Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Despite billions already invested in renewables, and wild claims that renewables are now “cheaper than coal”, more government subsidy money is required.
Climate change: focusing on how individuals can help is very convenient for corporations
Climate change is a planetary-scale threat and, as such, requires planetary-scale reforms that can only be implemented by the world’s governments. Individuals can at most be responsible for their own behaviour, but governments have the power to implement legislation that compels industries and individuals to act sustainably.
Governments and industries should lead
Rather than rely on appeals to individual virtue, what can be done to hold governments and industries accountable?
Governments have the power to enact legislation which could regulate industries to remain within sustainable emission limits and adhere to environmental protection standards. Companies should be compelled to purchase emissions rights – the profits from which can be used to aid climate vulnerable communities.
Governments could also make renewable energy generation, from sources such as solar panels and wind turbines, affordable to all consumers through subsidies. Affordable and low-carbon mass transportation must replace emission-heavy means of travel, such as planes and cars.
More must also be done by rich countries and powerful industries to support and empower poorer countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
All of this is not to say that individuals cannot or should not do what they can to change their behaviour where possible. Every little contribution helps, and research shows that limiting meat consumption can be an effective step. The point is that failing to do so should not be considered morally blameworthy.
See, the climate crisis is solvable – all governments have to do is impose carbon taxes and ship the cash overseas to help poor countries.
On an individual level climate hypocrisy is acceptable, failing to live up to the standards we expect of others “should not be considered morally blameworthy”.