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Greta Thunberg's TEDx talk

Posted on 27 December 2018 by Guest Author

If you haven't yet, watch Greta Thunberg's TEDx talk.

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Comments 1 to 22:

  1. This is possibly the single best video I have seen on this website. A scarily intelligent young woman. Even if the words are not all her own, she clearly understands them. 

    However unfortunately its well known that humans are built in a way where we respond best and most urgently  to short term threats, and not things that unfold more slowly in the future, even if they are huge. We have to recognise this, and find a way of overcoming it.

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  2. I think it's pushing it a bit to say that nobody's talking about things and that nothing is happening. I also think it's disingenuous to imply that we could stop using all fossil fuels tomorrow to solve the climate crisis without acknowldging that a sudden cut off would create a devastating, and almost immediate economic impact. It's the immense difficulties in balancing the rate of transition to a low carbon future without damaging or destroying our current economy which explains a lot of what appears superficially to be little or no action or urgency

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  3. Yes there is a lot happening. Yes it takes a lot of time. But few people feel the sense of urgency, and we are moving too slow. So I. for one, welcome any message from anyone pushing for urgency. And this young lady says it so honestly, so simply, so forcefully that it compels. And that is welcome.

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  4. Nick #2,

    While Greta talked about nothing being done and needing to stop emissions immediately, she also brought up the need for rich countries to reduce emissions by 15% per year, adding that if rich countries don't take a leadership role, then we can't expect developing countries to take similar steps.  While this is different from just stopping emissions totally immediately, it does require that much, much more be done than is currently being done; hence her call for action first in order to release the pent up hope that comes with that action but is otherwise just so much greenwash, pie-in-the-sky talk that can actually reduce our inclination to act.

    Thank you, Greta, for the excellent talk. I will add it to a resource page I hand out to all who are seeking more information on this topic.

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  5. I didn't agree with all Gretas views, but she got a lot of things right, and I think its important to give young people in particular some positive feedback.

    It's not just political leaders standing in the way, in a simplistic sense. Theres more to it of course.

    Regarding her view that nothing was being talked about and being done I was unsure if she was just talking about Sweden and perhaps climate change is just not talked about there, or whether she was venting her frustration that nothing of 'consequence' was being done, some precocious sarcasm perhaps! I just translated her comments to mean not nearly enough is being done. And it isn't.

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  6. I share Greta's disappointment and annoyance with the behaviour of the supposed Leaders of Humanity through the past 30 years.

    And I have commented many times on this site about the need for corrections of the socioeconomic-political systems.

    Fatally flawed systems like the ones that developed the damaging unsustainable results that have been developed, and that develop resistance to correction, are undeniably in need of correction. The required corrections will not happen without System Corrections. And those corrections will undeniably mean losses of developed perceptions of superiority relative to others, and losses of opportunity to personally enjoy living any desired (popular or profitable) way that can be gotten away with.

    It is tragic that globally humanity still allows incorrect pursuits of personal enrichment and glory, pursuits that are understandably detrimental to improving awareness and understanding of the corrections and redirection of development efforts required for the benefit of the future of humanity.

    The popularly supported leaders (and leaders incorrectly winning any way they can get away with), of the supposedly most advanced nations have collectively behaved ineffectively (and some of them behaved and still behave deliberately harmfully). They claim they can only 'do what is popular and will be profitable' rather than declaring the obvious unacceptability of the results of competitions for perceptions of superiority based on popularity and profitability. And they incorrectly market misunderstanding to excuse the incorrect things they do not want to see corrected.

    The development of improved awareness and understanding is proven by the Sustainable Development Goals (and all of the predecessors to that most recently established summary of understanding). The failure of global leaders to figure out how to effectively correct what has developed in order to achieve the required results for the benefit of the future of humanity needs to be declared to be the problem requiring solutions (on many more matters than reducing climate change impacts).

    The challenge has always been getting the richest and most powerful to effectively limit and correct the incorrect among them.

    For a young person to understand that means that the richest and most powerful likely also understand it. And the rich and powerful understanding that explains their behaviour (they refuse to give up any undeniably incorrectly developed perceptions of superiority).

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  7. I've said it again and I'll say it again ad nauseum. As long as vested interests such as the Koch Bros are allowed to finance our politicians, the politicians will do their bidding.  Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.  It is that simple.  What a great kid.

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  8. In fairness, Global Leaders and the global population should be talking about many more required corrections of what has developed, not just climate change impacts. So having discussions that are not about climate change is not a real serious concern.

    All of the Sustainable Development Goals deserve serious discussions and actions, particularly corrective actions.

    However, many of the rich and powerful people attempt to distract global efforts from those essential corrections (to protect undeserved perceptions of grandeur or superiority). That should be a major news item every day (there are many news items related to this), and be part of almost every social discussion.

    The future of humanity is far more important than entertainment matters. Yet being dismissive or denying the reality of these important issues is popular and is not being bluntly declared to be incorrect (because of concerns about popularity and profitability).

    It always has been harmful to try to get along with incorrect people who do understandably harmful things rather than correcting them or limiting their impacts. That is the basis of Good Engineering, and any other Good Work.

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  9. william @7,

    The Citizen's United decision was indeed a harmful development that needs to be corrected.

    But the system that developed that incorrect development needs to be understood to be what needs to be corrected.

    Another way to say it is that the system clearly needs to be corrected so that people do not develop into the likes of the Koch Brothers (and Trump) who are not just understandably incorrect, but are difficult to keep from incorrectly becoming wealthier or more powerful.

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  10. A follow-on to my comment @9,

    The Story of the Week in the 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #51, "The Green New Deal, Explained", mentions the need to correct Neoliberals.

    Neoliberals like more power/freedom to make-up whatever economic related beliefs they want to excuse the pursuits of personal enrichment they have developed a liking to getting away with. And they are willing to partner with Social Conservatives (people who like the idea of more power/freedom to make-up whatever morality related beliefs they want to excuse their resistance to corrections of attitudes they developed a liking to get away with).

    Advancement of humanity to a sustainable better future is contrary to those collectives that have been uniting to try to more powerfully resist economic and social and political correction.

    The Uniting of the USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in opposition to accepting the understanding presented by the most recent IPCC Report is an example of what I am referring to.

    Australia joining that group to try to promote Coal burning is another example.

    The Yellow Vester protests in France likely fueled by Le Pen's links to Russian assistance in her failed pursuit of victory in France is another example.

    And the Unite the Right parties in Canada making-up claims about actions in Canada to reduce fossil fuel burning are another example. And those Unite the Right types are fond of claiming that Canada only contributes a small percentage of the global total, just as Greta has observed the similar types in Sweden do.

    Anyone can claim they are not a Big problem (even Trump can claim that a collective of others is worse than he personally is). What is needed is the requirement for everyone to prove by consistent action that they are a signficant helpful part of the solution, helping to develop a sustainable better future for humanity.

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  11. Greta's full speech at UN Climate Change COP24 Conference here => School strike for climate - save the world by changing the rules - Greta Thunberg

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  12. I personally think that tweaking the 'free market' so it encourages responsible, rather than wasteful and/or irresponsible purchasing decisions by the greater mass of people is 'the answer' - not just to global warming but all the other envirnmental issues too. The 'over free' market enabled the problem. Reining it in a bit might be the solution.

    Conventional economics, never mind the more exreme neo-liberal economics, takes little account of the 'externalities' - those effects caused by a product or service that somebody else ends up paying for the clean up of, rather than the manufacturer/service provider that made the product or provided the service.

    More nuanced economic systems, such as Hermann Daley's ecological economics, which assign the costs of the clean up to the bottom line costing of a product, should have a very powerful effect on changing peoples' purchasing decisions - not as a result of burdensome legislation or moral crusades, but because the cleaner greener options work out cheaper!

    The beauty of this is that we already know that it would work in principle because of how putting a price on acid gas pollution cleaned up industry smoke stacks rapidly and effectively in the 70s. A  proper price on carbon would do the same.

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  13. Nick Palmer @12, I agree totally. Neoliberalism on wikipedia is worth a read. There are no policies there I fundamentally disagree with in the most general terms. For example free trade is good, immigration is good, nobody wants over regulation, the government doesn't need to own everything,  but the trouble is neoliberalism has been high jacked and pushed to a really damaging extreme.

    Governments do have a role regulating environmental matters, and most "liberal economists" agree. Deregulation was intended to apply more to labour markets and occupational licencing.

    The trouble is various business interests would prefer the free market not be tweaked, at least not in ways that upset them. They are of course utterly inconsistent in their various philosophies but they influence governments, and in some cases virtually own governments.  

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  14. william @7,

    Another way of expressing my concern about political influence is to say that money influence is not the real problem. The real problem is the influence of people who are interested in self-enrichment in ways that can be understood to be contrary to achieving and improving on the Sustainable Development Goals.

    A related concern is that efforts to restrict political influence could be abused (Good helpful people could be punished unjustifiably). Or the rules for restricting influence could have loopholes written in because of incorrect influence (Bad people getting influence on how the 'approved final law' is written). Or the attempts to limit influence fail because an elected official could do favours for undeserving people if they believe they may benefit after they are done in elected-office (like the way that junior executives from trading firms get 'loaned to do some public-service work at the SEC' and 'may' act in ways that benefit the trading firms).

    So the problem is the socioeconomic-political systems that encourage people to develop desires for self-enrichment in ways that are contrary to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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  15. Nick Palmer @12,

    I agree that tweaking (correcting) the developed free market is required (like Herman Daly's suggestions, or Paul Hawken's in "The Ecology of Commerce", or the many others who have written about how incorrect the developed free market is - including Naomi Klein). But they will not be small tweaks. And more than a 'corrected free-market' will be required to sustainably solve the problems that need to be solved.

    What is required is achieving and improving on the Sustainable Development Goals (all of them - particularly the Climate Action Goal because more aggressively achieving it makes it easier to achieve many other SDGs).

    A corrected free market that did not reward unsustainable harmful activity (preferably did not even allow that type of activity to compete for popularity and profitability) would be a significant part of the solution.

    But free market corrections alone are unlikely to achieve the required Climate Action corrections. The problem is that other unsustainable and harmful actions could develop to replace the targeted unsustainable and harmful activities. And reduced energy consumption is an important part of the solution. And encouraging people to stop using artificial energy in their recreational activity is unlikely to happen 'as a result of a corrected free market'.

    A major issue is that the understanding of unacceptability of an activity often only occurs after it has developed to a degree that makes its harm undeniable. The activity is then more difficult to correct because of developed wealth, popularity and profitability. A damaging result would be 'for-profit' free-market global scale geoengineering actions. Global scale geoengineering should not be thought of as a Solution since learning about the unacceptability 'after-the-fact' could be more globally tragic than the resistance to accepting that burning fossil fuels was unacceptable (the unacceptability was first flagged in the 1800s). And a for-profit motivation related to geoengineering would make it worse than if it was being done Publicly for Good Intentions.

    Many other actions/corrections would help alter the way that people are encouraged to develop in the socioeconomic-political systems (to reduce the number of people who are encouraged to develop narrow self-interested world-views). One of those corrections would be effective penalties for incorrect, or harmfully incomplete, marketing statements (claims that impede the achievement of the SDGs), particularly in politics, but also in Religions.

    Correcting those who have developed a preference for being harmfully incorrect is the real challenge. Correcting the socioeconomic-political systems to reduce how many people develop the desires to benefit from be harmfully incorrect is also required. Tweaking the free market will help. But it will not develop all of those required corrections.

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  16. OPOF
    I don't think the problem is as intractable as everyone thinks. 'Tweaking' the bottom line of a company, which uses materials wastefully, discharges pollution to the environment and sources non-clean/renewable energy sources, so that its costs are higher than a responsible manufacturer, is not that hard and the products of the 'dirty' manufacturer would end up either being more expensive to buy or the manufacturer and their shareholders would make less profit. The use of peoples' tendency to want a 'bargain' would  send a tsunami of change through the free market.

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  17. And, of course, shareholders would put immense pressure on the management to clean up their act so they could get better returns.

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  18. The climate problem is a classic tragedy of the commons problem, just on a grand scale. Lets not complicate it beyond this. Everything OPOF says is true but is a subset of the essential problem.

    Such problems happen in freemarket economies and even centrally planned economies. Markets are very clumsy and slow at fixing such problems if they fix them at all, so solutions have to be imposed on market participants by participants agreeing on an appropriate solution. You can call this tweaking the market if you want.

    Solutions can involve court actions (costly and only the lawyers really win), government regulations, cap and trade schemes, taxes, or government infrastructure projects. All these leave markets free to make decisions so free markets are preserved, with the exception of government infrastructure projects are more of an imposition.

    The difficulty with the climate problem has clearly been identifying the best solution. The next difficulty is people who dont believe in any solution, other than court action (and even that only reluctantly).

    Nick palmers idea sounds ok. Cap and trade and carbon taxes hit manufacturers with dirty products dont they? The problem is mostly political, how to convince libertarians and conservatives to get on board. The $64,000 question.

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  19. I seriously doubt we are getting out of this death spiral by tweaking a political and economic system that is inseparable from its almost total fossil fuels base.

    Greta is bang on, we've been talking for decades about change and touting "green" technology and practices and yet emissions are still going up and many places like Canada are still demanding at an institutional level that fossil fuel exploitation be the main driver of economics and society for decades more.

    We need a paradigm shift that is very hard to achieve because most vested interests still lie firmly in the fossil fuels sector. We get "leaders" like the Canadian PM who went to Paris in 2015 and played the game of claiming to respect the evidence and wanting real change. Who then a few months later went to Houston Texas to an oil and gas symposium and was given an award by the industry for openly stating that Canada under his policy control would in fact not leave the bulk of 173 billion barrels of oil sands bitumen in the ground.

    These two things are not compatible at all and have not been for decades. And yet we all do sit back and allow politicians and business leaders get away with what is essentially the greatest fraud in history, which itself is well documented.

    No one profits if we crash the planet and yet that is exactly where we are headed. What will the oceans be like in just few decades without almost any coral reef systems and that is just the tip of this issue.

    I think nigelj is accurate in saying that most people are simply not built to assimilate the threat that is unfolding on a decadal scale and are able to go with the flow which is still dominated by the amount of money that is used by one sector to both buy political power and distort public perception so that many are deeply confused about what to believe.

    Australia is an excellent example of this, most people there understand that climate change is real and driven by human activity. But almost half think scientists are evenly divided on the evidence and likely outcome of this. When almost all peer-reviewed science is clear about the nature of this threat and its likely outcome if not mitgated and now.

    The psychology of climate change denial


    It is the same political and economic games that have been played for decades that enable what I truly do see as a fraud in the interests of just a few to enrich themselves no matter the truly frightening impacts we all face already nevermind what is coming in just a few years.

    Think of everyone you have ever known including you gone and no generations of people to carry on our culture, history and the wealth that is in our genes.

    That is what we do now face without radical change and right now, not 30 years from which is in fact what will happen if we allow the same fraud to play out that has been going on for that long at least.

    There is already a very real revolution underway as we are collectively acting to turn what is the only planet we know can sustain this kind of biosphere into one that will only be able to support a fraction of the species here now.

    And yet we are collectively being controlled so only a few rebel against this devastating change. People in Alberta hold rallies to demand more and more pipelines are built and people in BC are jailed for protesting this mindless process of "progress" at any cost with no thought to externalized costs which are heading towards everything.

    Maybe Greta is right and most of the rest of us are truly the irrational ones.

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  20. Something relevant: The book Dark Money, on the influence of money from people like the Koch brothers in the politics of climate change. This is 20 pages from the book.

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  21. Nick Palmer @16,

    I agree with the ability of increasing the cost of a harmful activity to terminate it. But it is important to understand that this is not just a matter of competing alternatives. And the objective is not reducing the harmful activity. The objective is rapidly terminating the activity to reduce the harm done.

    The harmful ultimately unsustainable burning of fossil fuels has to be terminated, but not just be 'replaced'. Part of the problem is the increasing energy demand, and other resource consumption, of 'supposedly more advanced people'.

    Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires more than a conversion of energy sources from harmful non-renewables to renewables. Every energy system and its consumption/use requires other resources/materials. To achieve the SDGs the more advanced people need to require less energy for their pursuit of profit or lifestyle and use less resources, with all of the non-renewable resources they use being fully recycled. And the more advanced also need to help all others develop to be more like them.

    Getting a reduction of energy use (or reduction of any resource use) by the wealthiest is not accomplished by pricing the harm done by an activity. The richest can choose to afford it. The correction requires the richest to not want to do it. Pricing also does not get the richest to help others.

    A rebate of the collected fee would sort of discourage the richest, but it would not develop the requirement for the richest to truly act as leaders to a better future for humanity.

    A related problem is the way that Pricing Carbon has already become a game to be gamed.

    People have evaluated their perceptions of the future costs of climate change (incorrectly discounting the future costs to make them appear to be smaller). And they use those evaluations to argue what the Carbon Price should be (or even claim that there should be no effort made to tweak the free market).

    That game is simply incorrect. What is required is for the Carbon Price to be as high as is needed to terminate the activity.

    And the game has been gamed even more by already more fortunate, and supposedly more advanced, people who tried to incorrectly develop economic activity since the 1980s when it was undeniable that the burning of fossil fuels had to be terminated, not prolonged or expanded.

    So now we face the reality that Greta has bluntly pointed out. The failure of leaders in business and politics to responsibly respond to the understanding that the burning of fossil fuels needs to be rapidly curtailed has developed a more harmful required correction to limit the harm done to future generations. Popularity and profitability of an understandably harmful activity is no excuse for allowing it to continue. Continued failure to choose to personally suffer the pain of the required correction will result in painful future consequences.

    Greta's observations put today's current leaders on notice that they may be the ones to suffer consequences in the near future (she was speaking to political leaders, but the same message applies to business leaders). And the young Green New Deal people in the USA are pointing out something very similar.

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  22. On Greta's "up to 200 species going extinct every single day" from climate change (73,000/yr), since they can't name a single species extinct from climate change (ever) to any definitive level, this is an effort to find a scientific paper backing the claim. No success yet but here are some of the bread crumbs. Earliest "200" is 1995:

    2004, UN Environment Programme, TUNZA for YOUTH
     . . . "It is estimated that between 150 and 200 species become extinct every day"
     . . . No citation or reference. Page removed in 2009.
    1997, Encyclopedia of World Problems & Human Potential, Decreasing diversity of biological species
    . . . "150 to 200 species"
    . . . "World Bank and Worldwatch Institute, and reported to the Rio+5 conference in 1997, estimated 150 to 200 species of life become extinct every 24 hours"
    1997, J. John Sepkoski Jr., Biodiversity: Past Present and Future
    . . . "range to 150 species etinctions per day (Ehrlich and Wilson, 1991)" [extinctions typo in paper],
    . . . although Sepkoski adds "[total species] figure is misleading, however, because no official list of described species exists"
    1995, Adam Rogers of United Nations, [Book] Taking action: An environmental guide for you and your community
    . . . "every 24 hours, an estimated 150 to 200 species of life become extinct" (in the preface)
    . . . No citation or reference.
    1991, PAUL R. EHRLICH and EDWARD 0. WILSON, Biodiversity Studies: Science and Policy
    . . . no mention of extinctions per day as Sepkoski said.
    1989, WV Reid and K Miller, Keeping options alive: the scientific basis for conserving biodiversity
    . . . "potential loss of" ... "50 to 150 species per day". Contains "climate change" 27 times.
    1989, WALTER V. REID, How many species will there be?
    . . . "potential loss of" ... "50 to 150 species per day". Included in a larger IUCN report containing "climate change" 11 times.
    . . . "An estimated 25 percent of the world's species present in the mid-1980s may be extinct by the year 2015".
    1988, Edward O. Wilson Harvard University, Biodiversity
    . . . "By the end of this century [year 2000], our planet could lose anywhere from 20 to 50% of its species (Table 6–1)"
    1979, Norman Myers, The sinking ark : a new look at the problem of disappearing species
    . . . "at least 1 million by the end of the century"
    . . . That's 137 per day starting in 1980.
    1979, Norman Myers, Conserving our Global Stock
    . . . "present century, about one species per year"

    I want Greta Thunberg to do well, best bet is to drop the silly '200 species' thing and focus on living, threatened species instead. It's serious, the numbers are large.

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