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A Swedish Teenager's Compelling Plea on Climate

Posted on 18 February 2019 by greenman3610

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swede, makes a moving plea for climate action, and scientists explain the rationale for it.

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Comments 51 to 56 out of 56:

  1. nigelj,

    Responding regarding:

    1. Directly linking environmental concerns with social concerns
    2. Increased conservative attitudes as people get older

    I will start by pointing out the potentially radical awareness and understanding that the 'addition' of Rebate to a Carbon Fee is linking a social concern with an environmental action. A Carbon Fee alone is an economic action that can change behaviours regarding the 'environmental concern'. There is no 'environmental need' to add a rebate component. A constantly increasing Carbon Fee is all that needs to be implemented (not some calculated carbon cost, just the Carbon Fee increasing as required to achieve the required result). Of course, just focusing on the environmental concern also leads to the obvious result of 'acceptable' actions being whatever the powerful winners of the competitions for status are happy with. And the logical conclusion of that competition is people with higher status not being happy with anything that would reduce their developed perceptions of status. The winners can be expected to only be happy with maintaining and increasing their perceptions of status regardless of 'consequences suffered by Others'.

    Conservative attitudes will definitely been seen to develop as the part of the brain that allows rational consideration of the potential consequences of an impulsive thought becomes a working part of the human brain. That capability develops in most minds by the age of 25. And that development 'would make a person more conservative than they were before it fully developed'. But the socioeconomic-political environment a person develops in can also significantly affect their development of helpful critical thinking (as opposed to the type of critical but incorrect rationalization that can so easily be done instead). And admittedly in cultures with competitions for impressions of status relative to others that allow more freedom regarding actions and perceptions of status, many people will resist putting that ability to helpful purpose, because they have been building personal perceptions of status on understandably harmful actions. And some people will resist giving up developed perceptions of status for themselves or the group they have joined (or created to help them resist losing understandably undeserved perceptions of status)that is well used by many people.

    Climate Action needs to be understood to be an 'added required correction' to the other identified changes of direction of development and corrections of what has developed that are presented in the Sustainable Development Goals (and all of the other similar presentations of what is needed for humanity to have a sustainable better future). The GND is a sub-set of the SDGs (the SDGs are more comprehensive than what is in the GND and the developed understanding is that achieving all of the SDGs is required - only achieving some of the SDGs actually achieves nothing sustainable). But the GND is a Good Step in the Right direction for correcting leadership thinking and for correcting the system that has been incorrectly developing popular thinking in the USA.

    Greta was correct to declare that the problem was 'the lack of responsible leadership by the attendees at Davos'. Some may be trying to behave responsibly. But obviously only having some winners have to admit (because of popular pressure) that they need to correct things in ways that will be helpful to the future of humanity and diminish their developed perceptions of status, particularly the ones unjustifiably fighting against a 'loss of undeserved status within their Tribe of Winners' is not Good Enough.

    Climate Science has unwittingly exposed the unacceptability of the socioeconomic-political systems that have developed, and exposed the reality that many people and groups with developed perceptions of higher status are not deserving of their perceived status (and will fight to Conserve their undeserved Winning, including taking control of or forming United Conservative Labelled Tribes that will support Their resistance to being corrected). That will not be corrected by 'clearer presentation of technical facts'. The resistance to correction is not playing a fact-based game. Exposing the type of game actually being played is required. It is a misinformation game filled with appeals related to incorrectly developed harmful perceptions of "Values", incorrect perceptions used to trigger resistance to the developments and corrections identified in the SDGs. Note that the SDGs are open to improvement (that is how they developed), and so is the GND. But those improvements will not negate any of the key awareness and understanding that has already been established (just like new climate science is highly unlikely to not change the majority of the currently developed awareness and understanding of climate science and the required corrections of developed human activity).

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  2. One Planet Only Forever @ 51

    Yes you could argue the carbon fee rebate embodies a social concern, but only to placate the Republicans ideological concerns about too much big government , and only as a necessity. There's a big difference between this, and the structure of the GND and its socio economic components.

    Don't get me wrong. There is clearly a big overlap between social issues and environmental issues. The Democrats would be expected to have some Party Philosophy on this big picture and how they think things should be approached. Clearly capitalism also has some problems there is abuse of power by the rich and something simply has to be done. But this is overall party policy (and while we desperately need some idealism, hopefully they dont lurch to extremes and do daft things).

    My concern is entirely "political strategy". I go along with Mal Adapated's view on the issue, more or less. The Green New Deal is by its title an environmental document yet it contains a mixture of environmental and social policies, and as has been pointed out this complicates it, and probably alienates the conservatives, and you probably have to get at least some conservative votes to get any environmental laws passed. You certainly need to get centre votes and swing votes to govern and they typically dont like extreme policies. The GND looks like borderline acceptability to swing voters.

    Fortunately the group presenting the GND has toned down some of the socio-econmic goals, and its now somewhat better as here.

    But all these socio-economic concerns might have been better in a separate "economic new deal" that at least makes it harder for the GOP to attack everything by associating everything together too much. Its a strategic thing.

    However the socioeconomic goals in the GND do at least largely appeal to me, and The GND may gain traction simply because it takes such a bold, comprehensive stance.

    I agree people can learn to be more helpful. I think it's an instinctive value and not unique to liberals or conservatives. I know of no evidence that it is stronger in one side of polictics. I see the problem more the way conservatives resent forced helpfulness like social welfare programmes for example, but at least one can make a logical and economic case for these. The majority of Americans support these things, according to polls, and its the politicians that are more divided, so its more of an issue about the power structures of Americas government and how they have become so detached from the will of the majority. But there are still ideological differences between conservatives and liberals on government programmes, and I'm not sure how that is best fixed. It goes deep.

    My purpose on stating some people developing a conservative attitude as they age was merely to demonstrate we are not quite as unchangeable as Scaddenp thinks. Some also go the other way and develop liberal values, I have seen it. I probably chose a bad example to make the point.

    As stated people are born liberal or conservative and basic leanings go deep, but some level of change is also possible it seems but is perhaps a slow process. And moralising is not pointless. We make determinations that certain thing are wrong, like stealing peoples property, and eventually all sides of politics have accepted such things, but clearly developing legal codes based on morality is a slow process. Trying to argue the climate issue in a similarly moral way seems right to me, but equally looks like it would take forever to persaude people! Maybe thats the problem.

    Where Scaddenp also has a key point is getting conservatives to adopt very deep and fundammental liberal tenets, ideas, values can be "very hard work" at times and so another approach is to find common ground and justifications for ideas that might resonate with conservatives (eg renewable energy is "clean and pure" and profitable rather than promoting it simply as morally desirable, or that people who oppose it are bad people, even if they are)

    I don't think you and Scaddenp are quite as far apart as you probably think. A lot of this is about being precise about definitions.

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  3. nigelj,

    Thanks for the reply (and thanks to scaddenp, Mal Adapted, and all those I am forgetting to mention - sounds like an awards speech).

    We, including scaddenp, do seem to have a lot of understanding in common. Though admittedly my thinking is more radical (less common), as pointed to by Mal Adapted (and I do appreciate that radical is not necessarily a negative term).

    One minor difference in our thinking is that I believe many moderate conservatives may actually be easily 'put off' by claims like potential free-riding promoted by a Carbon Fee and Rebate system (potentially seen to be taking from the richer and just giving to the poor). In Alberta, Canada, and the USA, the conservative opposition to climate action is not opposition to net increased government revenue. The New Conservatives in Canada vehemently oppose Carbon Fee and Rebate policies, successfully appealing for support in places full of moderate conservatives like Alberta by calling the actions Tax programs that will do nothing to reduce emissions (they leave off the point about the rebate and their fans do not question it).

    Another minor difference I hope you will change your mind about is what the name 'Green New Deal' means. The New Deal was the radical socioeconomic action plan developed to correct the massively harmful and unsustainable socioeconomic conditions that had developed in the USA decades ago (pre WW2). It had many opponents, including people who would probably have been thought of as moderates, because it costs the supposed economic winners of higher status some of their status relative to others (it made rich people poorer and poorer people richer, but the richer were still richer than all others). But it was undeniably required at the time. A similar socioeconomic condition has redeveloped in the USA. So a New New Deal is being proposed. What is being done is the addition of the Green component because of the importance of the relatively new required corrections for climate action. It is also done because of the synergies of things like new employment in renewables and the ability to connect all the different 'helpful' interests into a common understanding. But the corrections of the GND will make some of the currently richer people signficantly poorer (especially the ones who made big bets on fossil fuels), and those threatened people are gathered in (actually pushed for the creation of) the likes of the New United Right GOP.

    One of the things I need to be more aware of is that my life experience in Alberta, Canada, is probably a far more powerful exposure to the recent (past 30 years) of Unite the Right groups like the GOP developing effective resistance to the clearly required corrections that all global leaders have long been aware were required. People in other regions of the world will not have that intimate experience with that development. I consider myself to be a fiscal conservative, social progressive, who is aware of the importance of helping others, particularly the future generations of humanity. The last consideration is the reason I often comment on how much trouble the current generation is in because of the lack of consideration of the future by previous generations. I see the admission of the need for correction to be an important step (like it is for any harmfully addicted person). Some moderate conservatives may be open to admitting they were incorrect and change their mind to support corrective action on climate change. But the developed socioeconomic-political systems and the resulting Tribes that many conservative-minded people are now in are seriously stacked against that happening. Being Socially Progressive is a significant aspect of my thinking that has kept me outside of the developing New Conservative Tribes.

    The collective diverse Tribe gathered under Unite the Right banners can be seen to include people who want to resist just about every correction that is presented in the Sustainable Development Goals (and the GND). And people tempted to continue to identify with the newly developed Unite the Right Conservative Tribes can only remain Loyal to the Bosses of the New Tribe by being a supporter of resistance to the required climate action corrections. Any person who does not want to be part of that resistance probably has to 'Leave the Tribe'.

    The identification of the harms being done by the Unite the Right leadership are potentially the most powerful wedges available to spring moderates free from the Tribe they still try to identify with (more powerful than any amount of better presentation of technical details regarding climate science or related economic evaluations, though that work is critical and must continue). Admittedly, that may not be a simple task, even for a moderate conservative. A lot of developed perception of status is potentially at stake. And unlike political Liberals (using the current political understanding of that term) who likely only have Fairness added to the core moral objective of Helpfulness (with Fairness unlikely to be at odds with Helpfulness), a political Conservative may have to undo incorrect beliefs about the merits/value of Loyalty, Respect for Heirarchy, Perceptions about what is Pure and Good, and beliefs about Liberty (like the flawed belief that Good results will develop if everyone is freer to believe and do whatever they please).

    There is potentially a lot of hard to do corrective change for a Conservative to work through. It could be perceived as significantly reducing their developed self-image. But helping them focus on helpfulness may help them understand that through the corrections they are actually developing a more sustainable and defendable self-image, participating in Tribes that are part of a larger and diverse collective of more sustainable helpful Tribes that they can proudly have Good Reasons to be Loyal to the Leadership of.

    Any attendees to Davos who change their minds to more aggressively help achieve the corrections that Greta has pointed out is 'their responsibility to be clear leaders of the development of' will be able to be justifiably prouder of themselves. The others will deserve ridicule to embarrass them into behaving better (because they need to behave better).

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  4. One Planet Only Forever

    "Another minor difference I hope you will change your mind about is what the name 'Green New Deal' means."

    I agree the original New Deal was a good thing. I have read a history of it. Without it I think America would have spiralled down into a 50 year depression. Keynes got some things right.

    And I see what you mean now. You are saying the GND is really a plan for absolutely everything, but with sustainable environmental goals as a key criteria and modern variation on the theme of a New Deal. I suppose you could be right.

    I still think this ambiguity is possibly a problem, and the inclusion of things like some form of universal basic income would cause conservatives to explode, and you do need some of their votes. However that provision has been softened down (I hope Scaddenp reads my previous comment).

    I personally have absolutely no opposition to the social ideas in the GND, but I'm a bit of a political strategist. Nothing will get done if one can't get votes so you always have to look closely at what swing voters might accept. Of course we have to be careful this does not lead to such wooly weak policies that makes the whole aim of being in politics pointless. Sometimes we have to take political risks and be a bit radical, but I would say make sure its on very sold grounds, and pick the battles.

    I think its too early for a universal basic income although the idea has merit.

    The unite the right issue is a worry. Fortunately we are not seeing too much of this in New Zealand. There is tribalism, but not on the scale of the USA. The problem is unite the right are loud and agressive, and all conservatives are very swayed by that sort of "authoritarianism" because they lean towards authoritarian values, so its a tough thing to counter.

    Vilifying and lecturing conservatives in general probably wont help, but I think its important to point out to them they are letting the fanatics gain control. It's ironic that Pence and Trump are trying to claim fanatical socialists have taken over The Democrats! But Pence and Trump exaggerate, and I think the public can mostly plainly see that.

    I tend to think gunuinely sane good policy, like some form of public healthcare for exampe, will win through in the end, and its best to keep to sane rational arguments and not start a shouting match or war. But theres nothing wrong with pointing out that some politicians policies are plain nasty like Trump's.

    And in countries like Germany conservatives and liberals are much closer on climate and even many social policies. America has gone a bit crazy.

    I think helpfulness is a pretty neutral and acceptable value to promote. Possibly better than constantly emphasising fairness or inclusion, which seems to drive conservatives insane, for reasons that mystify me.

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  5. nigelj,

    I share your concern about unsustainable and potentially harmful social 'over-corrections'. But I also extend that concern to harmful environmental over-corrections like opposition to any and all GMO.

    The corrections to achieve the identified minimization of harm done to future generations, 2.0C maximum impact, could negatively impact the already less fortunate. Helpful responsible leadership cannot allow that to happen. The problem is the power, popularity and profitability of irresponsible harmful leadership.

    The perceptions of prosperity and reduction of poverty that were developed by the harmful unsustainable burning of fossil fuels are now very likely to be unable to be maintained. More effective action to limit climate impacts starting 30 years ago might have created sustainable perceptions of prosperity today along with less harm done to date. But what is done is done. What will be done is what can be changed - by improving awareness and understanding of what is helpful and what is harmful and that the future of humanity is what really has to matter most (we would be experiencing a better present day if resistance to correction of harmful unsustainable developments had not been as successful as it has been).

    A simple but determined focus on improving awareness and understanding and application of that knowledge to help develop sustainable improvements for all of humanity (act locally in ways that help develop sustainable improvements, and act nationally to help the global future of humanity - do no harm to Others), can help avoid being dragged into pointless 'political compromising debate' or 'religious belief conflict' regarding the corrections identified as required by improving awareness and understanding (and not just regarding climate science, though climate science is a very powerful case related to that point).

    I still expect to encounter people who will resist being helpfully corrected. But they will have little ability to provide defensible reasoned arguments against the Helpfulness requirement. I can ask anyone who disagrees to help me improve my understanding of that governing objective of helpfulness to the future of humanity. I have yet to have anyone present any defensible improvement that helps them maintain the preferred beliefs that they resist correcting. What they present usually leads to more opportunity to improve their awareness and understanding, being able to point out that their suggested 'improvement' is actually contradicted by observable evidence. A common point is that the socioeconomic-political systems that humans have developed in the supposedly more advanced nations have not only created many serious harmful problems, they have developed significant resistance to correction of the problems because of a lack of responsible effective helpful governance of the pursuits of status/impressions (popularity and profit).

    The Universal Living Wage is just a different name for Work for Welfare. It that more correctly identifies the potential for work for welfare programs to be harmful to the people they are claimed to be 'helping'. Political leaders who do not like the idea of a Universal Living Wage also dislike the idea of the more fortunate 'having' to help the less fortunate (often claiming that everyone 'having the opportunity to live better' is all that is needed).

    A Universal Living Wage can be understood to be an improved awareness and understanding of what a Social Safety-net should be. The socioeconomic-political system can be free to be set up any way people want it to be. The only catch is that the more fortunate 'have' to act helpfully to ensure that everyone experiences at least a basic decent living (claiming that everyone has 'a chance to live better' does not meet that requirement). Anyone interested in a more rewarding life can compete to be more helpful at developing sustainable improvements for the future of humanity. Almost everyone can understand the importance of being more helpful.

    People who choose to not be helpful (including those among the less fortunate), and especially the ones choosing to be harmful impediments to the improving awareness and understanding of how to be helpful, should not be rewarded. They should be kept from having any significant influence on others until their attitude is corrected.

    That leads to another basic understanding that can lead to a radical awareness:

    • Education is about improving awareness and understanding, and it is open to helpful improvement.
    • Indoctrination develops beliefs that can be understandably incorrect or harmful, and it develops resistance to improved awareness and understanding that would correct it.

    The resistance to improving awareness and understanding of Climate Science and the identified corrections of what has been developed is strong in many supposedly more advanced nations. That resistance could be because of resistance to giving up developed perceptions of status relative to others. But the differences of behaviour among the leadership of the more developed nations could also indicate nations where Harmful Indoctrination has been more dominant than Helpful Education.

    That raises the radical possibility that the USA is a nation that has been more powerfully incorrectly Indoctrinating portions of its population than China has through the past 30 years, if national response to understanding the climate science issue is an indication of Education vs. Indoctrination (note that Chinese society also has a high 'authority' value component).

    There are of course, many cases where current Chinese society lacks advancement towards sustainable development, such as the lack of a welfare program - a big gap from the understanding of the need for every person to be helped to live a basic decent life. Tragically, some in the USA (and almost all of the small government proponents world-wide), think that a good way to compete with nations like China is to regress to their level of social safety-net (or other leadership actions), rather than Be Better (more helpful - less harmful) than they are and push for them, encourage them, to Be Better (more helpful - less harmful).

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  6. OPOF @55.

    Yes its hard to see an argument against being helpful that doesn't make a person look obnoxious!

    One thing. China does have an emerging socal welfare system of a sort. I read it somewhere last year. "Social Welfare in China" on Wikipedia is interesting and covers some of it.

    America is indoctrinated in individualism. I strongly support individual diversity and non conformity, but individualism taken to the extremes in America is causing some obvious problems.

    But the greater problem is the complete split between what the majority of the public wants and what congress etc deliver. America has become an oligarchy.

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