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


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3 hours ago, studiot said:

The world is a very inequitable place.

And getting more so, on this swing of the pendulum; let's hope the next swing will stop the clock, though history is not on our side...

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On 2/17/2021 at 12:25 PM, studiot said:

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.

 

Volcanoes and meteorites of part of geological and astronomical processes which are billions of years old.

We are talking about seven orders of magnitude compared to industrial humans. 

 

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35 minutes ago, Walter said:

Volcanoes and meteorites of part of geological and astronomical processes which are billions of years old.

 

People are part of living processes which are billions of years old.

You are playing with words.

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On 2/17/2021 at 2:50 PM, 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.

And the evidence for this is? (As usual, you have a narrative that you do not support)

Are people being offered alternatives? Are they all refusing them in favor of more damaging alternatives? I don't think they are refusing them - there are people who buy carbon offsets and who opt for green energy when offered a choice. People shop at places that offer fair trade products and ecologically sustainable products, too, so we know this kind of consumer exists, your narrative notwithstanding.

 

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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.)

A carbon tax can be structured in a number of ways. It could be like income tax, where you have marginal rates and exemptions/deductions. It could be progressive or a flat rate.

 

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"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.

So your beef is with the label.

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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.

A retracted paper and lying are not the same thing. I'm not sure what cancer has to do with environmentalism in general or carbon in particular.  

 

 

On 2/17/2021 at 8:13 PM, 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. 😕

Again, this is your narrative, and not based on any data or studies you have presented.

1 hour ago, Walter said:

Volcanoes and meteorites of part of geological and astronomical processes which are billions of years old.

We are talking about seven orders of magnitude compared to industrial humans. 

 

Again, so what? Do you have a point here, or are you just spouting random statistics and factoids?

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1 hour ago, Walter said:

Volcanoes and meteorites of part of geological and astronomical processes which are billions of years old.

We are talking about seven orders of magnitude compared to industrial humans. 

 

How is this an answer to my comment on your contention that something is only a geological process if it takes billions of years ?

I just don't agree with you.

Meteorite impact for instance is a very quick process, as I already noted.

Yes the first one was a long time ago, but so what.

When the first one struck it was still a very quick process.

Since at the time of the first impact it was the only one ever, and given that it was very quick, does that mean it does not count as a geological process ?

Ditto for the first volcanic eruption, the first collapse of a cliff into the sea and so on.

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On 2/16/2021 at 2:52 PM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

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

It is a well established legal principle that there is liability for unintended harms from a commercial activity. The drug dealer defense - that the customers want to buy it and should accept full responsibility for those harms as part of the transaction - does not have any legal basis in most jurisdictions. When it comes to global warming it is nonetheless popular enough to give obstructionist political parties and governments the "but the voters don't want it" justification for inaction.

I think that we all share some responsibility but some shareholders do have a lot more responsibility than others. I think Doubt, Deny, Delay politicking has been very successful in using the widespread inclination by ordinary people to avoid being held accountable, especially for "ordinary" day to day activities that had no intrinsic liability in the past, to win their support for corporate and government responsibility and accountability at much more significant scales to be set aside.

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11 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

It is a well established legal principle that there is liability for unintended harms from a commercial activity. The drug dealer defense - that the customers want to buy it and should accept full responsibility for those harms as part of the transaction - does not have any legal basis in most jurisdictions. When it comes to global warming it is nonetheless popular enough to give obstructionist political parties and governments the "but the voters don't want it" justification for inaction.

I think that we all share some responsibility but some shareholders do have a lot more responsibility than others. I think Doubt, Deny, Delay politicking has been very successful in using the widespread inclination by ordinary people to avoid being held accountable, especially for "ordinary" day to day activities that had no intrinsic liability in the past, to win their support for corporate and government responsibility and accountability at much more significant scales to be set aside.

I think most jurisdictions go easier on the users than the dealers because the image of someone making big bucks, no matter what risks they're facing, evokes less sympathy than a suffering drug addict. Even so, in the United States, it makes little difference; you go to prison, for using OR dealing or just about any crime unrelated to drugs at all, no one's going to want to hire you when you get out. In Norway, it makes little difference; you go to prison, the system will rehabilitate you. I'm not sure what countries are enough of a middle ground along the "deterrence vs. rehabilitation" spectrum to make whether you're a user or a dealer that big of a difference.

 

So I see numerous references in this thread to alternatives not being offered by the businesses. But does that in and of itself not reflect a lack of consumer demand for alternatives? In our society we have consumer choice in everything from whether you want your instant coffee french vanilla or dark roast, to whether you want your almonds barbecue flavour or hickory smoked. If those kinds of choices are available, but green alternatives are not, does this not suggest that those kinds of things matter more to the consumer than green alternatives?

 

Climate change denial, obviously, deserves a slice of the blame for that, but it is not just a matter of climate change denial. Some people don't deny it (either that or are too dishonest to bring up their climate change denialist beliefs in public) but are too apathetic to do anything about it and/or too worshipping of the "free market" to be okay with any carbon tax that would be considered an infringement on "freedom of choice."

 

And again, when you point the finger, there are three pointing back. If blaming climate change denial for supposedly-non-climate-change-denialist voters' apathy, what about the two-faced nature of the aforementioned Greenpeace GMO study establishing some of the "lying for the environment" notion has already crept into some biology research, making it not too much of a stretch to wonder if some of it could have seeped into climate science.

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51 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

So I see numerous references in this thread to alternatives not being offered by the businesses. But does that in and of itself not reflect a lack of consumer demand for alternatives? In our society we have consumer choice in everything from whether you want your instant coffee french vanilla or dark roast, to whether you want your almonds barbecue flavour or hickory smoked. If those kinds of choices are available, but green alternatives are not, does this not suggest that those kinds of things matter more to the consumer than green alternatives?

Not everyone can afford to choose the more expensive option; like in "The grapes of wrath" the company employs it's customer's. 

To exploit starvation, to the point of throwing away excess food and guarding the dump.

Unregulated corperation's have no morales, that's where I think some of us are equally culpable, a vote doesn't cost anything. 

But we're to busy guarding the dump.

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1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

So I see numerous references in this thread to alternatives not being offered by the businesses. But does that in and of itself not reflect a lack of consumer demand for alternatives? In our society we have consumer choice in everything from whether you want your instant coffee french vanilla or dark roast, to whether you want your almonds barbecue flavour or hickory smoked. If those kinds of choices are available, but green alternatives are not, does this not suggest that those kinds of things matter more to the consumer than green alternatives?

I really don't know about the US, but almost none of this is true in the UK.

Consumer choice has been dwindling at an alarming rate over the past couple of decades.

There is little more exasperating to a customer than to receive one of the following responses to a request  "have you got such-and-such ?"

a) No, there is no demand (when I have just asked for it!)

b) No, we used to sell those, but we don't anymore.

c) No, we had 3 and sold out and we are not getting any more in until next winter. (I received this amazing response in M&S when trying to buy the next size up school raincoat). 3 for a M&S serving an area of half a million people.

d) No they were only here for a week's test marketing. We will not be stocking them.  (M&S again)

e) No, we don't do all sizes.

As a result of a basic failure of most retailers in the UK to follow the most basic and elementary rule of selling.

Stock things that consumers want to buy.

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On 2/22/2021 at 6:47 AM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

 So I see numerous references in this thread to alternatives not being offered by the businesses. But does that in and of itself not reflect a lack of consumer demand for alternatives? In our society we have consumer choice in everything from whether you want your instant coffee french vanilla or dark roast, to whether you want your almonds barbecue flavour or hickory smoked. If those kinds of choices are available, but green alternatives are not, does this not suggest that those kinds of things matter more to the consumer than green alternatives?

No, it doesn't.

It might reflect more on the business, if the green product is less profitable, and that's why it is not being offered.

 

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Climate change denial, obviously, deserves a slice of the blame for that, but it is not just a matter of climate change denial. Some people don't deny it (either that or are too dishonest to bring up their climate change denialist beliefs in public) but are too apathetic to do anything about it and/or too worshipping of the "free market" to be okay with any carbon tax that would be considered an infringement on "freedom of choice."

Again, no evidence presented for your narrative.

 

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And again, when you point the finger, there are three pointing back. If blaming climate change denial for supposedly-non-climate-change-denialist voters' apathy, what about the two-faced nature of the aforementioned Greenpeace GMO study establishing some of the "lying for the environment" notion has already crept into some biology research, making it not too much of a stretch to wonder if some of it could have seeped into climate science.

"lying for the environment" seems to be your description here (so you'd be guilty of the same hyperbole you are decrying), and you have not shown it has crept into research - no links to actual journal articles, as far as I can see. You've shown it has crept into PR, and I'm wondering why anyone is shocked that PR uses hyperbole.

23 hours ago, studiot said:

I really don't know about the US, but almost none of this is true in the UK.

Consumer choice has been dwindling at an alarming rate over the past couple of decades.

There is little more exasperating to a customer than to receive one of the following responses to a request  "have you got such-and-such ?"

a) No, there is no demand (when I have just asked for it!)

b) No, we used to sell those, but we don't anymore.

c) No, we had 3 and sold out and we are not getting any more in until next winter. (I received this amazing response in M&S when trying to buy the next size up school raincoat). 3 for a M&S serving an area of half a million people.

d) No they were only here for a week's test marketing. We will not be stocking them.  (M&S again)

e) No, we don't do all sizes.

As a result of a basic failure of most retailers in the UK to follow the most basic and elementary rule of selling.

Stock things that consumers want to buy.

It's true in the US, too, as far as my experience goes. There's this myth that "the market will provide" and people that preach market solutions for problems, rather than government solutions. But the pure capitalism that some worship only cares about maximizing profits. I think it's a failure of having large corporations and conglomerates.

A small company might see value in an incremental increase in profits from one product, while a large company is less likely to. Also, if you already have a large market share, you might be less inclined to care about consumer loyalty, if there aren't alternatives to your product.

Tying in with the topic: Tesla is an example of a company making a (potentially) "green" product, but they had to start up on their own, probably because existing car companies didn't want to cannibalize their own sales. But we see that people will buy such products if offered. Hybrids, too, but they were introduced because the US government forced the issue by raising gas mileage standards, and companies needed some cars with great mileage to bring the average up. And lo and behold, they sell. Demand is there. Tesla had a multi-year waiting list for their cars at the beginning; demand far exceeded supply. Hybrid electric + EV sales keep increasing

 

 

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The drug dealer analogy may not be perfect but that broader legal principle - of seller responsibility for unwanted harms - is real enough and I think ought to apply to the energy industry re emissions and climate change. Most of all a responsibility to change practices, more than assign liability and damages is what matters - and amnesty on broader liability with the requirement to make those changes seems like a reasonable compromise. If fixing the climate problem is made a matter of popularity rather than accountability (and it is) then we will continue to struggle to get sufficient action.

I had some hope that Common Law and other civil law systems would be used more successfully to apply long running principles of responsibility and accountability, but the multi-generation time scales and existing ubiquitous use and dependence on fossil fuels as well as deep resistance at the political level have prevented accountability being made clear; more usually harms at smaller scales are litigated, damages awarded and precedents are set, that discourage and prevent further harms at larger scales. We are past that point.

I do think that more of the accountability rests with those in positions of power and influence than with the general population, especially given the abundance of good information and expert advice that was commissioned by those very people (and/or predecessors) in order to make informed decisions. Ordinary people have a lot of freedom to believe whatever they like but our leaders should not; they have a responsibility and duty to be well informed and act in accordance with best available information.

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10 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

 

I had some hope that Common Law and other civil law systems would be used more successfully to apply long running principles of responsibility and accountability, but the multi-generation time scales and existing ubiquitous use and dependence on fossil fuels as well as deep resistance at the political level have prevented accountability being made clear; more usually harms at smaller scales are litigated, damages awarded and precedents are set, that discourage and prevent further harms at larger scales. We are past that point.

I do think that more of the accountability rests with those in positions of power and influence than with the general population, especially given the abundance of good information and expert advice that was commissioned by those very people (and/or predecessors) in order to make informed decisions. Ordinary people have a lot of freedom to believe whatever they like but our leaders should not; they have a responsibility and duty to be well informed and act in accordance with best available information.

In the US, the EPA classified CO2 (back around 2007, confirmed by supreme court ruling) as a pollutant and therefore had the authority to regulate it, but there was pushback. The supreme court ruled in 2014 that the EPA could regulate carbon emissions.

But there was never any will to do anything for the environment under the Trump administration. Trump reversed Obama policies on the matter (as he did on so many issues)

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