Three Challenges for Planet3.0


At Kloor’s, Dan Hughes provides the following interesting challenge for Planet3.0:

I have a couple of questions.

(1)  Will representatives from the less-developed world, those who are looking froward to an un-compromised fulfillment of their future needs, be among the invitees?

(2)  Can these people be correctly and truly represented by people who have personally, on their individual basis, decided to experience a state of development that could not under any circumstances be sustainable on a world-wide basis.

I suspect that every aspect of the ‘carbon footprint’ of every invitee far exceeds that which could be sustained on a world-wide basis. Starting with the salary, which is solely carbon-based, for the work they do and the choice of food, housing, transportation, and consumption of products and services that are not essential for life. What percentage of the world-wide population, for example, could the Earth’s systems support if every one made even one trip to an International Conference.

Invitees under (1) above could provide insight into the vast chasm between The Talk and The Walk.

In summary, has the level of resource consumption that is world-wide sustainable been quantified and do those who advocate sustainability meet this requirement?

From another direction,  my posting at my old blog:

Trying to be both editor and reporter at a site with at least the intent of reaching a broader audience than this one has already been revealing. The nature of a site is, to some extent, as much about what it excludes as about what it includes. The blogger just writes whatever he pleases. The editor has to consider what will build the community and what will splinter it.

What’s more, for the first time ever, I have information on “background”; that is, a source really wanted to tell me something, on condition that I not explicitly tell the audience. It’s hard to explain why they would do that. I find it sort of weird, really. And now there is the question of whether to betray the source and my reputation, or to tell only half the story, or to let the story drop. This changes journalism from an exercise in nonfiction writing to an exercise in politics.

The editor’s temptation not to rile people is pretty palpable. I find myself suddenly inclined to “safe” stories. The key to making Planet3.0 work is to improve the quality of disagreement. So being a chickenshit won’t work.

On the other hand, I see plenty to criticize on both “sides”. This is also a problem! Criticizing mainstream science makes you a tool of the denial industry, and ultimately an instrument of the decline of civilization and the biosphere. Avoiding that is the whole point. Refusing to criticize it makes you a voice in a tame chorus, incapable of saying anything that isn’t explicitly in the interest

The point of view of the scientist is to advance the truth. It’s really hard under the circumstances when politics and science get tangled up. My guiding light will continue to be to get the maximum amount of truth visible to my intended audience. I think it may be the case that doing this will lose me more friends among my allies than it gains me respect among my enemies. This is a sign, I think, of how low we have sunk. I will have to brace myself for it.

Much as I do not want to give attention to the ridiculous obsessions of the bunkosphere, I also don’t think that making Planet3.0 into another also-ran pop science site is enough.

There are basically a bunch of approaches around today:

  • tell everything that makes the future look scary, and nothing else
  • tell everything that makes the people looking scared ridiculous, and nothing else
  • tell all the above without choosing any of them
  • science and engineering fandom, repeating press releases
  • get into the thick of the policy, trivializing or ignoring science and engineering

If we’re going to get anywhere, we need to close the loop. The venue we need is not afraid to draw the big picture.

yields this from Rich Puchalsky:

You know my long-term answer to this long-term question of yours: if you’re not doing science or popularizing science (“also-ran pop science blog”, etc.), then it makes no sense to pretend that you aren’t taking a political position.

I haven’t really looked at Planet 3.0 at all because I’ve been busy with Occupy Wall Street. You have to figure out how that kind of thing impinges on what you do. If the answer is “not at all”, then yeah, I don’t understand what people would find valuable about the site.

And on the same thread, Steve Bloom asks point-blank:

Michael, I’d been meaning to ask you to do a little compare/contrast with the evolution and current roles of Climate Progress and InsideClimate (the former SolveClimate — see here. Possibly there are some others in the same general category, although I can’t think of any off-hand. But given those two examples, how will Planet 3.0 be different?

Good questions all.

First: having identified a sustainable mean footprint, is an individual ethically required to respect it?

Second: every publication or non-publication is effectively a political choice. If a publication’s objective is to attract the best ideas from all sides, how does it thread the needle between giving offense to all on the one hand, and being dull as pablum on the other? Is this a lost art or has it always been nearly impossible?

Third: Planet3.0 is not the only recent effort to apply the internet to the sustainability problem. What are some of the others (this ties in to our attempt to crowdsource a portal), and what value can Planet3.0 add in a space where we share goals but frankly have to compete with other established sites for attention?

I’ll tell you what I think but I’d like to know what you all think first…

 

UPDATE:

1) Hughes is partly right. If after being convinced that our behavior is unsustainable, we consume like everybody else, our credibility is indeed weakened. Yet ostentatious self-denial is another way one can be criticized. John McCarthy always used to refer to greenies as “self-righteous”, and I’d be hard put to say he didn’t have a point. But that’s a lot less compelling of an ethical argument than that you ought to behave the way you expect others to behave.

I’ve heard academics go on about their Prius and their new home insulation; when asked how many times a year they travel by airplane to conferences, they generally say “that’s different”, or “academic use is small”, or “aviation has a small impact according to total emissions”, somehow forgetting the idea of a footprint altogether.

Here’s one real problem with self-denial. It puts responsible people at yet another disadvantage to irresponsible people. If it takes me a week to travel where they can go in a day, they can talk to more people. If they have a bigger, plusher vehicle when they get there, they will be more refreshed when we get to the meeting. We waste time hanging clothes on a clothesline; they get the dry cleaner to attend to them. So to the extent that we are in a competitive situation with people who don’t want to adopt our ideas, who have money to burn and no intellectual reputation to defend, it’s foolish to give them more advantages still.

But it also stymies recruitment. If a person believes that the instant he is convinced that there is a sustainability problem he is obligated to live the rest of his life in the back of a beat up incense-laden VW van listening to boring music and pretending to enjoy tofu casseroles, he is less likely to be convinced. That is, there is an implicit disincentive to the belief being set up.

It makes no sense, on the other hand, to suggest an “After you my dear Alphonse” sort of a dance either. We are stuck in this world, and we need to start gardually steering it toward sanity. Sudden jumps that exclude us from participation won’t work. If we are to become the change we want to see, we have to do the change to sustainability in a way thrills us. And in fact, some people manage this.

2) This site has a simple, two-point ideology.

First, there is an ethical requirement to preserve the world. Each generation must pass the world to its successors in better shape than they found it. Call it the principle of sustenance.

(There have been generations that have been more or less successful. To my dismayed surprise, we boomers have been a particularly awful generation on this axis, among the worst of all time. But we’re not done for yet. Maybe we can turn this around in our later years.)

Second, in at least the respect of carbon dioxide accumulation, the evidence is compelling that this currently violates the principle of sustenance, and increasingly so with every passing year. Accordingly, we have to find some way to stop behaving in this way.

We are not especially interested in repeating the baseline proofs of this endlessly here. Readers are referred to IPCC WG I documents, the Copenhagen Diagnosis document, and numerous other summaries for nonspecialists.

What to do about this quandary requires an immense effort at an immense policy consensus. Rather than throwing our hands up in despair, we choose to pitch in to try to build one.

But that is the full extent of the politics we profess so far. I personally am always most enthusiastic about the least radical solutions. Others disagree. But I think the longer we procrastinate, the more radical the solution must be. I am convinced that “business as usual” is an immensely unlikely scenario. We really want people to advocate dramatically different approaches to this situation, and toward that, we seek to provide the news stream that is missing in the media, and the intelligent conversation that seems to be verging on extinction in generalist settings.

3) There are a huge number of alternative sites popping up and vanishing all the time. In the end, everyone trying to get us off the damned dime is an ally, and in the end there is only one internet. To be sure, I think a lot of them are dull and predictable, and I find this infuriating, because the subject matter is endlessly and amazingly fascinating, which takes some of the edge off the astonishingly grim and stupid prognosis we live with nowadays.

Most of the pther sites are funded and this one isn’t. Maybe in the end that will prove an advantage.

(We’ll be set up to take small donations eventually, if/when traffic warrants.)

As for the specific one that Steve points to, while it claims interest in the big picture, its focus is on the political machinations in a particular country in a particular season. To them, that may be slow news. But I know some geologists who consider “a glacial pace” to be a poetic simile for “very very fast”.

 

Comments:

  1. Jesus Christ, just make some god damn decisions about what you want topics you want to address here and fucking go with it. You've set up a blog supposedly dealing with sustainability here and you're asking about what other sustainability sites are already out there? Haven't you explored that already?

  2. Somewhat, but there are a lot of sites out there and one of the things I am trying to do is pull together a directory of what there is, and what to pay attention to.

    More to the point, though, I am trying to recruit a community, which is rather a different beast than saying take it or leave it.

    If you don't like that question, take one of the others. One of the services I promise we will provide is asking awkward questions.

  3. I suggest you start by asking the AGW establishment for the software used to build some of the models that have been used to support AGW. For the other side, shed some light on websites like the Heartlan Institute who tend to publicize cherry-picked research to drive their agenda.

    Remember, if both sides hate you, you are probably doing something right!

  4. If I sent you the source of CCSM3, what would you do with it? Here you go. Have fun.

    I do not agree that there are two "sides". There is science which has many sides. And there is fake science, that tries to reduce everything to two sides. But those aren't two sides. Those are two different things.

  5. Thinking about these things is a bit beyond me, but here's what I think: I'd make a division between problems and solutions.

    You make an inventory of the problems (categories), for instance the one on agriculture you just posted. You show the evidence for the problems, external problems (environment), internal problems (societal). A lot of people aren't sure if problems are real or don't know how to quantify them. Show them they're real and quantify them (how much warming, how much top soil erosion, how much toxins in the Arctic). That's the doom and gloom part.

    To balance that out you provide pieces on solutions, and of course a vision for the future. What do we want? More importantly, what do we need? How much, or how little, is necessary for a good life, that is in harmony with natural limits? How do we get there, as an individual and as a group?

    Let's start with the problems first. How many are there? Does each deserve its own category?

  6. How about this MT for starters... write about some of your personal experiences.

    Each time, pick a slice of your life, and write about it.

    I liked it when you wrote about your trip to Beeville to investigate the bogus "Al Gore gave award to young climate skeptic" story; actually, I also liked it a bit when you wrote about the corporate pizzas that the oil company folks like to give out (even if I don't agree with your opinions thereof) . They're original, and they're truthful, and they don't give undue and undeserved attention to the ravings of cranks.

    But anyway, first and foremost, be truthful. You have to think of the audience of this blog (or aggregate blog) as people who suitably open-minded, and are interested in truth, logic, reason, and science. If you assume at the outset -- which you seem to be doing -- that your audience are going to be just a bunch of crypto-left-anarchists or crypto-Ayn-Randists interested in nothing but ideology, then you'll never get anywhere. (And yes, I'll find that sort of assumption very personally insulting.)

    -- frank

  7. I suggest that you start living the carbon neutral life you think everyone else should live, and telling your readers and AGW compatriots to do the same. Practice what you preach.

    Until those who push the cult of AGW actually practice what they preach, it is nothing more than a BS political agenda.

  8. I think Dan Hughes' second question:
    "Can these people be correctly and truly represented by people who have personally, on their individual basis, decided to experience a state of development that could not under any circumstances be sustainable on a world-wide basis."
    is unfair. Being born into a hgihly 'developed' society is not a choice and it's very difficult to separate yourself from the unsustainable elements of that society without removing yourself from that society in its entirety - at which point your potential to influence the course of that society is much reduced.

    A commitment to contraction and convergence seems acceptable enough to me.

  9. Not the sort of comment I would ordinarily approve. But people should be aware that this question is commonly voiced out there by our enemies and gets plenty of traction. What's more, it's not an empty challenge.

  10. Good questions. Not very closely related, though. But an interesting meta-approach is in your comment: "I'm trying to recruit a community."

    Interestingly, when you drew a question from Dave Hughes' post, you picked only one part - about our (the host community) ethical obligations, rather than the equally interesting (and relevant to the community part) question of whether people involuntarily living sustainably would be welcome), and if not, whether we the unsustainable can represent them.

    I am a co-author of the Greenhouse Development Rights framework, which (though it is really about burden-sharing rather than emissions trajetories) has taken as our "model" an annual 6% decline in GHG emissions in the north, with a commitment of equal scale to supporting emissions reductions and carbon-free energy expansion in the developing world. This is a scale of challenge that advocates of such a policy on a global level could in fact quite reasonably embrace - for a few years. How many years at 6% before you can't take that international flight?

  11. On a deeper note, this "practice what you preach" talking point ignores a crucial factor: that technologies -- including renewal energy -- which are deployed in-the-large are able to enjoy economy of scale, which is much harder if the technology's relegated to small-scale individual choices.

    If I were to look at the ramifications of this "practice what you preach" challenge, factors like this will be part of the discussion.

    -- frank

  12. I live more of a "carbon neutral" lifestyle than you will ever know in a lifetime of dreaming Teach. And you know what, most people involved in this issue do as well. The fact is, you use such claims as an excuse to hind behind so that you don't have to feel so bad about doing nothing. Even if every single person who discusses global warming in the public sphere were to be angelic in everything they did, you would find some other excuse that would satisfy your need to be in denial. Don't try to bullshit people OK?

  13. But MT ... you used "both 'sides'" in your own post? Are there sides or not?

    Politicized as it has all become, the many (in)sides of science find themselves drawn together in conflict with what you call "fake science". This raises all kinds of problems, since many people who were previously (and may still be) "inside" (think Lindzen) are also effectively collaborating strategically with groups who not only are not inside science, but would be quite happy to destroy much of it.

    I'll be very interested if you (MT) start actually making enemies among real scientists. There will of course be sustainability advocates who don't like the flavor here. But hopefully that can be productive discourse?

    ps I loved the "here's the code, have fun!" part. Have you ever posted that link at WUWT?

  14. Paul, I did put "sides" in scare quotes.

    I prefer to think of the two groups as different cultures, not different sides. This is what makes for postnormalcy. In discussions within science, science remains science, but in interactions with the public, science becomes a proxy for politics.

    It is the people who inject something other than curiosity into the system that break the science. Of course, this is inevitable when the stakes get high.

    While such people come from both "sides" of the politics, they don't come from the actual real scientific community, which is still having great fun doing science, at least those of them who manage to stay inside the ever-shrinking cloister.

    There is a "pox on both your houses" view of scientists, very different from the Kloor/Revkin anti-extremist position.

    I like Joe Romm but I expect he will come down on Planet3.0 like a ton of bricks some day when I step out of line. Frank here is constantly going back and forth on whether I am a good guy.

    I don't think Schmidt or Hansen or Pierrehumbert will respond to us like that, though. It is the scientists' genuinely skeptical view of the world, tolerant of some ideas that the world thinks outlandish and impatient with others that are generally accepted, that is underrepresented in the media. While the science blog world has moved things in the right direction, it hasn't gone far enough in reaching out to the general public.

    Not everybody is hungry for better, but enough people are that this kind of service is needed.

  15. MT, as I pointed out, you won't get anywhere by assuming at the outset that everyone (except Hansen, Pierrehumbert, etc.) reading this blog is either a crypto-left-anarchist or a crypto-right-Randian who's only interested in ideology.

    When you do that, you're effectively telling the whole world, "Hear ye! I, who am a practising climate scientist, doth operate by the pure light of reason! And I hereby proclaim that all ye who are not practising climate scientists, are operating by the ignorant superstition of ideology! Therefore, none of you shall deign to criticize what I write, for thy criticisms will be but the feeble product of a feeble ideology!"

    Is that seriously the message you're trying to send to the whole world? Because it is the message that you're now sending.

    So anyway. When I say that something you wrote is untrue, then rather than assuming that I'm trying to spread anarcho-syndicalist cooties into your brain, you might want to consider the possibility that what you wrote is actually untrue.

    -- frank

  16. I promise to do that. And the same back.

    So, what you just wrote is wrong. I never said anything of the sort.

    The issue is what to run. If something is embarrassing to the political good-guys, how to treat it. Also, if something is embarrassing to the scientific community how to treat that.

    Political writers run everything through the lens of what advances their agenda. The press have their peculiar ways which nobody outside their community likes.

    Somebody needs to have the agenda of chasing the truth, which is what journalists were supposed to be for.

  17. MT, you repeatedly hinted as much, as when you said,

    My guiding light will continue to be to get the maximum amount of truth visible to my intended audience. I think it may be the case that doing this will lose me more friends among my allies than it gains me respect among my enemies.

    You're suggesting that your "friends" and "allies" are mostly not interested in the plain truth. Methinks you severely underestimate the intelligence of your target audience, and again, frankly I find this personally insulting.

    -- frank

  18. Thanks MT:

    The issue is what to run. If something is embarrassing to the political good-guys, how to treat it. Also, if something is embarrassing to the scientific community how to treat that.

    When the UK ICO announced that the CRU had breached certain regulations (q. v.), I was one of those who called for the issue to be tackled head on.

    (My reasoning was that it's better for us to talk about it forthright, than to wait for the disinformers to get around to it and spin their own narrative.)

    -- frank

  19. I wasn't thinking of you personally.

    But to suggest that there isn't political pressure to play up certain things and play down others is unrealistic, and to suggest that there are no social consequences for stepping out of line is too. At least that's my experience.

    For instance, there's a paper that makes an alarming case with a transparently wrong statistical argument. Eschenbach has already called them out on it on Watts. Should I join in the fun? Should I coauthor a paper with Eschenbach? If the journal editor gets all defensive should I join in with Mosher saying it is really not reassuring to see you get all defensive? (This is a hypothetical combining two real incidents.)

    When Mosher gets something right should I back him up? Will that gain or lose me credibility? Influence? WIll people I like stop calling me?

    Since I hope to build up enough of an audience here that at least Dan and I can make a modest living at it, and hopefully our authors too, will that sort of thing threaten our audience?

    These are real tradeoffs.

  20. Frank: Speaking of which, how’s the Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp. et al. lawsuit going?

    It ought to fail. A couple of years ago I looked at energy use in Kivalina. It came in at just over 6 tonnes of CO2 per person per year not including fuel used in trips away from the village or in delivering fuel and other supplies to the village or in CO2 embodied in their houses and goods or a share of Alaska's commercial and industrial CO2 output. Perhaps the Kivalinans don't deserve to be assigned a share of the latter (which is enormous) but they do need to be assigned CO2 for fuel used by the barges and planes that deliver stuff to the village, for their personal travel, and for what they get up to when away from home. I couldn't pin down allowances for those but it's likely that the average Kivalinan has a personal (i.e. n/i a share of Alaska's industry and commerce) carbon footprint in the teens or higher, which would make them among the world's worst warmers. That is, they themselves are responsible for melting the sea-ice that leaves their coast vulnerable to storms.

    Then there's the siting of the village. As I recall, Old Kivalina was on the inside of the barrier island or on the mainland fronting the lagoon. Very sensible. Barrier islands shift. The village moved to the outside of the island because the US govt built (from memory) a post office and then a school there. So if they're unhappy about the erosion of their barrier island, perhaps they should sue the US govt for enticing them to move there.

    Then there's inept coastal defences.

    But I've gone on long enough (and might have started confusing Kivalina with Shishmaref).

  21. MT:

    You're suggesting that your "friends" and "allies" are mostly not interested in the plain truth.

    I wasn't thinking of you personally.

    That makes it even worse.

    When Mosher gets something right should I back him up?

    If he's right. But when lots of us inform you that he's wrong, you should seriously listen to us, instead of immediately retreating into 'oh they just hate Mosher for being a non-socialist' mode.

    (And by the way, Mosher is not like Julian Assange.)

    And when you write things like

    John Abraham has coauthored a piece on political site The Hill with Democrat congresswoman Betty McCollum. [...] I wish, though, that they had not coauthored the piece. [...]

    By publishing a piece where a scientist and a Democrat speak together, their article, however cogent, reinforces the incorrect idea that climate science is an interest group with a political alliance.

    it just makes your commitment to truth sound really hollow.

    Consider: someone wrote something truthful, cogent, and well-reasoned, but you didn't like it because 'oh noes she has Democratic cooties!' Is that what "truth" means to you?

    -- frank

  22. I'm trying to engage everyone on the what's in/what's out question, but I have a strong opinion on this one. I emphatically do not want to discuss whether Mosher is like Julian Assange here. But Mosher gets last licks now if he wants them.

    ===

    Consider: someone wrote something truthful, cogent, and well-reasoned, but you didn’t like it because ‘oh noes she has Democratic cooties!’ Is that what “truth” means to you?

    This is a more interesting question. Certainly my own sympathies were more with the Democrats than the Republicans before I even heard of the greenhouse effect. So why should this bother me? It's simple. The linchpin of the world's future is the American redneck skeptic. This is a culture that is genuinely flawed and genuinely misunderstood. (As a climate scientist I can empathize!) And not only are do they have a sort of veto power over the whole world right now, they also benefit directly from oil and gas, especially fracking. Yet these are the people sine qua non. Any consensus in the US about energy has to include them. And any energy consensus in the world has to include the US.

    It is fine for the Democratic politician to say what she will, especially if it is approximately right.

    It is not, in my opinion, fine, or at least, not obviously fine, for someone setting himself up as a spokesman for science to pose with her. It paints exactly the picture of climate science that Morano wants to pain: a wing of the Democratic party doing all those things Republicans think Democrats do for sheer cussedness (raise takes, write regulations, enforce rules).

    I'm tired of climate scientists going out of their way to confirm the prejudices of their enemies, prejudices they don't even take the trouble to understand. I can imagine the shouts of glee in Morano's crowd that day.

  23. MT, if a statement is true, then it's true, no matter who says it, or whom they say it with. That's how truth works.

    The linchpin of the world's future is the American redneck skeptic.

    But why would you even care about this, if all you're concerned about is the actual truth?

    In trying to figure out the truth, you're now throwing in a lot of considerations that have nothing to do with the truth.

    -- frank

  24. I think it was Monbiot who pointed out the only morally consistent position in a globalised world is to be amoral. The rest of us have to do what we can and laugh at anyone trying to use our inevitable inconsistency as a stick to beat us with. It just makes for good WUWT headlines, is all: "greenie uses petrol!"

  25. And there are 'unsustainable elements of that society' that are very difficult to deal with on an individual basis. Having just moved house, we really notice the difference. There's a train line!

    Sure we had solar hot water at our previous house. We did that as individuals, from our own resources, 20 years ago. There's no conceivable way we could have installed a train service. We did live near a bus route, but we had to wait until the last few years before that service was frequent enough and reliable enough to use to get to the city for anything other than ordinary to and from work travel. And we could not have organised that as individuals. There was no service of any kind for shopping or getting to our office or other local activities. So the car was our mode of transport.

    Like it or not, sustainable living is about more than growing your own fruit and veg and saving rainwater. It's about politics.

  26. The "walking the walk" argument is often used as a stick to attack those who signal a certain problem.

    The thing is, the physical reality of the problem is not the least bit dependent on the actions (or lack thereof) of those who are trying to raise awareness about the problem.

    If you can only address a problem when you’re pure as the driven snow, than no problem will ever be addressed.

    Projecting how the messenger should behave, and then dismissing them because they don’t, is sometimes a little too convenient of an excuse to dismiss the message I think.

    And if you do act in perceived accordance with your message, you're likely to be dismissed as an activist.

    See also http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/there-are-at-least-as-many-walks-as-talks/

  27. > The “walking the walk” argument is often used as a stick to attack those who signal a certain problem.

    Indeed, it can be classified as a tu quoque, or an appeal to hypocrisy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

    There are legitimate and illegimate uses. It depends if what one does matters to what one says.

  28. I like Neven's approach of separating the problems and possible solutions.
    I may be representative of a portion of the demographic that you are trying to reach. I've been interested in climate change for less than one year, am alarmingly aware of what the future portends, and am at a loss to see any way out.
    If any solution that does not see us retreating to a pre-literate hunter-gatherer stage seems viable please inform me.

  29. eh, tu quoque?

    Thanks, I didn't know there was a formal (even legal) term!

    Clearly as a logical matter it is indeed a fallacy. But the strength of the move doesn't really depend on the (fallacious) dismissal of the factual claim; rather on the implied "who are you to tell us we should do X if you don't do it yourself?" The fact that lots of X's are, as pointed out by adelady and others, not under an individual's control, doesn't change the fact that many X's are. And while individuals doing those Xs may not be sufficient to solve the problem, the perception that "we" are asking others to make sacrifices we aren't consistently making ourselves does, rather unsurprisingly, make the force of the argument much weaker.

  30. Much obliged, Paul!

    History has it that the first to use that defence was Julius Caesar. If my memory serves me well, it was a bit late to debate against his detractors:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Et_tu,_Brute%3F

    * * *

    I believe there might be a some point in asking for a person to live up to his own standards. Spokepersons, for instance, are paid to implement the virtues they're trying to sell. This kind of argument sells well to a public that has an inclination for moral fortitude.

    Nevertheless, as you recognize perfectly well, this peters when the point of an argument is not about the behavior of one specific individual, but about collective action. Nobody by herself can prevent the dumping of CO2 in the atmosphere. One could try to become a role-model by not consuming anything, but this would make little sense except symbolically.

    Unless, of course, that person really starts to walk on air...


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