Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The problem is so big, and elected governments are so unreliable…
‘A kind of dark realism’: Why the climate change problem is starting to look too big to solve
By Steven Mufson
Updated 05 Dec 2018 — 2:03 PM,
first published at 11:26 AM
In the daunting maths of climate action, individual choices and government policies aren’t adding up.
But effective policy is lacking. Nordhaus advocates a whopping carbon tax, which the Climate Interactive model shows would kill off most coal, sharply reduce driving and boost purchases of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Getting such a carbon tax adopted in the US, however, is hard to imagine. Washington state voters in November rejected a $US15-per-tonne carbon “fee” after Big Oil companies poured more than $US31 million into the state to block the measure. BP, which had endorsed a $US40-per-tonne nationwide tax, gave the most to defeat the bill.
Congress hasn’t shown any appetite for a carbon tax, either. A proposal to impose a $US40-per-tonne carbon tax and return the revenue to people in dividends has not caught fire yet.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron has ignited protests by proposing fuel taxes he says are needed to fight climate change. “One cannot be on Monday for the environment,” Macron said, “and on Tuesday against the increase of fuel prices.”
Lack the authority
That’s partly because international organisations lack the authority to enforce rules on wayward nations. In Poland, several major countries are expected to admit to missing the targets they agreed to at the Paris conference three years ago. One example is Brazil, whose new president Jair Bolsonaro, the “tropical Trump”, has talked about clearing part of the Amazon for roads and development. That would damage the world’s lungs – the trees that absorb carbon dioxide and pump out oxygen at high rates.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/a-kind-of-dark-realism-why-the-climate-change-problem-is-starting-to-look-too-big-to-solve/2018/12/03/378e49e4-e75d-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html
What kind of world would we live in, if the UN had “enforcement” powers?
Imagine Brazil wanted to develop the Amazon, to help lift their suffering people out of poverty A United Nations armed with “enforcement” powers could send an international army to Brazil, to stop Brazilian politicians from “damaging the world’s lungs”.
What if French deplorables objected to climate change fuel taxes? The United Nations would issue an enforcement decree requiring the French government to crush the protests, to ensure the progress of vital policy action to combat global warming.
What if the USA elected a President who opposed United Nations policy? I think you get the idea.
There seems little room for doubt about the kind of world we would live in, if greens like Mufson have their way.