Sunday, October 04, 2009

Lower Standard of Living Called for to Fight Climate Change

To avoid catastrophic climate change, lower levels of consumption are needed in the rich countries says Professor Kevin Anderson, director of Britain’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change which released a study on how to combat global warming. In an interview with The Times, Anderson said “That may mean having only one car per household, a smaller fridge, buying fewer clothes and electronics and curtailing the number of weekend breaks that we have…It’s a very uncomfortable message, but we need a planned economic recession. Economic growth is currently incompatible with reductions in absolute emissions.” That’s quite a message to countries trying to get out of an unplanned recession. It is also pretty much the opposite of the message that we hear from Al Gore, Thomas Friedman, and numerous Democratic politicians who have been trying to convince everyone that going green to fight global warming is the key to economic growth. It is hard to imagine any politician in one of the rich countries such as the United States running for office on a platform that includes calling for an unplanned recession and promising the voters to lower their standard of living. Who wouldn’t want to run against an opponent saying that. To have any chance of succeeding with calls for lower levels of consumption would require ratcheting up the fear of climate change among the voters to a level that right now is unimaginable. It would have to be palpable fear. The type that keeps you up at night. The type that drives people to drinking and other means of mental escape. Unless the television networks replace all their reality shows, games shows, sit coms, dramas, and sports events with documentaries on global warming it seems unlikely that fear of global warming will increase to above its present level which is nearly undetectable based on the polls that have been taken. It appears in all likelihood that the rich countries will continue to party on and our planet will continue to grow warmer and warmer.

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