn't it a little condescending to imply ordinary voters who aren't being bribed merely don't know better?

Not at all. Many ordinary voters don't know any better. 

Overall I feel you post makes it seem like there is one right way of looking at things; good or bad, voters or companies or politicians.

Certainly every category has its own good and bad players, educated and not, concerned or not. 

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3 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

And yet, (almost) every time a politician unequivocally promises to impose a carbon tax, they get defeated in the next election. If people worship the free market too much to support a carbon tax, doesn't it stand to reason that they would worship it too much to support regulation against the companies themselves?

Have you considered that cynicism about the way the 'free' market operates is sufficient a reason to not support a tax that will most likely deliver a healthy profit and not provide the desired environmental outcome?

There's not really much point if the user pays the full cost and businesses exploit countries, who are not part of the 'system', and pocket the difference.

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A fisherman needs to fish, in order, to eat and a corpation needs fisherman, in order to thrive.

What we need to thrive is a radically new economy, that can meet both needs without impinging on either.

 

Quote

 

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman. “You should be working rather than lying on the beach!”

The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”

“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.

“And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.

The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”

Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”

Story: Heinrich Boll

 

 

 

 

We can't blame the fisherman for his lazy attitude and we can't blame the businessman for getting angry at the apparent laziness; what we can, must, do is design an apparatus where both are satisfied.

The third mouse, becomes vitally important in our moral horizon.

 

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12 hours ago, LaurieAG said:

Have you considered that cynicism about the way the 'free' market operates is sufficient a reason to not support a tax that will most likely deliver a healthy profit and not provide the desired environmental outcome?

There's not really much point if the user pays the full cost and businesses exploit countries, who are not part of the 'system', and pocket the difference.

Seeing as how market-worshippers are typically the most vocal opponents of a carbon tax, I think that's their first clue that capitalism is threatened by it. I doubt with the immense scrutiny such an inevitably controversial tax would attract the rich could get away with "pocketing the difference."

 

Besides, what's the alternative? At least with a carbon tax we make the polluter pay up, and it becomes legitimately none of anyone else's business why they polluted... for real this time, not in the sense climate change denialists say, as dollars reserved for future victims of climate change can be used to reimburse them. What alternative do you have in mind, and could it come across as "picking and choosing" about which reasons to pollute are more legitimate than which others?

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10 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Seeing as how market-worshippers are typically the most vocal opponents of a carbon tax, I think that's their first clue that capitalism is threatened by it. I doubt with the immense scrutiny such an inevitably controversial tax would attract the rich could get away with "pocketing the difference."

Besides, what's the alternative? At least with a carbon tax we make the polluter pay up, and it becomes legitimately none of anyone else's business why they polluted... for real this time, not in the sense climate change denialists say, as dollars reserved for future victims of climate change can be used to reimburse them. What alternative do you have in mind, and could it come across as "picking and choosing" about which reasons to pollute are more legitimate than which others?

So the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer has nothing to do with the 'free' market and taxation systems?

You are aware that the end 'user' pays the tax for the 'polluter'?

Any system that was fair and equitable across all levels of materials, manufacturing, import/export and all nations involved would do, otherwise you have grey areas to exploit and massive profits to be made.

 

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19 hours ago, dimreepr said:

A fisherman needs to fish, in order, to eat and a corpation needs fisherman, in order to thrive.

Thanks for the quote. +1

On 2/16/2021 at 7:22 AM, LaurieAG said:

Have you considered that cynicism about the way the 'free' market operates is sufficient a reason to not support a tax that will most likely deliver a healthy profit and not provide the desired environmental outcome?

There's not really much point if the user pays the full cost and businesses exploit countries, who are not part of the 'system', and pocket the difference.

 

This story of Walmart/ASDA demonstrates further distorted values of the free market. +1

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56085128

Edited by studiot
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3 hours ago, studiot said:

Thanks for the quote. +1

Thanks, just wish I worded it better, perhaps:

A fisherman takes what they need to eat and a corperation needs fishermen to take everything they can.

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On 2/15/2021 at 10:52 PM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change

 

This study is popular to cite whenever someone expresses eco-antinatalist sentiment, or otherwise blames the public for climate change by the notion that they drive too much, eat too much meat, etc... and then vote against politicians who would impose taxation on such things.

Perhaps these folks could learn what the biggest impacts are.

From the recent book by Bill Gates  

EuZypKSUYAEDL55.jpeg.28ea5f2586ee50bc48a187033be7cd3c.jpeg

 

Changing driving habits is only going to have a small effect. It's not nothing but one needs to not overestimate the impact. Going green with electricity production, and cleaner manufacturing, is going to have a bigger impact.

 

 

On 2/15/2021 at 10:52 PM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

But by what standard are companies that cater to consumer demand not a reflection of the general public's own culpability?

You can't choose a product that isn't available.

 

On 2/15/2021 at 10:52 PM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

One could invoke game theory, and say that if people who boycotted meat or automobiles noticed they were missing out on products everyone else seemed to be enjoying, individuals' willpower in holding firm to their boycotts would collapse, and a plurality of consumers boycotting them would never be reached.

My own experience is that people who boycott meat are convinced that they aren't missing anything.

 

 

On 2/15/2021 at 10:52 PM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

 I suppose to some environmentalists, the blame for climate change belongs disproportionately to companies whose donations to politicians give them incentive to deny climate change. But they can't bribe everyone.

They don't have to.

On 2/15/2021 at 10:52 PM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Isn't it a little condescending to imply ordinary voters who aren't being bribed merely don't know better? And if we go down that path, what of all the eco-zealots who cried wolf about the rainforests being the "lungs of the Earth" when in terms of oxygen output they pale in comparison to phytoplankton? Does this not tarnish environmentalism's credibility, and therefore warrant assigning them a disproportionate per-capita share of the blame as well? Why or why not?

That's based on the claim that the Amazon produces ~20% of the oxygen (some others argue it's less)

What, precisely, is the blame you wish to place on them?

 

On 2/15/2021 at 10:52 PM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

 

As well, if you blame the companies on account of spreading disinformation; and/or bribing politicians to do so; why don't these kinds of articles blame them on those grounds, instead of on the grounds of the fossil fuel extraction that simply caters to consumer demand?

Because it's a matter of degree, perhaps? Getting a number wrong (20% of the oxygen instead of, say, 10% i.e. a factor of 2) is different in degree in denying that there is any climate change taking place at all, and arguing that no action is required.

IOW the price of being wrong is very, very different.

 

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What standard?  I would say a scientific standard.

The Industrial Revolution is 1/32,000,000th of Earth's history.  But we teach elementary school children that the modern version of the human species is a major variable in the geology of the planet.

 

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9 minutes ago, Walter said:

What standard?  I would say a scientific standard.

The Industrial Revolution is 1/32,000,000th of Earth's history.  But we teach elementary school children that the modern version of the human species is a major variable in the geology of the planet.

 

Ecology more than geology, but...so what? We have a demonstrable impact on the earth. Baldly asserting the opposite isn't based on evidence.

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53 minutes ago, Walter said:

What standard?  I would say a scientific standard.

The Industrial Revolution is 1/32,000,000th of Earth's history.  But we teach elementary school children that the modern version of the human species is a major variable in the geology of the planet.

 

Suppose we had an all out nuclear war.

That might last 5 to 24 hours.

What fraction of the Earth's history is that and what difference would it make ?

Alternatively what about Krakatoa ?

This was not the largest volcanic eruption in history yet it certainly changed the climate in a day.

Or even quicker

What about the Chicxulub meteorite ?

How long did that impact last ?

It was enough to destroy the dinosaurs.

 

Edited by studiot
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5 hours ago, swansont said:

Perhaps these folks could learn what the biggest impacts are.

From the recent book by Bill Gates  

EuZypKSUYAEDL55.jpeg.28ea5f2586ee50bc48a187033be7cd3c.jpeg

 

Changing driving habits is only going to have a small effect. It's not nothing but one needs to not overestimate the impact. Going green with electricity production, and cleaner manufacturing, is going to have a bigger impact.

The same applies. They manufacture cement, steel, and plastic, and generate electricity, because people want goods and services that involve cement, steel, plastic, and/or electricity, and want them to be as cheap as possible. A carbon tax, if it were designed to be just that, a carbon tax, would tax all carbon pollution equally, whether it's power plants, meat, driving, or manufacturing. If power plants and manufacturing are more guilty, by rights, they should get hit harder until they clean up their act. (Or if not, the tax dollars taken from them should be reserved for helping future victims of climate change.)

 

The electricity one might depend on the country. In Canada we get more of ours from hydroelectricity, and less from fossil fuels, than the USA. This is partial vindication for eco-antinatalists; if there were far fewer people, it would be far easier to meet demand for electricity from renewables than if there were more of them.

 

"Lungs of the Earth" implies that deforestation is a clear and present danger to our ability to breathe. "Carbon sinks of the Earth" would be a more honest phrase. That some people use the term "lungs" would explain why people suspect that a desire to lie on environmentalism's behalf might have crept into the minds of some scientists. It wouldn't be the first time.

 

Nonetheless I appreciate this statistic and will invoke it whenever a vegan gets a little too holier-than-thou about this!

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101
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5 hours ago, swansont said:

IOW the price of being wrong is very, very different.

Precisely. Even IF there was any doubt re human contribution to climate change, with what is potentially at stake [a habitable planet] it is far better to err on the side of caution. 

As a member of the public, I hope I do my little bit to help things...over the last 5 years I'm averaging around 10,000kms yearly in driving [also means insurance discount] recycling of plastics etc...air conditioner on only in extreme conditions...solar panels...LED household lights...Laundry/Washing clothes in cold water...4 minute showers, are some of the contributions my family are making.  

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38 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

The same applies. They manufacture cement, steel, and plastic, and generate electricity, because people want goods and services that involve cement, steel, plastic, and/or electricity, and want them to be as cheap as possible. A carbon tax, if it were designed to be just that, a carbon tax, would tax all carbon pollution equally, whether it's power plants, meat, driving, or manufacturing. If power plants and manufacturing are more guilty, by rights, they should get hit harder until they clean up their act. (Or if not, the tax dollars taken from them should be reserved for helping future victims of climate change.)

The tax is based on carbon emitted, so obviously industries producing more are taxed heavier, making it more attractive to seek out strategies to reduce carbon footprint. I.e. the differential cost is baked into the system.

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2 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

They manufacture cement, steel, and plastic, and generate electricity, because people want goods and services that involve cement, steel, plastic, and/or electricity, and want them to be as cheap as possible.

Does this mean you support slavery ?

Slavery as practiced by say the Nazis, but also many other groups in history, leads to cheaper labour and products.

"as cheap as possible" is always a cringe making excuse for something bad.

Edited by studiot
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2 hours ago, studiot said:

Does this mean you support slavery ?

Slavery as practiced by say the Nazis, but also many other groups in history, leads to cheaper labour and products.

"as cheap as possible" is always a cringe making excuse for something bad.

I haven't said it's justified. I'm just saying it's human nature. The average person, unfortunately, would rather buy products made by Muslims enslaved in China than see their neighbours enjoy the cheap goods they're missing out on. 😕

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55 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

The average person, unfortunately, would rather buy products made by Muslims enslaved in China than see their neighbours enjoy the cheap goods they're missing out on.

Where do you come up with this nonsense?

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The social sciences by their very nature don't have as much incentive for facing the truth as the physical sciences.

 

If you had an engineering client who couldn't handle the truth, the question becomes whether they're any better at handling a building collapse that kills their colleagues because they weren't warned.

 

For comparison, the social sciences' "take respondents at their word" approach to surveys collapsed spectacularly in 2016 political polling, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans since, and yet people still swear by it.

 

if people will sugar-coat respondents' likelihood to lie, what's stopping people from sugar-coating customers' likelihood to care more about keeping up with the Joneses than about freeing the Uyghur Muslims?

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9 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

I haven't said it's justified. I'm just saying it's human nature. The average person, unfortunately, would rather buy products made by Muslims enslaved in China than see their neighbours enjoy the cheap goods they're missing out on. 😕

Thank you for responding, but this is not an answer to my question.

I asked for your view, not a general statement attributed to everyone.

This is the trouble with your statements - you appear to tar everyone in the world with the same brush and you have done this in other threads -  I see another example in another medically directed thread.

To extend my question, on the same basis

Are you therefore implying the everyone want to murder other folks, just because there are some people in this world that want to do this?

 

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Of course not, but the continued purchasing of Chinese goods and services is far more widespread than murder. Partly because murder is illegal, but not exclusively; and even to the extent it is illegal, it means a plurality of voters have accepted that allowing murder would curtail freedom more than prohibiting it would.

 

They just haven't accepted the same regarding environmental harm or continued importing of cheap goods from China.

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4 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

The social sciences by their very nature don't have as much incentive for facing the truth as the physical sciences. If you had an engineering client who couldn't handle the truth, the question becomes whether they're any better at handling a building collapse that kills their colleagues because they weren't warned

I am no fan of the robustness of many aspects of the social sciences, but I think your attribution of the likely cause is flawed. If what you say is true we wouldn't have the numerous building collapses, bridge collapses, Chernobyls, Bophals, flammable cladding on high rises, structurally unsound supertankers, and on and on and on. Humans make errors (and sometimes lie about them) regardless of which discipline they are in. I suggest the uncertainty (or unreliability, if you prefer) of some aspects of the social sciences is generally down to the very large numbers of variables that are present in many of the behaviours under study.

4 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

For comparison, the social sciences' "take respondents at their word" approach to surveys collapsed spectacularly in 2016 political polling, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans since, and yet people still swear by it.

You need to demonstrate that the example you have given is representative of the approach of the social sciences. Are you suggesting that a study of the impact of alcohol upon reaction times of individuals of varying ages and genders is incapable of generating meaningful and accurate data? If so, you are mistaken.

Moreover, in the case of the political polls that you reference, warning messages accompanied the data. And you have offered no evidence that more accurate polls would have led to a different election result.

4 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

if people will sugar-coat respondents' likelihood to lie, what's stopping people from sugar-coating customers' likelihood to care more about keeping up with the Joneses than about freeing the Uyghur Muslims?

You have not demonstrated that "people" sugar-coat correspondent's likelihood to lie.

Your comparison is not about the social sciences, it is about the strong selfish character of humans, and that is something that has been well documented and demonstrated by thousands of social science experiments and observations.

Edit: In regard to your major thesis, as a member of the public I am undoubtedly partially responsible for global warming. However misapplication of social science "products" does not enter into the equation in any meaningful way. If you think it does you have yet to demonstrate it.

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4 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Of course not, but the continued purchasing of Chinese goods and services is far more widespread than murder.

Thank you for agreeing that you were over egging the pudding.

You were also failing to report that this larger number of purchasers were being deceived by a much smaller number of people promoting the products.

The arguments and revelations on news and social media bear this out.

Most folks just didn't know, but there has been a general rejection of such products that is still gaining momentum.

I like many things about Americans and the American Way, but not the 'hard sell' techniques that are being perpetrated by Americans on Americans, not by the Chinese on Americans.
The Chinese, of course, are trying to cover up what some Chinese are doing to other Chinese.

The world is a very inequitable place.
 

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