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Climate Hustle

Book Review: A Global Warming Primer, by Jeffrey Bennett

Posted on 11 July 2018 by David Kirtley, Daniel Bailey

Our knowledge of how and why the climate is changing comes from many different scientific fields, ranging from the physics of how greenhouse gases interact with infrared radiation, to the chemistry and biology of how carbon dioxide cycles between lifeforms, rocks and ocean waters, to the geology of volcanoes and Earth's past ice ages. Even astronomy comes into play because of slow changes in the Earth's orbit and tilt which can cause the climate to change. All of this (and much, much more) may be intimidating to some folks, and the topic can be even more off-putting when you add in the political "debate" surrounding global warming.

Global Warming Primer coverWhat to do? One approach is to give folks just enough information about the science to give them a clear understanding of climate change. Jeffrey Bennett's latest book, A Global Warming Primer, does just that. Dr. Bennett has written science books for every age group, from children's books to college textbooks. His new primer is written for anyone who wants to learn about the basic facts of global warming. The goal is to give readers a "big picture" overview of the science without getting bogged down by endless details.

Bennett achieves his goal using a helpful Q&A format, which supplements his main text, throughout the book. An expanded "Detailed Table of Contents" lists all of these questions, making it easy for readers to simply look for answers to their own similar questions. This style makes the book feel "more like a personal discussion", just as Bennett intended. This format, in some ways, mirrors Skeptical Science's taxonomy of climate myths and rebuttals.

Another useful format choice is his use of two different font sizes to denote two different levels of complexity in his descriptions of the science. The larger ("normal") font is "for general text...and the big picture ideas that should be of interest to all readers". Bennett uses smaller font for more detailed discussion of the science. If readers want to just focus on the "big picture" overview they can skip over the small font sections as they read along.

Text size example
Image of sample page (p. 26) showing different fonts, and Q&A formats

As for the substance of the book, Bennett's language is simple, direct and gives clear descriptions of the science of global warming. The first chapter, "The Basic Science--Easy as 1-2-3", cuts right to the chase. He describes two simple facts which form the basis of our understanding about climate: 1.) "Carbon dioxide makes planets warmer", and 2.) "Human activity is adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere". He fully explains how we know these two facts are true and then moves on to the inevitable conclusion: "We should expect the rising carbon dioxide concentration to warm our planet, with the warming becoming more severe as we add more carbon dioxide".

With that firm foundation down, he moves on to explore many of the "skeptic" arguments used to throw doubt on our understanding of climate science. This chapter simply adds to the wealth of information which supports the conclusions of chapter one.

Another chapter outlines the likely consequences of global warming if left unchecked. And the next chapter offers solutions we can use to counter global warming: "technologies that can offer us replacements for the fossil fuels that cause global warming".

A complaint about Bennett's primer is a lack of in-depth references. But, for a general audience, a book festooned with footnotes and a massive reference section at the end of the book might be part of why some people find science to be intimidating. He does offer a list of resources for those who want to learn more about the subject.

One other section that could have been more clear is the section dealing with a fairly recent paper from 2015 by Zwally et al, which seemed to show that ice mass gains in East Antarctica outweighed the ice mass losses from West Antarctica. This is one of Bennett's "smaller font" sections dealing with one of the many fine details of the more complex science. When Bennett wrote his book, in early 2016, there were already some "corrections" made to the Zwally study, as Bennett notes: "scientists are actively debating the validity of the results". He then goes on to explain the different methods used by scientists, including Zwally, to estimate how much mass the great ice sheets in Antarctica are gaining or losing. He does a fairly good job of explaining why Zwally's methods might not be as accurate as the other methods. Then he puts the study into the the larger context of overall global ice melt to show that, even if Zwally were true, global warming continues and, on net, ice continues to melt.

Antarctic Ice Sheet Mass Losses

Antarctic Ice Sheet Mass Losses from IMBIE 2018

Since Bennett's Primer was published there have been other studies which have further shown that the Zwally study is an outlier in Antarctic research. Most recently, the results from the IMBIE Team from 2018 show that Antarctic ice sheet mass losses are accelerating, tripling their contribution to global sea level rise since 2012 (see figure above). Still, Bennett's treatment of this complex topic shows that he doesn't shy away from "controversial" issues, and he clearly explains them. He also uses this topic as an example of how science works and advances, one study at a time: "This case is a great illustration of the way that science progresses through careful study in which results are checked and rechecked (and repeated and revised if necessary)". And finally, he reminds the reader of the "big picture" and puts the Zwally study into the larger context:

It will take time for the details of this particular debate to be resolved, but this does not change the fact that years of study have by now ensured that our basic 1-2-3 science is thoroughly understood and established.


The book is available in multiple formats: a slim 100 page paperback, an e-book, or you can read it online here: http://www.globalwarmingprimer.com/primer/

So, if you know anyone who is unsure about climate change, or wants a short, "basic-level" introduction to the subject, this book is for them.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 15:

  1. Looks like a well written book. The book "An Inconvenient Truth" presented the issues well on the whole, but had nothing on the sceptical myths. Perhaps Gore did this deliberately to keep the book short, and to avoid giving the sceptics any publicity, but I feel it was a mistake. The sceptical pseudo science should have been shot down from day one without mercy.

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  2. Question: Does this book include a comparative review of the different forms of macro-economic solutions, those being: 1) Carbon tax (sub-set being rev-neutral tax), 2) Cap & Trade, 3) Command & control (classic gov regulations) and 4) Subsidies? ... A review of the macro-economics should come before any review of an itemized list of technological solutions. And, skipping the macro-economics all together would not, in my opinion, be an adequately comprehensive primer (leaving the reader critically ignorant on effective & timely implementation of mitigation solutions). ... Interlaced in the comparative review of macro-economics is the subject of political durability, a component of reality that must be considered in order to achieve the end goal, that being accelerated reductions in carbon emissions.
    I am truly curious if this books includes a review of macro-economic policies to achieve meaningful reductions in carbon emissions! If it does, then I will buy this book and pass it on, as, then, I would feeI that it "covered it all". If not, then I believe it is just another typical climate change book, that falls short on broadening the concept of 'solutions' beyond simply our own personal lifestyle changes or beyond an itemized list of technology solutions (since understanding & embracing such a macro-perspective is also a vital grassroot component in the politics & ultimate goal of achieving meaningful macro-level carbon emission reductions), as well as providing to the reader critical information on what are these fundamental cornerstone economic tools/policies and rating their effectiveness on achieving large-scale effective & timely carbon emission reductions.
    An adequate primer should (I think) push the reader beyond the confines of their own personal lifestyle changes or even the confines of an itemized list of technological solutions (such a 'micro' approach, by itself, will not be enough, by a long shot). Instead, an adequate primer should illuminate the reader to the concept & understanding of macro-economic policies (why this is necessary to achieving the end goal, and which policies are most effective). This is necessary, as well as, yes, pushing the reader to also make personal lifestyle changes & a basic grasp of all the presently known technological solutions.
    I speak from personal experience on this. I read many CC books over a course of ~6 years and never felt like I was getting fully educated on truly effective solution methods that would overcome the massive economic forces that gave FF energy 'inertial leverage' over competing sustainable efforts. I always felt that my personal heroic lifestyle changes did nothing but keep the price of FF down, and then others & industry (bound by the economic survival constraints of free enterprise) would be more than happy to burn the lower priced FF that I heroically tried to keep in the ground. Individually, I was fighting macro forces far beyond what I could effectively alter. I knew these concepts intituitively, but had no organization or authoritative education to grab hold of or be a part of. When such a macro-based perspective and economic solution finally came to me, in terms of clear articulation & an organizational community, it was extremely uplifting & empowering. This happened when I discovered, joined & was further educated by Citizens' Climate Lobby.
    Therefore, I think for a primer to due justice to adaquately educate a reader, it should provide this kind of macro or broader-level 'illumination'. This then opens the door to the reader on the kind of macro-based solutions that the reader intuitively feels is necessary to truly do the job, but simply lacks articulate understanding and a macro-level organization to plug into. Such a primer would also guide the reader to where he/she should focus their macro political energy. All of this is, of course, in addition to (going above & beyond) changes to their own personal lifestyle. Both grassroots efforts are necessary & should be part of educational primers with the goal of achieving meaningful declines in annual carbon emissions (declines of at least 2-4%, or more, per year).
    Supporting References to the above points:
    1) The Case for a Carbon Tax (Shi-Ling Hsu) ... LINK
    2) Guardian Article (Dana Nuccitelli) ... Quote: "81% said a market-based system (carbon tax or cap and trade system) would be most efficient" ... LINK
    3) Brookings Institute Interview (Adele Morris & David Victor) ... LINK
    4) Hansen (Book: 'Storms of My Grandchildre' and many other numerous papers and public statements)

    Organizations advocating for Carbon Tax Policies:
    1) citizensclimatelobby.org/
    2) www.clcouncil.org/
    3) www.afcd.org/
    4) www.carbontax.org/
    5) carbonwa.org/

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  3. sauerj:

    The post (second-last paragraph) does include a link to a free on-line version of the book. Perhaps your questions regarding what it has to say can be answered by reading it?

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  4. sauerj @ 2:

    I think you are falling into the same trap as many posters in various forums and newspapers' comment columns.

    That trap - from the point of view of those who accept the science - is bringing the hard climate science into the same argument as the political. That way lies defeat.

    I accept as a relative layman that the science is robust. I also accept that in practical terms what if anything can be done about the issue is very debatable. It's largely political, and may well be an impossibility: the CFC problem was better defined, easier for the public to accept and certainly less disruptive to the status quo than climate: it was relatively simple to get international agreement.

    Climate change is an entirely different animal. Persuading the public, and especially politicians (who, ultimately, have to agree any solutions) rests largely on getting them to accept the science: if that is achieved there is a much better chance of having them go on to agreeing solutions.

    Bringing what are very iffy and controversial quasi-political arguments into the hard science debate allows deniers free rein to obfuscate the facts with the sandal-wearing bearded environmentalist meme, which is not relevant when trying to persuade people about the facts.

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  5. Wol @4,  I  disagree.  I haven't had time to read the book, but it talks about solutions as well as the science, and carbon taxes etcetera are part of the solutions. I think if the book did it in a balanced and factual way without promoting one solution, it would be on safe ground.

    And these are standard economic ideas.

    The hard climate science has certainly not convinced the GOP. In fact if anything might convince them its a revenue neutral carbon tax, and there is some support for this in the GOP.

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  6. nigelj @5:

    My point is that any possible "solutions" are by definition political, and therefore not succeptible to factual debate. They are, basically, opinions.

    As soon as an argument strays from the hard factual science into matters of opinion, those who are hard wired to that scientific way of thinking are going to lose to people who can pull "fake news" out of thin air because they have no ammunition to counter opinions. The gish gallop (aptly named) tactic will always win in that debate, but has less of a chance when faced with referenced  science.

    Matter of opinion....

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  7. @ Bob Loblaw (#2): Thanks! Sorry I didn't read the last line carefully enough. Thanks for pointing this out. I cruised thru chapter #4 (solutions), and, yes, it does cover (in the latter two parts of chapter #4) these larger macro-economic issues at hand (i.e. externalities, social costs, and the 4 methods of macro-economic mitigation). I have added this link to my climate change folder to return to. ... Thanks again for helping me on this matter!

    @ Wol (#4): I agree with you 100%! I am so with you on that. Not only does the science need to be effectively explained, but it needs to be explained in a way that speaks on a level that the reader can viscerally understand (deeply relate to); therefore, I super-stress effectively explained. (Off topic: Part of my beef w/ past books is that I believe they did not explain the science in terms that the average reader can deeply relate to.) So, yes, first & foremost is the science. You are right. In fact, I think that is 'more than 50%' of the battle of getting people on-board & active participants in CC mitigation. I didn't say not to do that or not to dilute that half of it. In my note above, I felt I didn't need to say that, and so I had moved on to inquiring about the solutions part. And, the summary above seemed to point out only the technological "micro-level" solutions, so I was only focusing on what I thought was a shortfall, only on this half (the solutions half), of the whole CC apologetics discussion.
    I am only saying that the other half (the solutions half) should also include a thorough review of the macro-economics as part of an overall plan to educate the reader in the bigger picture on how to effectively reduce carbon emissions (the book does seem to hit these macro-economic points & policies). [In fact, I think people who moderately want to do something to address CC are, unfortunately, very uninformed on the macro-economics of the larger issue. And, this shortfall, stunts their understanding on how best to reduce carbon emissions and on how they can best empower themselves to help in the cause. So new primers should address this shortfall.] ... In addition, I believe a good primer should also facilitate people to get involved politically so to implement effective macro-economic policies for no other reason than to help them know how best to cast their vote, concerning discrete macro-based policies that will evenutally get proposed (i.e. which ones are good, which ones are not). Of course, this is in addition to educating the reader on doing their part personally in reducing their own carbon footprint ... but that alone is not enough.
    The book does, in fact, cover these larger macro-economic issues; most CC primers don't go that far; so I am glad to see that. So I will be interested in getting deeper into this particular primer, and definitely consider buying it to read in-depth and pass along (as well as share on-line personally and within our local CCL chapter). I do wish the book summarized & promoted organizations that advocate for implementation of these macro-economic solutions; I didn't see anything like this (I would have thought this would hvae been in the 'To Learn More' section or in the Solutions chapter, but I didn't see any given).

    One other thing:
    The hyperlinks to the book's footnotes didn't work for me on-line, and I couldn't find any section that gave all the footnotes in its text. Anybody able to see the footnotes somehow / somewhere?

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] The Footnotes are in the book (I have a copy).  Is there a particular one you're interested in?

  8. Wol @6, I understand where you are coming from, but I don't think carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes are opinions. All these things are recognised economic devices. Consumption taxes have been used in the past so we know how they work.

    But I agree with you completely to the extent that  that these solutions can  become politicised with huge dollops of fake news. I would add ideological debate about role of government.

    But you get fake news and political nonsense about the science as well.

    We cant hide from any of this. Sooner or later we have to deal with solutions as well as the science. I dont have a problem with everything to do with climate change being in one book. It's normal to talk about problems and then solutions, and its strange to me that climate change should be different, if its a book targetting the general public.

    I will try to say it again. Provided the book (and any book)  talks about all solutions, so personal responsibility, carbon taxes, cap and trade etc and doesn't push one above the others, it will be avoiding politicising the issue as much as possible.

    We have tried books purely based on the science. Has that worked? Not so well.

    Just my opinion of course, and I'm keeping an open mind on it.

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  9. @Daniel Bailey [DB] ... footnote: #11 ... thank you!
    Quote from book: "Personally, I’m much less concerned with what we do with the revenue than in making sure we institute a carbon tax so that the free market can take care of the critical problem of global warming. That said, if it were up to me, I’d institute what economists call a “revenue-neutral” carbon tax, meaning one in which all the incoming revenue would be returned to the public through some combination of lower tax rates or dividends. (then footnote #11)" 
    I agree w/ Bennett, by being rev-neutral, then the tax can be as steep as possible ($100/tonne or higher), thus have both maximum free-market effect as well as be as politically durable as possible.
    I'm just curious what footnote #11 says or refers to. Thanks again!

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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] From Page 93:

    "11  One example of this type of approach is ballot initiative 732 that will be voted on in Washington State in November, 2016."

    As a general note, the footnote numbering resets in each Chapter.

  10. Wol @4 & @6 "My point is that any possible "solutions" are by definition political, and therefore not succeptible to factual debate. They are, basically, opinions."

    I agree as well. And you may be happy to know that Bennett also agrees. In his intro to the chapter on "solutions" he has this to say:

    ...the fact that people of all political persuasions can agree on the nature of the problem does not necessarily mean that everyone will agree on the best way to solve it. A discussion of potential solutions therefore takes us away from the “pure science” focus of the previous chapters and into areas that are more a matter of opinion. For that reason, I’ll admit to having had some reluctance about including this chapter in the book, because I can’t defend everything in it with the same high level of evidence that I’ve presented in previous chapters. However, I also recognized that if I stopped at the end of the prior chapter, I would have been leaving you with lots of reasons to be concerned about the future without having given you any cause for great hope. And personally, I am very hopeful and optimistic about our future.

    So with some trepidation about sharing my personal opinions in a book primarily focused on science, I’ll go ahead and explain why I am so optimistic. ...

    sauerj @7 "The hyperlinks to the book's footnotes didn't work for me on-line"

    Yeah, I had the same problem. I'm using Firefox with Windows 8 on an older machine. Maybe a different web browser/OS would work?

     

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  11. David, Daniel — Thanks so much for reviewing my book!

    As to the footnote issue in the online version: Thanks for calling my attention to it. We now have them working again, though it's a mystery as to how they stopped working previously. 

    Jeff Bennett (jeff@bigkidscience.com)

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  12. I have some thoughts to share regarding the faith in the marketplace to produce good results (or faith in leaders/winners to produce Good Results). These thoughts are a work in progress, open to being revised for Good Reasons (not for poor excuses).

    It is essential to encourage people to have helpful good reasons for liking what they like and doing what they do. The marketplace competitions for popularity and profitability do not do that very well. In fact, with passion triggering marketing, the marketplace can powerfully encourage the opposite to develop.

    Allowing everyone to be freer to believe whatever they want and do as they please can develop serious problems. The success of misleading marketing encouraging people to be more selfish (egoist) and less ethical (less altruistic) is a serious problem. Many people are easily tempted to be primitively defensive and selfish rather than 'thoughtfully increasing their awareness and understanding to considerately ethically altruistically self-limit their behaviour'.

    When stepping beyond the efforts to increase awareness and understanding of what is going on regarding climate science, I strongly caution people to carefully qualify suggestions that the marketplace can provide solutions (even if externally increasing the marketplace price of something will undeniably reduce its popularity relative to alternatives).

    Caution: Freedom needs to be qualified by being inextricably linked to the responsibility to be as aware and understanding as possible and to strive to help develop sustainable improvements for others, help achieve (or improve) the Sustainable Development Goals - all of them.

    Warning: A true believer in the power of the free market will not accept that any external influence is required. Their belief is that the free market will produce a good result if it is completely free from 'external meddling'. That, of course, leads to the thorny bit about 'externalities being understood to be ignored by the free market'. To a free market purist, 'the development of a sustainable better future for all of humanity' will naturally be achieved if everyone is freer to do as they please in the market. They believe that Developing Good Results is intrinsic to free market competition. That is a dogmatic belief and is clearly not supported by the developed evidence. The reality of all the damaging developments of the market have to be twisted into something that can be blamed on something like 'external influences trying to choose winners'.

    'Appearing to be a winner of a competition' is not the same as 'deserving to be a winner based on a detailed evaluation of the actions that led to their winning, as well as their actions after they won, to confirm the helpful ethical legitimacy of the apparent winner'.

    Freedom must be governed or limited by ethically science-minded altruism (Good Reasoning - thoughtful consideration of how to help, not harm, others based on pursuing increased awareness and understanding of what is actually going on). Freedom that is not governed by helpful science-minded ethical altruism Will develop damaging results.

    Undeniably, there needs to be diligent effort to ensure that everyone is behaving helpfully, with rule of law being governed by helping to sustainably improve the future for all of humanity.

    The ideal would be for everyone to be ethically altruistically self-governing or self-limiting with the result being no need for laws or enforcement. It would be a society with Plato's philosopher kings as leaders succeeding in helping everybody else become philosopher kings. It would be a society that took heed of John Stuart Mill's warning in “On Liberty”; “If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.”

    That ideal will never be the reality. What has developed, primarily because of freedom of people to get away with unethical harmful actions was bluntly observed in the 1987 UN Report “Our Common Future”. That report unflinchingly and accurately declared the type of winners and leaders that were developing. I para-phrase the point as follows - Damaging Winners/Leaders act as they do because they have the freedom to get away with it: the people that their actions harm, especially the future generations, do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge the decisions of the unethical winners/leaders; they have to suffer the consequences while the unethical winners enjoy the spoils of victory, enjoy benefiting from actions that ruin things for Other people who the undeserving winners have little reason to fear retaliation from.

    And an insidious part of freedom is the way that it can actually amplify the magnitude of damage done by unethical winners. Exposing the unacceptability of the actions of the undeserving winners is not enough (Read Naomi Klein's No is not Enough). By winning wealth and power they can influence the making-up and enforce of rules 'in their favour'. They can reduce the limits on unethical behaviour. And they can abuse the law to discourage or punish ethical altruistic attempts to help other people become more aware and understanding of the importance of being helpfully ethically altruistic.

    And unacceptable developed results of less ethical people winning can also harden the unethical behaviour. It can develop authoritarian police states or abuse the power of misleading marketing that tempts people to be primitively selfish. Either result develops unjustified popularity and profitability of understandably unsustainable and harmful activity and makes it more difficult to correct the damaging development.

    People develop their ways of thinking and resulting actions based on their inherent characteristics modified by what they experience and learn from. People can become more Selfishly Conniving (Harmful) or more Altruistically Wiser (Helpful).

    The attitudes people develop will be influenced by the environment they develop in. The ability to be better informed and understanding of what is going on is inherent in everyone. Only the most desperate and poorest have an excuse for acting unacceptably (and they can be helped to learn to be better, to become philosopher kings). Everyone else chooses their developed attitudes beliefs and actions. And what they do based on that knowledge is also 'their choice'. They can choose to be helpful or harmful. And the ones choosing to be harmful often try to develop excuse to justify their choice. One of their best excuses is to claim that winners simply deserve to be winners - Done. Their next axiom, the fall back if their first claim is not convincing enough for them to win, is that what they want has to be considered. If they do not have the power to do as they please they will demand that what is understandably helpful has to be compromised (harmed) by 'considering' their interests 'in order to be fair to them'. And they may consider anything other than fully winning their way to be unfair to them.

    The results of Freedom can be Helpfully Altruistic or Harmfully Selfish. It all depends on what Wins. Injustice or Justice can win in any system. An authoritarian dictatorship can be ruled by a philosopher king or a despot. And either of those can also win the leadership in a democracy. And helpful or harmful business activity (pursuits of popularity and profitability) can win in the free market or communism.

    A key is the potential for success of passion triggering appeals (harmful misleading marketing) that can encourage individuals to allow the dogmatic adoption of understandably harmful primal interests to over-power their potential to helpfully thoughtfully consider what should be done. If enough individuals develop a united front pursuing a diversity of unacceptable interests, the result will be a diversity of injustices. The harm done by those damaging collectives need to be limited by the development of an over-powering collective governed by altruistic desires to correct the injustices and achieve and improve on all of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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  13. The solution starts with collectively admitting that it is unacceptable to create negative consequences for others, especially for future generations, no mater how popular and profitable an activity is or could be for a portion of current day humanity.

    Without that admission, what develops to replace fossil fuel burning could also be unsustainable and harmful.

    A carbon tax is only part of the solution. And it will not get the required correction to occur as rapidly as needed to limit and correct for the negative future consequences.

    A carbon tax simply makes it more expensive to burn fossil fuels than getting energy alternative ways.

    The majority of the population will end up with a significantly larger portion of their income needing to be spent on energy or retro-fits/replacements of their existing material things to reduce energy needs.

    The richer minority will be relatively unaffected. The increased energy cost will be a tiny factor. And it is typically the richest who consume the most, including energy. The richest can afford to behave better, and should be required to behave better to maintain their status relative to others. Getting them to lead by becoming totally carbon neutral super-low consumers first will not happen through a carbon tax. A carbon tax will also not discourage the richer people from pursuing profit from fossil fuel burning.

    A more effective solution would be to require the richest and the winners of leadership to be more ethically altruistic, to truly justify that they deserve to be Winners or Leaders. If they fail to act more ethically altruistically than their peers, or those of lower status than them, then they deserve to be taken down a notch, through legal means based on their failure to be more helpful, ethical and altruistic.

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  14. All solutions to the climate problem probably have to work within the framework of a market economy, because this is only going to change structurally quite slowly. Unless it suddenly self destructs or something.

    Carbon tax and dividend has the virtue of least negative impact on how markets work. It could be the main tool, but it seems unlikely that it would be the only tool.

    There are other things we can do to make markets work better. Profits and economic growth don't recognise environmental damage, yet they are the main numbers we have when evaluating companies or state agencies.

    We should develop an environmental index or rating of some kind and apply it to companies and other organisations. Some business organisations do this and a state agency could do it more comprehensively. Such an agency could be somewhat independent of government. However it needs to be robust and not just greenwashing.

    This would make performance open and transparent and could help consumers make choices, and push executives into making better environmental decisions. 

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  15. nigelj@14,

    MTBE is just one clear example that things do not have to be corrected by compromising what is understood to be required with what has become popular and profitable.

    Ending the production of MTBE did not happen slowly through market actions. The production of MTBE was legislated out of existence, very rapidly.

    The only difference regarding fossil fuel burning is the magnitude of its developed popularity and profitabilty. Its unacceptability, due to its undeniable unsustainability and the undeniable harm it causes to future generations, is undeniable.

    The failure of leaders to have to openly admit that fact in order to remain as leaders is a serious problem that is 'external' to the marketplace.

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