Lessons for the Climate Emergency

By: Judith Deutsch  Posted on

As detailed in examples below, solutions to climate change proffered since the 1960s have not worked. An implicit illogic allows for the constant expansion of destructively high greenhouse gas emitters until they can shift to renewables. Virtually ignored are three high-emitting sectors that are exempt under the Kyoto Accord, all slated for vast expansion in the coming decades and all three not convertible to renewables: the military, international aviation and shipping. Other high-emitters rooted in the economic growth model include the agro-industrial complex; biofuels; extraction of minerals, metals, oil and gas; production of plastic; and the construction industry with its use of energy-intensive steel and cement. Logically, these sectors need to be stringently curtailed or eliminated, first of all, until the basic needs of the world population are prioritized and met without adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, secondly, until GHG concentration is drawn down to a safe level, and finally, until these sectors are actually fueled by renewables while fully accounting for externalities and life cycle analysis…

Stan Cox provides a particularly helpful analysis of rationing in the UK and US from WWII to the present. Rationing by quantity, combined with price controls, was broadly supported by the public, finding these the better way of ensuring that true needs are met when there is a situation of broad inequality. “As the United States shifted from a Depression mind-set into world war gear, a large slice of the population remained poor, and the equal shares aspect of rationing together with controls on prices and the rapid creation of well-paying wartime jobs, tended to boost the real incomes of working class Americans.”5 He wrote that people are more receptive to rationing when it is a response to a crisis. In fact, in August 1942, “when only a limited number of items were being rationed, a poll found 70% of respondents feeling they had not been asked to sacrifice enough,” and a later poll indicated that the majority of people felt that the government should have acted faster in rationing scarce goods. Support for continued price controls remained strong after the war. In Britain, demand swelled for “all around rationing.” In both the UK and US, the day-to-day management of rationing systems was handled at the local level. “The block leader, always a woman, would be responsible for discussing nutritional information and sometimes rationing procedures and scrap drives with all residents of her city block.”