Category Archives: Michael Hoexter

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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Yes, ExxonMobil Committed “Unparalleled Evil” Yet that Evil Can Distract From Taking Action

By Michael Hoexter

In a series of revelations over the past three months, the Pulitzer Prize winning website Inside Climate News has revealed what may be the greatest crime of the 20th and the 21st Centuries.  Via interviews and archival research, ICN recovered irrefutable evidence that Exxon scientists (and then ExxonMobil) had an extensive climate research program in the late 1970’s and 1980’s and came to the conclusions that fossil fuel use would lead to heating of the atmosphere, a radical change in climate, and would lead very likely to catastrophic consequences.  In the 1980’s, Exxon scientists participated in scientific conferences that explored the role of carbon dioxide in warming and other climatic effects. However, ExxonMobil, once government officials were alerted in 1988 by the broader scientific community that global warming was occurring and was a global crisis, changed course and funded climate denial, delaying and weakening climate action and nascent climate policies.  Exxon’s current CEO, Rex Tillerson, claims that global warming’s effects are exaggerated and won’t be that bad for humanity.  The Los Angeles Times has used some of the same archival material to come to similar conclusions as has ICN.

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Why Shouldn’t the US Federal Government Invest $4-$6 Trillion Per Year on Climate Protection? (Part 2 of 2)

By Michael Hoexter

Part I | Part II

 4. “We shouldn’t invest $4 to $6 Trillion per year more in federal dollars to save humanity because we already have carbon pricing instruments that are doing the job and are still under attack from opponents of climate action. We should stand by, applaud, and not “rock the boat” because serious climate policy makers are only talking about carbon pricing (cap and trade or carbon taxation) and not your full-scale mobilization proposal with its high price tag and dirigiste, mission-driven role for government.”

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Why Shouldn’t the US Federal Government Invest $4-$6 Trillion Per Year on Climate Protection? (Part 1 of 2)

By Michael Hoexter

Part I | Part II

Summary:  Why We Should

Recently New Economic Perspectives posted a three-part provisional US Climate Platform I have put together.  The US Climate Platform outlines why and how the US federal government should invest somewhere in the area of $4 trillion to $6 trillion per year on stabilizing the global climate, in addition to preparing the United States and other nations for the upcoming effects of our 200-year long fossil fuel binge.  The climate expenditures would more than double current federal government spending over a period of ten to twenty years, where “spending” means investment in real, useful resources and people.

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A US Climate Platform: Anchoring Climate Policy in Reality (3/3)

By Michael Hoexter

Part I | Part II | Part III

4) Question and Answer

Q: I notice that the platform cites amounts of money for some of the government actions proposed and for others it is left open. Why not either leave amounts open or develop a full budget?

A: There are a few reasons for this inconsistency:

1) This document and outline is a starting place for a larger scale development of this approach. Some numbers are there to suggest magnitudes in areas where I am more confident that they will mean something.
2) I have more knowledge in some areas than in others and I am inviting others to discuss either general approaches or the details of this approach. This platform should become a team effort.
3) Some of these amounts, even if they are “right” as a starting place, will need to be adjusted over time as the policy is implemented to maximize the effectiveness of the policy.
4) I, the initiator/initial author, have been only able to devote part of my time to this effort, as I need to earn a living Continue reading

A US Climate Platform: Anchoring Climate Policy in Reality (2/3)

By Michael Hoexter

Part I | Part II | Part III

2) Political Demands/Planks of the US Climate Platform (Slogan-Form)

1. Popular Rule Not Big Money Rule
2. Living Wage and Full Employment
3. End Police Abuse, Discriminatory Law Enforcement and Abuse of the 2nd Amendment
4. A Real Economy not a Ponzi Wall Street Economy
5. Electrify Energy Use
6. 100% Zero-Carbon Electricity
7. Prioritize Transportation Options for Health & the Climate
8. Renewable Energy Supergrid
9. Secure Finance for Renewable Energy Generators
10. No Financial Penalty for Utilities to Go Green
11. 1,000,000 Frequent Solar-Electric Buses for the Climate Emergency
12. Safe Streets for Walking/Biking
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A US Climate Platform: Anchoring Climate Policy in Reality (1/3)

By Michael Hoexter

Part I | Part II | Part III

Below is a provisional platform of policies, acts of Congress, Constitutional amendments or Presidential actions that would represent a serious and appropriate confrontation by US society and government with the upcoming climate catastrophe. This document is meant to start a public discussion on government actions grounded in economic, human and geophysical reality and is therefore provisional. It is divided into the following parts: Continue reading

Climate Defeatism is as Much a Threat to Human Survival as Climate Denial – Part 3

By Michael Hoexter

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Local Left-wing Climate Denial and Climate Defeatism

I live in the Bay Area and am active in some local groups nominally committed to fighting climate change.  California’s state government has stated its commitment to climate action and has recently passed a raft of measures that certainly express good intentions with regard to reducing emissions, though lack specific and binding mechanisms to achieve those goals.  Local activists seem to want to maintain a certain level of ignorance about state policy and politics, though some of them, I have heard, slip away to lobby state government.  There is no direct “street” pressure on state government to do more on climate other than a general “anti-fossil fuel” message, which in Sacramento politics is at least the stated intention of many Democratic lawmakers.   As I noted a recent piece of mine critical of the climate movement’s genteel approach to climate action, climate action is defined as saying “NO” to various fossil fuel industry practices (fracking, oil trains, and now coal trains) but leaving out mention of the fundamental switch, from fossil to non-fossil energy sources and government’s role therein.  How to stop in the most realistic and shortest time-frame California’s fossil fuel addictions in the areas of transport, heating and electricity generation are left mostly on a different “track” than the anti-fossil fuel industry message and the local dangers of oil or coal trains that captivate local activists.   There is no public dialogue about further-going policies between Sacramento and the climate movement that involve HOW to transition to a non-fossil fuel dependent society; this is seemingly left to insiders or self-selected or hired policy wonks with the time and means to lobby government.

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Climate Defeatism is as Much a Threat to Human Survival as Climate Denial – Part 2

By Michael Hoexter

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Defeatism, Climate Denial, and Climate Insouciance

The sources of climate defeatist attitudes are and will be diverse though one vast supply of defeatist sentiment will originate from those in the climate denial camp who must now concede that the climate has been changed, probably for the worse, by human activity.   For instance, Rex Tillerson, Exxon CEO has attempted to spread an attitude of climate defeatism in some of his public utterances, when he is not acting as if climate change doesn’t exist in his role as Exxon CEO.  It is perhaps not completely accurate to apply the “defeatist” label to those who have always worked for the defeat of climate action for a variety of personal, economic, and political reasons.   “Defeatism” suggests that the person has in some way struggled on the side of the good and righteous and then decided to give up; those in the climate denial camp have always been against climate action.  Still there are many in this camp and they can insert themselves into the broader discussion as “honest brokers” who pedal a message of defeat that reinforces their pre-existing worldview.

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Climate Defeatism is as Much a Threat to Human Survival as Climate Denial – Part 1

By Michael Hoexter

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

In the next few years, human beings will have the choice whether, on the one hand, to preserve the better shreds of current civilizations or hold onto the possibility to found entirely new, hopefully better civilizations, or, on the other hand, to destroy the possibility for human civilization to continue and head towards human self-extinction.  We possess then an awful and, for many, unwanted power at this time. We will be facing opportunities for growth and advancement while at the same time facing compromises that will leave a good number of people dissatisfied and unhappy, as happiness is now conceived.  To opt for the first choice, humanity will need to set itself within a very few years upon a new evolutionary course that some may resist and that others may embrace.

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