The Approaching End Of Climate Denial - Biz Guy AndThe Doc
By Bill Henderson
10 January, 2014
So you're just in it for the money and don't really give a damn about anything or anybody else. Right, so this is why you should really be following closely the insider intrigue over climate change.
You're smart enough to get an annual medical exam (don't know if you are but rhetorically). You expect the doc to do his examination and look at the lab tests and to tell you the truth; you hope his verdict is continuing steady state good health but you expect the truth if the exam turns up anything. But what if he does find something serious and tells you that you need to make a profound lifestyle change or you're toast? Do you just ignore the doc or try and find another 'medical opinion' or do you make the necessary changes?
Over 95% of climate professional experts agree that climate change is happening, is human caused, and is an increasingly mortal threat to all we know and love - to our kids, our country, our civilization, to baseball, football and other really important things - if we stay on the increasing GHG emissions path we are on.
This diagnosis is very inconvenient and most movers and shakers just ignore the doc and find comfort in the shallow denial industry alternative diagnosis: global cooling, cosmic rays and clouds, magic frogs, whatever. Or they accept that climate change is happening but fudge the consequences: we'd be better off if the temperature warmed up a couple of degrees or what does it matter, we can't do anything anyway, so BAU.
A biz guy today, totally preoccupied with his survival in insecure economic times, invested in fossil fuels or not, can stay in the denial silo and discount the science. In the present globalized economy / neo-liberal ideology climate change is at best a distraction. The shallowest denial aligns with self-interest to ensure that no effective mitigation is possible. The more certain the science the more marginalizing the denial because even consideration of effective mitigation might get in the way of needed economic growth today - like expansion of Canada's tarsands or the global auto industry.
But, here's the rub Mr. Homo Economicus, responsible people and organizations must weigh the evidence and quantify the risk for future generations from the consequences of actions today. We benefit greatly from both the production and use of fossil fuels but the predicted catastrophic consequences will fall on our children and descendents. When one group in our society profits from actions that endanger another group governments must eventually be forced to act - even petrostate neo-lib governments totally in deep capture to the Church of Business.
An individual (and collections of individuals like voters) can deny climate change, but any responsibly organized, evidence-based process must find that climate change is real and that increasing production and use of fossil fuels is a crime that has to stop. Period.
You're going to stay in denial but right now there is a (obviously commie watermelon conspiracy) movement to use the court's evidence-based decision making to force governments to do the right thing and regulate both production and use of fossil fuels in order to protect groups that will be seriously effected. Nature's Trust may be the legal tool to finally curb climate change. James Hansen's latest campaign is just one example.
Ya sure, So what? Haven't we heard this alarmist bullshit before?
You stand to lose whatever money you have invested (directly or indirectly) in fossil fuels, and when the estimated $4 trillion carbon bubble pops it's going to make the sub-prime conflagration look like a minor paper recession, threatening your business, your other assets and even maybe you're ability to watch the Stuper Bowl on TV, etc.
Ya, sure - you alarmists have been crying for commie action for decades and nothing has changed so why do you think governments or anybody else is going to do anything but confirm their belief that you guys are real losers now?
Because whereas if you don't like the diagnosis Biz Guy, you can deny and ignore or look for another doc. Hey, your off the chart chlorestorectal and saturday fats is just a drug company conspiracy and just because you're fat and can hardly walk to the fridge it doesn't mean you're gonna die of a heart attack - stupid GIGO medical models are bullshit anyway, but scientists and activists the world over are beginning a new strategy of using the courts to force governments to recognize the evidence for needed action. And it will only take one verdict in one jurisdiction (democratic and with fair, open and transparent legal process) and that verdict will force equivalent court actions in all such jurisdictions. These governments will then have no choice but to enforce constraints upon production and use of fossil fuels.
The Harper government in Canada, for example, which now is doing everything in its power to facilitate tarsands expansion as central engine of Canada's economic growth, will be forced (by the carbon bubble popping as much as the courts and popular opinion newly aware of Canada's criminality) to first, back away from planned infrastructure like pipelines to tidewater, and then probably to mothball present production.
These verdicts might not have any effect in China or Russia, of course, or at least right away, but denial and inaction will now be untenable and the collapsing carbon bubble and the rush to a newly reconfiguring post-carbon economy will sooner rather than later dissuade their production and use.
This forced, radical change will no doubt be turbulent, globally turbulent, and the consequences of such a radical change are impossible to predict. A post-carbon economy will be very different from biz today and between loss of bubble wealth, wealth generated by cheap fossil fuels, wealth generated by our present trade in a globalized economy, wealth generated in our globalized Fordism and all the mall sprawl consumerism that probably won't survive the change, it is a difficult call to find a safe biz or investment path through this radical change.
But some will survive and some (even many) will profit and be well positioned when the traumatic reconfiguration ends in this new economy. But change we must and the leveraging process is beginning. (If we haven't procrastinated making the profound lifestyle change too long so that the climate disease kills all chance of a happy ending.) A fool and his money are soon parted but that doesn't have to be you Biz Guy.
Bill Henderson is a frequent contributor to Countercurrents on Climate Change . He can be reached at bill (at) pacificfringe.net
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