Category Archives: Michael Hoexter

Donald Trump, Why are You Planning to Destroy the World of Barron, Arabella, Joseph, Theodore, Kai, Tristan, Chloe & Donald III?

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

Listen Donald,

Becoming President-elect was a grand coup for you, yet, with the path of climate denial and destruction you are headed on as President, you will be personally responsible for some extremely bad, real impacts on all Americans, even on all human beings, making you and them big “losers”.  It is no longer a matter of you playing a game for yourself in which you might be a “winner” but it means protecting and taking care of the destinies of all Americans, including your family, by making better decisions in policy and government actions.  It means moving from rhetoric in a campaign to real-world consequences that are potentially a HUGE catastrophe for all Americans and for humanity, caused or made immeasurably worse by you personally and your chosen actions.

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Myron Ebell, Trump’s Nihilistic EPA Selection, Soft-peddled by the New York Times

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

The US press has generally played a dismal role in warning people of the imminent dangers of climate breakdown and upcoming thresholds beyond which humanity may not survive as an organized species or a species at all.   The media should be every day reporting on both the record breaking temperatures of 2016 as well as alarming changes in the surface of the earth that have resulted and will likely result from the enormous heat.

Questions for the recent 2016 US Presidential debates reflect the norms of disregard for climate among US pundits and the press, as no single question during the debates was posed that had anything directly to do with climate change and carbon constraints.  That Donald Trump was able to win the electoral college, came close to frontrunner Clinton on the popular vote with 60+ million votes, and therefore win the Presidency on a platform that included straight-out “hard” climate denial is in part a function of the “soft climate denial” rampant in the “liberal” political elite and media.  Hard climate denial, for that matter any climate denial, should in an adequately aggressive media environment, be viewed in 2016, by far the hottest year on record, as a disqualifier for high office.  The mostly pro-Clinton elite media, in the latter part of the election, were supposedly either exposing or informing the public clearly about the implications and dangers of Trump’s positions, yet, as consistent with “soft climate denial”, treated Trump’s “hard climate denial” with avoidance and/or delicacy, seemingly out of fear or maybe, charitably, disbelief.

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A Pocket Handbook of Soft Climate Denial

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

In a recent piece, I introduced the concept of “soft climate denial”.  In soft climate denial, people acknowledge that climate change is real and threatening and may even be panicked about it.  However, in this cultural-political constellation with attendant states of mind, the solutions for climate change that are embraced are in no way commensurate to the acknowledged threats to human existence posed by anthropogenic global warming.   Consequently, soft climate denial leads often to hand-wringing or other ineffectual actions but no decisive steps taken towards meeting the challenge of human-caused and human-accelerated global warming.

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Living in the Web of Soft Climate Denial

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

Contents

  1. Conventional “Hard” Climate Denial
  2. A Web of Soft Climate Denial
  3. The Foundations of Soft Climate Denial in Economics
  4. Settling on Neoliberal, “Market-Based” Carbon Gradualism
  5. Soft Climate Denial, Fossil Fuels, and the Hedonic Self

1. Conventional “Hard” Climate Denial

The Rio Olympics opening ceremony highlighted global warming as a major theme of international concern even on an occasion of diversion from the cares of the world.  That most Brazilians understand intuitively and uncontroversially that climate change is a real threat contrasts with the still substantial fights that occur in parts of the Anglophone world regarding the reality of human caused climate change.  A powerful minority in that world, strongest in the United States and Australia, holds to the idea that climate change is a hoax.   The Republican governor of Florida, a state that almost certainly will lose population centers and land area to rising seas, has, for instance, banned the use of the words “climate change” by state employees.  Meanwhile we are, due to a strong El Nino and climate change combined, experiencing record average global temperatures and are seeing signs that we may be approaching tipping points in the destruction of the habitable biosphere to which we are adapted as a species and civilization.  Due to the ravages of 2016’s heat, the Anglophone world even might now eject climate deniers from the arena of legitimated public discourse.

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Morality, Modern Money, and Climate Mobilization

Democratic Party Platform 7/1/16 Draft Would Lock In Catastrophic Climate Change

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

The Brexit vote is being taken by some commentators as a sign that the basic competence of leadership groups throughout Western countries is in question.  Unfortunately not enough media attention has been paid, public concern raised, and action taken about the most massive and long-standing failure of the political leadership classes, a failure to protect by governments that threatens humanity itself.  Governments and government leaders have failed to lead on climate change, even as most recently in Paris, they have sworn to hold Earth’s surface temperature below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and target 1.5 degrees as the “optimal” goal.  This failure of leadership both in governments and also in the nongovernmental organizations that nominally address environment and climate is almost absolute and is terrifying to behold.

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Sanders is Representing Agapé [Ag-AH-pay] Love for Millennials (and Beyond)

Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

Democrats in remaining primary states are now making decisions about whether to continue supporting and campaigning for Bernie Sanders the surprisingly successful underdog in the Democratic primary for President or line up behind the current frontrunner and Democratic Establishment candidate Hillary Clinton.   Sanders still has a chance to win a majority of pledged delegates if primary voters feel positively about Sanders and negatively about his opponent Clinton, that they will support Sanders.  The role of grassroots Sanders campaign volunteers is crucial here.  There are many aspects to voters’ decision-making but I want to highlight one feature of his candidacy that goes beyond differences in policy between Sanders and Clinton.  I think that those decisions revolve also around differing understandings of what kinds of love people need to survive and thrive.

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COP21 and Beyond: Outlines of an Actually-Effective International Climate Policy Architecture

By Michael Hoexter

In this series, I attempt to outline key issues facing policymakers as they meet in Paris at the UN’s Conference of the Parties-21 starting on November 30th and possibly culminating in a global climate treaty by the end of the conference on December 11th, called a “deadline” by the organizers. COP21 is being viewed as a last chance for humanity to seriously address climate change in concert and therefore face humanity’s most serious and ominous existential crisis. Human survival as a species may very well be at stake.

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Road to COP21 and Beyond: The Missing Analysis of the Kyoto Protocol and its Failure

By Michael Hoexter

In this series, I will attempt to outline key issues facing policymakers as they meet in Paris at the UN’s Conference of the Parties-21 starting on November 30th and possibly culminating in a global climate treaty by the end of the conference on December 11th, called a “deadline” by the organizers.  COP21 is being viewed as a last chance for humanity to seriously address climate change in concert and therefore face humanity’s most serious and ominous existential crisis.  Human survival as a species may very well be at stake.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
                                                                        George Santayana, The Life of Reason

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The Road To COP21: Where is the “Locus of Control” of Effective Climate Action?

By Michael Hoexter

In the next several weeks, I will attempt through this series “The Road to COP21” to outline key issues facing policymakers and activists as they converge on Paris at the UN’s Conference of the Parties-21 starting on November 30th and possibly culminating in a global climate treaty by the end of the conference on December 11th.  COP21 is being viewed as a last chance for humanity to seriously address climate change in concert and thereby face humanity’s most serious and ominous existential crisis.  Human survival as a species may very well be at stake.

With the approach of COP21, policymakers and activists concerned about the climate will have a series of choices to make, choices perhaps that will seal the fate of humanity as a species.  These decisions will be influenced by the participants’ pre-existing or emerging ideas about who or what are the central players or forces in effective climate action and which are the social-political-economic dynamics that they will initiate or continue to maintain.  Alternatively if those participants are not sincerely concerned about the fate of humanity as regards climate, they may simply enact “some” climate policy as a fig-leaf or showpiece.  Seriousness, sincerity, and clear-headedness, would seem to be prerequisites for, at COP21 and surrounding events, both a successful negotiation as well as a design of an effective new international system to reduce human-caused warming emissions eventually to net zero or less.  So for the moment, in this discussion here, I’m going to assume that there are at least some people in positions of influence (a very large group) or political power (a few people) who sincerely want to cut emissions to stabilize the climate, employing a variety of means.

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