353.2 Global Risk Report | Scoins.net | DJS

353.2 Global Risk Report

Is there a general argument that we should be 'doing something' about climate change? What is the greatest threat to our world – what is that we are doing that most threatens the continuation of the world as it is and as we would like it to be? I found an argument that says the threat is capitalism, [33], which might be called affluence and that in consequence we can only achieve sustainability through drastic lifestyle changes.

Such wonderfully large statements imply a wealth of other argument. I question whether climate change is the same as sustainability, to the extent that I'd like that explained at some length, so that perhaps it becomes an agreed conclusion. In the context of demanding change, what properties of wealth, affluence and capitlaism are those which work against (for want of a better word) sustainability? I have no doubt this is, in general, short-term thinking and greed, the chase for immediate personal advantage and other things that provide good reasons for mankind to continue to behave more like the lemming than any rational being. But then we have only rarely exhibited rationality.

The graph to the right exhibits correlation but not causation, connecting growth of GDP with CO₂. References to the need for a 'reset of capitalism' call for changes to taxes and policies, moving the 'market' to pursue fairer outcomes for all and a stakeholder economy. I'm not at all sure any of those has meaning when a politician says the words. This is much too vague and, like explaining that the global crisis is huge, leaves no action for the little people while at the very same time leaving no trust that the hands of politicians are in any way 'safe'. If we are to in any sense 'fix' the problem—whichever problem you perceive—then it is we, the little people, who will end up paying for it. Therefore any change requires our wholehearted support and that, in turn calls for us to agree that inequality of advantage (at some level) is what it is that has to change. I can readily agree that 'building back better' is a good idea and sounds wonderful; I am happy to agree that this means we need very much better processes and systems, but while we don't have any clear explanation what the new purpose of such systems and processes is to be, we cannot make any beginning. Thus, without having had any open and wide-ranging conversation about whatever 'this' is really about, we remain very likely to fall just as fast as we can into the old, bad habits.

Reduce inequality; yes please. How do we do that? What is it that we measure as being unequal? What might that mean for me personally? For my locality? How is this going to be paid for? What else has to change to make these inequalities (whatever they are) reduce? What is it that is being compared and declared unequal – and just how unequal does it have to be to matter?

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