Tag Archives: climate change

Donald Trump, Why are You Aiming 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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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

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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The Question I Wanted to Ask

By J.D. ALT

I recently attended a panel discussion called by Bernie Sanders—and moderated by Stephanie Kelton—to discuss the crisis in Greece. The panelists were Joseph Stiglitz, Jacob Kirkegaard (of the Peterson Institute) and James Galbraith (who, it had been disclosed just a few days earlier, was part of a secret committee in Greece which evaluated how, and at what cost, an actual Greek exit from the Euro could be managed.)

Jacob Kirkegaard was game in acknowledging that he’d been invited to lend “diversity” to the discussion—and then proceeded, without even wearing a uniform, to give a highly credible impersonation of a six foot nine inch SS storm-trooper. Joseph Stiglitz was a charming rambler who punctuated each point he made with a bright smile—the more painful the point, the brighter the smile. James Galbraith punctuated his points with the very first word of each sentence, which came out as a kind of uncontrolled squawk quickly followed by an incisive and original intelligence that I found truly mesmerizing. (I’d never before seen or heard any of these people.)

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The Climate (and Climate Justice!) Movement Cannot Remain a Genteel Environmentalist Movement

By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

In my last piece, I noted how little the climate movement and its leadership generally understood about the demand for energy and fossil fuels, or at least strategically continue to gloss over their importance.  I may have been too dramatic in calling this lack “fatal” but it is “fateful” and a critical blockage to the growth it needs to experience rapidly.

But there is I believe a political-strategic “reflex” within the current climate movement that is as or more damaging to the growth of the movement and a laser-like focus on stabilizing the climate system and creating the basis of human civilization in the post-carbon era. There is in my observation a naïve belief that by adding up all of the LOCAL environmental damages caused by fossil fuel extraction that one necessarily arrives at a GLOBAL, holistic understanding and movement to fundamentally alter humanity’s energy and transportation systems.  Philosophers might call this a “fallacy of composition”: the erroneous belief that the parts, if listed serially or together, will represent the whole. Climate movement activists think to themselves perhaps that these local damages are an “added perk” in their war against fossil fuels but I believe, unfortunately, that the movement has had over the last several years a tendency to devolve into the “same-old, same-old” environmentalism that has always been the concern of a fairly small minority of the world’s population.

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Bill McKibben’s and the Climate Movement’s Fatal Misunderstanding of the Role of Demand (for Energy/Fossil Fuels)

By Michael Hoexter, Ph.D.

Last week, Bill McKibben penned an op-ed in the New York Times with the title “Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial” in response to the Administration’s decision to allow Shell Oil to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Here finally, after years of gentle chiding, I thought, one of the leaders of the US (and worldwide) climate movement would compare the Obama Administration’s rhetoric to the stark reality of the Administration’s negligent policy with regard to energy and climate action.  Obama (whom I campaigned for in 2008) has been treated gently by most progressives in ways that have compromised the content of contemporary progressive politics as well as action on climate change. Of course, the Obama Administration’s actions, such as his EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants are preferable to what is likely the Republicans would have done in office. This McKibben also acknowledges.

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