Climate Change actions for the middle classes

Written By: - Date published: 1:05 pm, July 28th, 2017 - 33 comments
Categories: activism, climate change, Environment, sustainability - Tags: , , ,

In a previous post I outlined the need for a major shift in how human societies organise as an urgent response to Climate Change. The Powerdown is a process whereby humans, in the face of climate change and resource depletion, choose to transition to a post-carbon world, sustainably. That’s not reverting back to living in caves, it’s taking the best of our cumulative knowledge and finding ways of living well within our limits and means.

So what can we do? Preventing the worsening of climate change and adapting to what is already locked in go hand in hand. Adaptation without prevention is morally reprehensible because of the damage that would be done to people living in less stable climates and countries, and to the ecosystems we all depend on, if we allow runaway climate change.

Instead we can think of resiliency and sustainability as being two sides of the same coin. One of the silver linings of our current situation is that the best solutions for prevention are also the ones that support our adaptation as things get harder, as well as restoring and protecting the environment. That’s win, win, win.

Making personal change isn’t a replacement for broader political change. Both need to happen. But there is a catch 22 here. If the people aren’t willing to change, how can any government do what is truly required? My view is that governments follow the edge, which is why activism works. Radicals get things on the agenda, and then mainstream activists do the mahi of getting the culture adapted to those new ideas, and politicians follow either because it’s right or because the voters want it.

The problem here is that we literally don’t have time for that normal long process, we need to accelerate it. So as well as working on more conventional political moves we need to be changing the culture fast.  Here are some things that the people of means can get on with that will help them and their families personally but will also reshape society so we are all more ready to change.

1. Pay someone to grow your food. 

Food miles, especially domestic miles, are a huge part of NZ’s ecological footprint [1]. Paying someone to grow your food brings multiple benefits. It provides a living for that person, and that income is then spent in the local economy. It relocalises food and thus lowers carbon and ecological footprints significantly. Done right it can regenerate land making it more resilient to adverse weather and climate. This resiliency creates food security in a world where industrial cropping is already under threat from climate change.

Contrary to the agribusiness debate about meat vs plant-based diets, stopping eating meat isn’t quite as effective as growing local food in terms of lowering impact. Better yet, reduce meat and dairy in your diet if you eat a lot and grow local and organic. When you have excess produce, you can then sell, trade or gift it to your neighbours and community thus reducing poverty and increasing community resilience.

[1] The ecological footprint (PDF) is a “measure of how much productive land and water an individual, a city, a country, or humanity requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates”. If everyone lived like NZers currently we would need 2.1 planets.

2. Learn how to stop flying. 

Leaders at the forefront of Climate Action say flying isn’t just about the carbon emissions from that one flight but instead it’s to do with the GHG emissions from the whole trip (flying, ground transport, accommodation, meals etc), and all the associated infrastructure and energy needed for that. Flying also increases the demand for new airports, which to be financially viable need more flights, then more runways, support infrastructure and so on it goes.

Unlike other forms of energy use, there is no emerging technology to replace aviation fuel. At some point flying will need to be reserved for critical services or rare occasions, so this is something we can prepare for and do now to shift away from fossil-fuel dependency. This is especially challenging for NZers who live so far from land transport options internationally, but we still have choices, especially domestically.

Australian sustainability designer and teacher David Holmgren discusses the need for systems thinking approaches, and reflects on integrity,

I found this essay Hypocrites in the air: should climate change academics lead by example?  by Kevin Anderson very refreshing because it clarified some of the systemic issues that climate scientists and activists should well understand.  In particular he shows how speed and convenience of air travel massively increase the distance, and shorten the duration, of travel resulting in a massive increase in greenhouse gas emissions that would simply not happen if people had to travel by train. It is this convenience and bargain basement prices, more than any measure of greenhouse gas emissions per person kilometre, that exemplifies the need for systems thinking rather than reductionist metrics.

[my emphasis]

Drawing on sustainability design principles he applies them to travel,

The principle of Small and Slow Solutions suggests that when we do go far and/or fast we should get and contribute maximum value.  The principles of diversity and integration suggest we should be focused on multiple values and functions in everything we do but especially in high powered, high impact activity.

So why not continue to fly overseas using this model? After all isn’t my work around the world the most important contribution I can make to a better world?  While I can see the beneficial outcomes of my overseas travel,  I also believe that much of the power of my presentations, teaching and influence comes from the modest home based self reliant way of living that informs my work.  There is little doubt I could have more influence over more people by travelling more but I believe the less I travel the greater the integrity and quality of my influence when I do.

Perhaps most importantly, Holmgren makes this point in a Peak Oil context as well,

Beyond GGEs  I see the depletion of precious high quality transport fuel as a additional debt that needs to be justified by the value of what is achieved by the travel.

We only have so much cheap oil left, what are the ethics of using it up profligately?

Holmgren describes how he travelled within those frameworks and ethics. The cases against flying are also made by climate change scientist and advisor Kevin Anderson and environmental and political activist/writer George Monbiot.

3. Share land

At some point we assume the housing crisis will be partially solved (either by the government or by a GFC), but it’s likely that conventional owning of land will remain out of the reach of many NZers. One solution is we can help each other by learning how to share land. This has multiple benefits of affordability, and community and resiliency building. Sharing land allows more productive use of land too e.g. two families living on a section can produce their own food and surplus for their neigbourhood.

Important here is to break down class barriers. Don’t expect to share only with people that have the same assets and income as you.  Many of the people with skills in gardening, land restoration, community building or resiliency don’t have assets that enable buying land, but are vitally needed to create the models of both prevention and adaptation we need.

Create new structures that enable fair sharing of land for all people. Conventional sharing structures like co-housing are often out of the reach of many lower income people, so we need additional ways, because it’s more fair and because diversity is important for healthy community.

The middle classes have the resources and access lawyers to create those new structures. They need to be fair and support community and society rather than protecting financial assets alone. The invention of new structures or adaptation of existing ones needs to happen across diverse class, and people from all classes need to be creatively involved in that process. Place high value on the other kinds of assets and skills that people bring.

There are models like Community Land Trusts,

CLTs balance the needs of individuals to access land and maintain security of tenure with a community’s need to maintain affordability, economic diversity and local access to essential services.

Land sharing can be urban as well as semi-rural or rural. Retro-fit the suburbs. Lobby local councils to change bylaws to allow multiple occupancy on land that is owned communally. Pākehā, learn from Māori and Pacifica peoples about how to share land and housing, we don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel.

we need to copy the Marae System in my books, the land belongs to the people, the people live on the land, the people get buried on the land.

Rinse repeat rinse repeat.

We need to talk about the benefits, not the effort. The effort will keep people away, the benefits however will/could get those excited that don’t want to end up alone, mistreaded, drugged to the hilt in a profit driven system that will keep them ‘alive’ cause profit.

– Sabine

I’ve quoted Sabine here particularly for the point about talking about the benefits rather than the effort. Don’t worry about trying to convince the naysayers and denialists. Instead find the people who already recognise that something needs to be done and start talking about how these changes will work for them and their children as well as in the bigger picture. This is a conversation we first need to have with ourselves and then start demonstrating the pathways to sustainability and how we can live well in a world of climate change.

______________________________________________________________________

Moderator note – zero tolerance for climate change denial or ‘it’s too late/we’re all going to die’ comments. 

33 comments on “Climate Change actions for the middle classes”

  1. Ovid 1

    Some good advice and I agree with the broad thrust of your analysis

    Unlike other forms of energy use, there is no emerging technology to replace aviation fuel. At some point flying will need to be reserved for critical services or rare occasions, so this is something we can prepare for and do now to shift away from fossil-fuel dependency.

    There are some promising advances in aviation biofuel and a lot of research around 2007-2013. But then oil halved in price in 2014. I suspect if it climbs again, further work will be done in this area.

    • Bill 1.1

      Unlike other forms of energy use, there is no emerging technology to replace aviation fuel.

      Hydrogen is a tried, tested and proven alternative to aviation fuel.

      The Russian manufacturer Tupolev built a prototype hydrogen-powered version of the Tu-154 airliner, named the Tu-155, which made its first flight in 1989.[6] This was the first experimental aircraft in the world operating on liquid hydrogen.

      (my emphasis)

    • weka 1.2

      Cheers Ovid. I think there are problems with the bioavgas. Biofuel has its own GHG emissions right?

      In that link it’s talking about chopping down trees to grow biofuel. This is the massive problem with solutions that don’t use sustainability design. The agenda is BAU not creating sustainable management of human societies. So chop down forests and grow crops instead with the attendant carbon release.

      They could be talking about perennial crops, but I suspect they are talking about annuals, or at least cropping that requires ploughing, and I’m damn sure they’re not taking the carbon footprint of that into account, nor the fact that industrial ploughing damages soil and reduces fertility over time. It cannot be considered in sustainable design.

      Then there are the social justice issues (cropping for jet fuel instead of food for poor people).

      It’s unlikely that we have enough land use for biofuels, although I’m not averse to smaller amounts being grown for essential flights if that turns out to be a useful solution even in the interim.

      All round there is a need to use less, and to design sustainably (which is a different thing than just replacing x with y no matter how good y looks in isolation).

  2. Tony Veitch (not etc) 2

    I have a last century motor vehicle. It has a small engine, 1300cc, but is still not the most efficient on the road. I can’t afford to upgrade, but I’d be prepared to spend money on converting it to electric power.

    A year ago I looked into this idea – there was a workshop in Rolleston (I live in Canterbury) that apparently did conversions – but by the time I got to them, they’d ceased business. I’m aware that electric cars are not without their downsides, but they’ve got to be better than petrol, eh?

    First – the government should be encouraging conversions, or even, dare I say it, subsidising the same.

    Second – if anyone in the Canterbury region is converting petrol motors to electricity, please post here.

    Cheers.

  3. gsays 3

    Cheers weka, great post and lots of conversation starters for life outside the web.

    Transition towns are great theory to read up on and even better to be involved in.
    Like minded folk and their networks can be wonderful for sustaining the move to a lower energy intensive lifestyle.
    I agree that the state is unlikely to force folk to act differently and they really do follow, not lead. Witness polling.

    It is by talking, seeing and then doing these things ( gardening, sharing, learning and teaching) that creates momentum.

  4. Bill 4

    What was it Timothy Leary said again?

    “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

    Jettison the hippy shit from that statement – or that became the real world expression of that statement – and it about sizes up current necessities.

    If the middle class took their current material and financial resources and redirected them towards a common good rather than personal and individualistic ends, we’d all be a fair way down the road we need to be traveling.

    Just a pity that those with the necessary resources also tend to be those with the most psychological and emotional investment in the status quo and so most resistant to change. C’est la vie.

  5. Andre 5

    Peak oil doesn’t necessarily mean the end of liquid fossil fuels. They can be synthesised from coal by the Fischer-Tropsch process, as used on a large scale by the Nazis (coz they couldn’t get enough oil) and South Africa (coz they didn’t want to spend the foreign exchange to buy oil). There’s enough coal to turn Earth into another Venus if we choose to do things that way.

    So the end of fossil fuels will come about either by heavy-handed regulation or by renewables becoming much cheaper than fossil fuels. New renewables are already cheaper for electricity generation than new fossil plants, and it’s not far away that it will be cheaper to build new renewables than continue running fossil plants. We can bring forward the day they’re cheaper for transport by taxing carbon, which will also speed up shutting down existing fossil electricity stations..

    • weka 5.1

      Peak oil isn’t about running out of fossil fuels, it’s about the relationship between the amount left, the demand, and the economics. That coal can be converted to liquid fuels isn’t the issue, it’s how much that will cost, how easy it is to access, and the impact on EROEI. I’d add the local environmental and social impact now, because increasingly there is resistance to mining where that damages the environment or people.

      But I take from your comment that you see no reason to change. Which given what is at risk I find strange, and tbh it’s hard for me to understand given there are good alternatives available for human societies.

      • Andre 5.1.1

        My comment is about if anyone is thinking that peak oil is going to force change, that’s unlikely to be correct because of the way coal can be substituted for oil.

        http://www.sasol.com/media-centre/media-releases/sasol-produces-15-billion-barrels-synthetic-fuel-coal-fifty-years

        No, it’s not particularly expensive. Current exchange rates are about 10 Rand to 1 NZD, so diesel is slightly more than here, petrol is somewhat less.

        https://www.aa.co.za/on-the-road/calculator-tools/fuel-pricing/

        Comments like the quote below just give deniers ammo:

        “Perhaps most importantly, Holmgren makes this point in a Peak Oil context as well,

        ‘Beyond GGEs I see the depletion of precious high quality transport fuel as a additional debt that needs to be justified by the value of what is achieved by the travel.

        We only have so much cheap oil left, what are the ethics of using it up profligately?’ ”

        It gives deniers ammo because if there were no downsides to dumping CO2 into the atmosphere, we could go on using petrol and diesel and jet fuel without changing and peak oil would come and go with nothing worse than temporary price spikes and minor shortages while Fischer-Tropsch capacity got built.

        Just think about how often you already hear deniers jeering about “peak oil alarmists”.

        So the fact of the matter is we have to choose to move away from fossil fuels. We can do it the slow (and much hotter planet) way by waiting for renewables to become cheaper than fossil fuels to reduce our emissions. We can choose to speed that change to renewables via taxation or regulation. But if anyone is expecting peak oil to force that change because oil is going to get too expensive, that’s going to result in a cooked planet.

        • David Tong 5.1.1.1

          It’s also unlikely to be correct because of the share scale of existing, known, owned oil reserves. When oil companies already own 5x our carbon budget for 2C, peak oil seems like a distraction at best.

  6. Chris 6

    Moderator note – zero tolerance for climate change denial or ‘it’s too late/we’re all going to die’ comments.

    Lol

    Sorry, but can I just point out this is class!

    That made my day

    • weka 6.1

      I just got sick of threads under CC posts getting derailed when people who want to do something about CC felt compelled to push back against denial of all kinds. Too often the discussion ended up not being about what the post was written about.

  7. Ad 7

    Weka if you just give another sad neo-Puritan list of stuff not to do, you’re not going to scratch the surface.

    What they yearn for is highly curated time:
    – if you want them to go solar at home, make sure they also install disco lights and hold lots of parties with great acid.
    – if you don’t want them to fly, they need adventurous multi day cycle tours with a day spa at the end and wellness days
    – if you really don’t want the to drive as much, their domestic datastream has to be outstanding if they are going to beam the tutors in for the children.

    It needs to dump the punitive bullshit about doing without and start looking like improvements of their lives.

    • weka 7.1

      Read the post again, and follow the links. The whole post is about what to do rather than what not to do. Holmgren in particular is a world leader in how to create good, meaningful lives sustainably using wealth and creativity rather than deprivation and puritanism.

      I suspect your slur re sad neo-Puritan is because you also don’t want to lose BAU and want to hang onto the baubles of privilege. Or maybe you just didn’t understand what I was talking about.

      “It needs to dump the punitive bullshit about doing without and start looking like improvements of their lives.”

      Or maybe you just didn’t read the post,

      I’ve quoted Sabine here particularly for the point about talking about the benefits rather than the effort. Don’t worry about trying to convince the naysayers and denialists. Instead find the people who already recognise that something needs to be done and start talking about how these changes will work for them and their children as well as in the bigger picture.

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Nope.
        You just have fundamentally no idea about how to appeal to the middle class.

        Act more like a marae? Few of the NZ middle class have darkened the door of a marae in their lives and they never will.

        In middle class terms it’s more attractive to say: “act more like an apartment co-op”. Or like a Rotary Club.

        The stuff that is making inroads into the middle class is not likely to change the world fast enough to save it.

        The middle classes will do enough to sustain their interests – but it has to make the middle classes reinforce their class markers at every point.

        You’ve gone about this post in the wrong way.

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          Hows about … a lot more time with your kids (as much as you/they want) and the 2.5 hectares ‘in the bag’ and friends in lieu of acquaintances and no bureaucratic maze to negotiate in the event you want to ‘pick your nose’ and the option to more or less choose what to do with your days and no need to worry about saving for retirement or incapacity in old age and increases in your day to day access to material wealth and the space and time to indulge in that passion given up ‘back when’ because ‘earning a living’ …

          You reckon illustrating that suite of gains (at least, they’re arguably gains) might do it?

          And sure. The cost to be paid is having to walk away from the day job and the stresses and strains associated with 21C living that people have huge personal investment in – given that individual meaning and purpose is derived from successfully negotiating or overcoming that environment’s contours.

          • AB 7.1.1.1.1

            Yeah – because it seems likely (to me) that effective responses to climate change mean that those “class markers” Ad talks about get swept away. And that an economy that sustains everyone without emission-driven growth makes it pointless (or impossible) to be much wealthier than anyone else. And that the only survival strategy may be a sort of radical egalitarianism (‘neo-puritanism’ in Ad’s pejorative phrase).
            And if this is true it is very worrying, because it almost guarantees that not enough will be done quickly enough to avoid some very nasty stuff.

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m not sure if you can sweep away the class markers. That will happen to an extent if we don’t do something meaningful in terms of CC, but I was more interested in what we could do now that would have some effect. In this sense Ad is right, the middle classes won’t give up being middle class. In part because lots of middle class don’t even understand that they are middle class. But also, they don’t know how to live without that privilege. /generalisations.

              I don’t think the primary drive of the middle classes is to be much wealthier than anyone else (that’s a different sector of society). I think it’s to be well off. I think there will be more inroads with change to frame the change as a shift to other ways of living good lives than the (neoliberal) one of chasing money to fund a lifestyle.

              Asking the middle classes to consider investing in a food forest rather than a retirement fund based on fossil fuels is big enough. Asking them to give up their day jobs is a jump too far. We need to build a bridge between those realities.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.2

            The thing I like about that is the appeal to values. Getting the middle classes to think about their values and then how to think about them in the context of CC seems a good step.

          • Ad 7.1.1.1.3

            Definitely on the right track there.

            Not sure about giving up the day job.

            Weka is dead right that BAU won’t save the middle classes.

            You can see the bounds of bourgeoise acceptability re climate and the environment in Good Magazine and Simple Things getting slowly stretched.

            It’s too slow, and this is the set of people with the capacity to change.

            • Bill 7.1.1.1.3.1

              Depends what the day job is, innit? 😉

              I’m fairly sure many people, even if they’re in jobs that they ‘love’ ,would wholeheartedly welcome some time away and a chance to pursue a more rounded life or, in ‘news speak’ – create a better life/work balance.

              Small but fast incremental steps could work. So, off the top of my head, the introduction of a 35 hour working week and fostering a more positive attitude to job sharing…these sorts of things.

              A huge rebalancing of employment power and quite fundamental changes to taxes and social security would probably have to ride along in tandem with the likes of the above.

              It then becomes an open question of if and when society’s attitude to paid employment can be shifted to the extent that it’s not seen as the sole or principle path to achievement and sense of self worth that it’s seen as today.

              Maybe worth bearing in mind, that besides jobs that are satisfying and quite rewarding on the personal level, there are many that are an unnecessary drudge and basically just soul destroying.

              • lprent

                I’m fairly sure many people, even if they’re in jobs that they ‘love’ ,would wholeheartedly welcome some time away and a chance to pursue a more rounded life or, in ‘news speak’ – create a better life/work balance.

                Depends what kind of work you are looking at. For instance my work has been doing intellectually challenging largish projects. These typically take several years of concentrated effort to achieve, usually with a multiplicity of people and their various skill sets. For me the satisfaction has always been building something out of nothing much and then seeing it being used. I tend to work some fairly long hours out of the sheer enjoyment of building (much the same as I do here on a much lesser scale). This pretty common amongst engineering and artistic people, and to a lesser extent amongst craft orientated managerial types. I suspect that Ad and many others who write here are in the same position.

                Similarly, there are people who just delight in interacting with other people, and are eternally fascinated with the details of their lives and interactions. Personally I can’t understand it myself – people always feel a bit like an open and rather boringly similar page to me. But I run across a lot of the delight in people people a lot, and they do make life a bit of a joy.

                There are the truly obsessed who seem to delight in building things from the glass half full perspective. I am always fascinated by the competitive, the entrepreneurs, the crazed artists, and the righteous seekers of justice. Their dedication is awesome.

                There are so many different denizens of the workers that it is frigging hard to try to slap a single label on them. Personally I’d say that about half of them work because they just like what they are doing and are continually amazed that anyone is willing to pay them for doing it. Essentially they set their own work life balance and would probably get somewhat pissed at pious fanatics using a statistical study to try to lump them with the people on the other side of the bell curve by trying to limit their access to doing the work that they enjoy.

                But I suspect that you’re thinking of some pretty mundane and mindless jobs on the other side of the bell curve and the people willing to stay in them for one reason or another. Many if not most of these types of jobs which are steadily disappearing over time….

                Maybe worth bearing in mind, that besides jobs that are satisfying and quite rewarding on the personal level, there are many that are an unnecessary drudge and basically just soul destroying.

                As far as I am concerned these are also the jobs that should be automated out of existence. If a robot and/or a program can do them, then that is what should be done with them. While the people doing them might just look at them as being a way to get a paycheck, they also waste a lot of people’s lives and their potential skills by acting like a robot or a lump of code.

                People tend to get astonishingly productive when they have the opportunity to do so. I’m all in favour of giving them the opportunity to do so. Right now that is what I am about to provide to my partner – a space to find something that she finds more personally satisfying.

                However I suspect that “..the introduction of a 35 hour working week and fostering a more positive attitude to job sharing…these sorts of things.” as a harsh limit is simply a daft idea. The existing work restrictions like a 40 hour week are an indicator to people about the limits an employer can impose upon them. They are not a restriction on what people may want to do for themselves. Much of the work involved at work is to just train up those around them. Reducing the hours will simply result in the teachers at work reducing the levels of teaching they are willing to take away from exercising their particular skills.

                Pushing it down to a 35 hour week isn’t going to magically create a lot of jobs because of the skills and the focuses that are required and the ways required to impart them. Many employers (including everyone I have worked with for many decades) have been limited by the skills and attitudes required. And just as importantly by the attitudes of people with those skills to impart them to others.

                I’ve helped train up something like 30 odd over-educated grads in the arcane skills of pushing a programming project forward over the last decade. That is about my limit. The only reason that I have done that many is because it has always been a pleasant experience. My employers take a lot of time selecting the people to impose upon me. Contrary to the widespread belief, the apprenticeship systems are still in place and still absolutely required. But the required talents and attitudes have to be present first.

                • Bill

                  Not much of substance I’d disagree with there.

                  Just want to point out that introducing a 35 hour week (and/or whatever other measures) isn’t about imposing anything on anyone. If the obsessive wants to hammer away at something for 70 hours a week, week after month, then who is anyone to stop them?

                  At the moment, there’s an environment that compels people to work for 40+ hours in maybe 3 jobs or whatever. The idea would be to free up those people, not impose restrictions on those who are genuinely and happily engaged in whatever they’re doing.

                  One caveat.

                  In addition to possibly automating given jobs, it might serve society to do a kind of audit on different jobs at some point with the aim of abolishing those ones that make no contribution to the well being of society or/and that have a deleterious effect on society at large.

                  • lprent

                    I can’t really see any point in using people as machines. They aren’t good at it, just as the machines are too freaking stupid to be good at anything else. They are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future barring some weird accident.

                    They will just get ‘smarter’ stupidly in the way that they have been doing since the Hollerith machine shuffled the US census in 1890. They have the patience to do do things that humans cannot because machines don’t get bored.

                    The problem with abolishing jobs is the same as trying to re-balance any ecosystem. While something might look like purebred parasite that could do with being removed, you have the law of unknown consequence staring you in the eye at all times.

                    So you kill off a predator like wolves in Yellowstone and suddenly find that the trees start dying because the moose herds aren’t getting pruned. Or you stop wildfires because they occassionally cause problems for people or their forests as they did in aussie and the US western states – then you start having problems with really serious wildfires as the level of combustible material rises and the bug population have more old trees to add to the bonfire.

                    Or you deliberately shift from a wood, peat and some coal burning economy to a cleaner more easily transportable and less polluting petroleum economy (while stopping all research on alternatives) and get accelerated climate change far greater than humans had already been doing for the previous 5000 years.

                    Generally with any ecosystem including the human economies it pays to not remove things. It is better to change them so you can recover them when you need to.

                    Half of the problems we have right now is because of well intentioned actions that were designed to alleviate problems leading on to other problems. It is usually better to figure out how to introduce changes by leaving the original systems in place in a slowly reducing capacity while carefully introducing new ones. Don’t use revolution, use evolution.

                    Getting back to the topic. It means that at present the best course on climate change is to do two things. First get rid of coal powered power stations – which are the primary CO2 polluters – something that is well underway now as a matter of public policy everywhere except in Trumpburg (the US power companies are doing anyway). Second to offer choice to people in their transport systems and let them choose. That is just starting to get underway.

                    It still means that we’re likely to have a average 4-6C rise over the remainder of this century and the next. But we’re already committed as far as I can see to 4C as the oceans turn over with their carried load.

                    But I suspect that causing a sudden collapses in economies it more likely to increase emissions than decrease them because the replacing tech requires a higher tech level to manufacture and support them.

                    • Poission

                      and get accelerated climate change far greater than humans had already been doing for the previous 5000 years.

                      What about the 5000 years b4 that?

                      Don’t use revolution, use evolution.

                      Evolution is always problematic (especially with probability)

                      eg Monod

                      “It necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, and of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among many other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition – or the hope – that on this score our position is ever likely to be revised. There is no scientific concept, in any of the sciences, more destructive of anthropocentrism than this one.”

        • weka 7.1.1.2

          You’ve missed the point Ad. I’m not writing for the middle classes who’re not interested in change. I’m writing for the ones who already want to change, who know that things need to change, who already have a vested interest in climate change action or who worry about it but don’t know what to do.

          I’m also not interested in trying to convert the middle classes en masse. Your comment reminds me of the arguments I’m seeing a lot about how the Greens should be more like National. There are other ways to effect change than just going for the biggest stick. What we need at the moment is the people who are already on board to step into those roles of changing the culture. The Rotary crowd will follow.

          If you on the other hand do want to speak to those middle classes that are still more interested in BAU then all power to you. But as you’ve pointed out we don’t have time for that, or rather we can’t rely on that (necessary but not sufficient). We need other things.

          I’m not sure if I have fundamental ideas about what appeals to the middle class or not (I’d be surprised if I didn’t have any because I come out of as middle class a background as you can get). But I think I do have some clues about how change happens, especially where it’s led from the edge and where the interface between the radical and the mainstream happens. That’s where the post was pitched.

          As for the marae quote, it was a lead in to the end point. But I’ll just mention that there is a Māori middle class, and that even non-Māori middle class people who’ve never been on a marae are capable of understanding the gist of what I wrote in the context of the whole post. Your comment still comes across as someone who skimmed through and pulled out the bits they were reacting to to argue against rather than reading the post as a whole.

  8. Hydrangea 8

    Moderator note – zero tolerance for climate change denial or ‘it’s too late/we’re all going to die’ comments.
    So no discourse then?

  9. You completely left out dairy and red meat which contributes 39% of our emissions. Cutting the exports of these products to zero over ten years would allow us to make around a 30% reduction in our emissions and not enter a recession.

    I have cobbled together some rough calculations at https://squalidheights.nz/climate-change-what-we-can-do/ but it would nice if someone could do a better analysis.

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