Skip to main content

in a piece titled Interests, Ideology and Climate in today's New York Times.

His opening paragraph provides a frame:

There are three things we know about man-made global warming. First, the consequences will be terrible if we don’t take quick action to limit carbon emissions. Second, in pure economic terms the required action shouldn’t be hard to take: emission controls, done right, would probably slow economic growth, but not by much. Third, the politics of action are nonetheless very difficult.
He does not think that the monetary stakes are as big a reason as do many others - although obviously people whose income comes from carbon-based fuels are playing a major role in the opposition.  Yet even for some of them Krugman thinks it is less the matter of money than it is that of ideology.  As he writes,
What makes rational action on climate so hard is something else — a toxic mix of ideology and anti-intellectualism.
For example, there simply are not that many jobs in coal.  In that industry, as production has gone up employment has plummeted , with most coal now produced by strip-mining and mountaintop removal.    Coal-mining has lost 2/3 of the 250,000 jobs it had in the 1970s.  As Krugman notes,
At this point, coal mining accounts for only one-sixteenth of 1 percent of overall U.S. employment; shutting down the whole industry would eliminate fewer jobs than America lost in an average week during the Great Recession of 2007-9.

Or put it this way: The real war on coal, or at least on coal workers, took place a generation ago, waged not by liberal environmentalists but by the coal industry itself. And coal workers lost.

So what are the real reasons for the strong opposition?  How about ideology and anti-intellectualism?

And what if some of the biggest players in the energy industry are driven more by ideology than by economics?

And what if they use the wealth they have to try to drive the political agenda to their ideology?

What if that agenda is Libertarian and their intellectual hero is Ayn Rand?

Yes, I am talking about the brothers Koch.

Please keep reading.

Yes, I am

There are two back to back paragraphs, one long and one relatively short, in which Krugman lays out his thesis:

Well, think about global warming from the point of view of someone who grew up taking Ayn Rand seriously, believing that the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest is always good and that government is always the problem, never the solution. Along come some scientists declaring that unrestricted pursuit of self-interest will destroy the world, and that government intervention is the only answer. It doesn’t matter how market-friendly you make the proposed intervention; this is a direct challenge to the libertarian worldview.

And the natural reaction is denial — angry denial. Read or watch any extended debate over climate policy and you’ll be struck by the venom, the sheer rage, of the denialists.

What is key for Krugman's analysis is his observation of how this connects with the unfortunate strong strand of anti-intellectualism in American culture.  A parallel column on today's op ed page of the Times is by Charles M. Blow who examines recent polling data which shows a substantial portion of the American populace still takes Genesis literally.  Such an attitude - which believes in Young Earth Creationism  (the world only a few millenia old with man created in current form by a Divine being) - is already hostile to a science that talks about Big Bang Explosions and Evolution, both demonstrable by scientific evidence.  

Krugman puts the pieces together in this paragraph:

It’s not really surprising that so many right-wing politicians and pundits quickly turned to conspiracy theories, to accusations that thousands of researchers around the world were colluding in a gigantic hoax whose real purpose was to justify a big-government power grab. After all, right-wingers never liked or trusted scientists in the first place.
Remember that David Koch was the Libertarian candidate for Vice President in 1980.  It does not matter what his personal beliefs may be about science  (h has funded a wing at the Museum of Natural History in New York) or that he graduated from MIT (where he still holds the career record of 12 ppg for the basketball team).  He understands the way anti-scientism can be used to fuel a political pushback against science as a mean of undermining support for government regulation.  That the science clashes with his economic interests gives him and his brother the motivation to use their wealth to try to shape the political processes.  

It is as toxic a brew as are the chemicals used in fracking, a process that science is increasingly showing to be causing earthquakes as well as polluting  ground water and poisoning the soil and the people where it is being done.  

Of course, even with their wealth the Koch Brothers are not the sole drivers of the opposition to science and the obstructionism against taking meaningful action on climate change.  Then there are the politicians.  Some, like Paul Ryan, are truly ideologues - after all, Ryan has lauded the work of Ayn Rand and used to give her work to his staffers.  There are others whose personal beliefs are irrelevant, because they have made clear their intent to pander to a strand of American thought, particularly in the South but also elsewere especially in many small towns and rural areas, that remains hostile to science as a threat to their religious beliefs, people who are easily manipulated politically against what is often their own best interests economically.  I would put Marco Rubio in this class, and probably Rand Paul as well.  Ted Cruz, given his father, may well believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.  That does not matter.

What matters is the end result, which is that to combat global climate change we must deal with an opposition  of "economic ideology reinforced by hostility to science."

To that observation by Krugman I would add the explosive nature of raw political ambition by some seeking the Republican nomination for President, and others who seek to keep or obtain Republican support for other offices, federal, state and local. People such as these are more than happy to work in collusion with the likes of the Brothers Koch, whose libertarianism and greed are inextricably interwoven with their wealth being derived from carbon-based fuels -  it is perhaps worth noting that their various economic interests are among those most likely to benefit from Keystone XL, that they are already persistently in violation of current environmental regulation, and have a hostility to any government that might restrict their freedom of action learned at the knees of a father who helped establish the John Birch Society.

Krugman concludes that to fight global warming we have a need

to overcome pride and willful ignorance, which is hard indeed.
That is true, but perhaps incomplete.

We have to overcome greed - for power as well as money.

We have to overcome prejudice and deliberate misinformation, fueled by the wealth of those whose political as well as economic interests put them in opposition to much scientific thought, and which motivates them to try to "buy" scientific and economic "research."

Most of all, we have to overcome a part of American Exceptionalism that is very unfortunate, and it is the populist strand that is so easily riled up that has fueled the KKK, hostility to science, prejudice against people of other faiths and other skin colors, those whose ideas of human relations would justify bigotry and discrimination towards those whose sexual orientation and expression is different than their interpretation of the Bible.

It is unfortunate that we place so much emphasis on wealth in this country, because that gives those who have it outsized influence upon shaping the politics and the beliefs of the nation in a way that is harmful not merely to America's democracy and economics, but to the future of the world.

Krugman provides a useful analysis.

It is a good frame through which we can examine more closely the opposition to taking meaningful action on global warming.


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I don't think it's so much a matter of being (12+ / 0-)

    anti intellect, as suffering from one or more cognitive deficits. Some brains simply don't get connections. So, they don't understand the relationship between cause and effect or the difference between cause and consequence. Some likely don't even perceive that the sequential order of events is in any way significant.
    If these people are greedy, it's likely because their needs are never satisfied. So, they are left wanting and, as happens with most repetitious behavior, their neediness turns into an obsession. That they are not satisfied because they cannot be satisfied, much as a fish can't be satisfied with clean air, simply doesn't occur to them. Or most of us, for that matter.
    It takes a real effort to imagine what it must be like to exist in a state of dissatisfaction. Talk about insecure.

    Now, the question is how come these people seem to exercise such exordinate influence on public discourse. The answer is, I think, rather simple. These people don't do anything but talk from morning to night. So, they end up monopolizing the public conversation. It's their only option because they have no other practical talents. If they could create or even recreate, they would.
    The story is told about David Koch that he got to the age of fifty and suddenly realized he had no heir. So, he set about getting a wife and an heir. His reputation as a billionaire probably didn't hurt, but, if the species had to rely on males accumulating lots of stuff before they can reproduce, it would likely go defunct.

    Is there really a big difference between the Kochs turning coal into gold and Rapunzel turning straw into gold?

    by hannah on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:23:58 AM PDT

    •  Our Brains Were Not Evolved for Complex Civilizatn (12+ / 0-)

      It's our civilized system that's defective, it's built on a common sense that operates in tribes and clans not billions of people.

      We have one basic system, whereas we have billions of individuals with these mental defects you're talking about, from the perspective of our systems being sane.

      If on the other hand we allow ourselves to doubt the system, to look for ways that it's maladaptive to this crisis, we have a problem that's far easier to explain and far simpler --if not easier-- to address.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:15:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are we fine tuned to wreck things ??? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Planets, for example?

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

        by waterstreet2013 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:34:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe (5+ / 0-)

          we're fine tuned to delude ourselves rather than face hard truths that take REAL work and changes to our lifestyle.  Where I live, our reefs are dying in some places.  A friend assured me that it was all part of God's plan and that HE'd make us even more glorious reefs.  Yeah, right!  I'm following the scientific study to find out what's causing it and how WE can fix it---we probably caused it to begin with--pesticide and sewage run-off, for example.  Must be nice to hand every problem to God and happily skip on down life's divinely smooth road. La di da, la di da.

          Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

          by sendtheasteroid on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:40:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Coupla problems: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pixie5, acornweb

            -- Human selection moved from survival/food/sex/raising kids to killing other humans in battle.

            -- Scarcity flipped to abundance. For billions of us.

            All those thousands of advanced-weapons battles skewed the male population toward violence. And abundance is like eating Big Macs every day.

            Everybody has stories of abundance trashing environment. What communism did to Poland and parts of Russia sits at the bottom of the barrel.

            God ??? The Fundie's version of God wouldn't care either way. Fundies are pretty much in denial -- their model requires total Free Will, not Calvinist pre-destination -- so there is no Plan.

            But they talk about God's Plan anyway.

            "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

            by waterstreet2013 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 04:12:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sunscreen is one innocuous cause... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It blocks sunlight from getting to the coral, just the same way it protects our skin from the sun's radiation.

            I don't know if that is THE ONLY CAUSE or the MAIN CAUSE but that is one problem. And with many pollutants put into the environment we can replace them with natural ingredients but in this case I do not think it would matter.

            I am not sure what the solution would be to that problem, since most of us have to wear sunscreen at least some of the time.

            But yeah I find it amazing that some Christians seem to believe that God would not allow any permanent problems when we trash the earth. God gave us 'dominion" and all that crap.

            Maybe they should worry that God is PISSED that his followers EXPECT HIM to clean up their messes! I don't recall that in the contract he had with Adam and Eve!! (snark)

            Another problem is that WAY TOO MANY of these people are convinced that Jesus is returning soon. That means that even if pollution and global warming are a problem, it doesn't make any difference to them.

            Never mind that in EVERY GENERATION since Jesus died they saw 'SIGNS" of his return. The current dread/anticipation is nothing new.

            If billionaires can afford to spend millions of dollars so that they can avoid paying taxes and fair wages, then they *can afford* to pay taxes and fair wages!

            by Pixie5 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 06:19:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  More, More (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'd like you to expand further. I like your reasoning.

        The problem with history is that something happened the day before.

        by Theoleman on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 01:52:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Anchoring (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        heatherphillips315, rabrock, acornweb

        The problem with the Koch's and their ilk is that they only think in black and white terms, and they believe that they deserve to own everything.  If you suggest any sort of compromise that considers the needs of other people, from their perspective that means you want them to lose.  In their eyes, if you propose compromise and they propose themselves getting it all, then any middle ground is not a compromise.  It means your ideology won and theirs lost.  That is their view even if they get things 95% their way, with only a 5% concession to the opposing side.  They see that as a 100% loss, and that is an eventuality that they will fight tooth and nail to prevent.

    •  It's about culture and identity politics, period (7+ / 0-)

      Culturally and socially privileged white men refusing to yield power to others, on all fronts, be they environmental, economic, political, cultural or social.

      Plus the still very high profit margin in the fossil fuel extraction and refining business, when artificially shielded from its true costs.

      Money + privilege. Isn't that what it's ALWAYS about?

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:34:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are $10 TRILLION reasons not to do anything (14+ / 0-)

        about climate change, as per Chris Hayes:

        Proceeding from this fact, McKibben leads us inexorably to the staggering conclusion that the work of the climate movement is to find a way to force the powers that be, from the government of Saudi Arabia to the board and shareholders of ExxonMobil, to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims on in the ground. That stuff you own, that property you’re counting on and pricing into your stocks? You can’t have it.

        Given the fluctuations of fuel prices, it’s a bit tricky to put an exact price tag on how much money all that unexcavated carbon would be worth, but one financial analyst puts the price at somewhere in the ballpark of $20 trillion. So in order to preserve a roughly habitable planet, we somehow need to convince or coerce the world’s most profitable corporations and the nations that partner with them to walk away from $20 trillion of wealth. Since all of these numbers are fairly complex estimates, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that we’ve overestimated the total amount of carbon and attendant cost by a factor of 2. Let’s say that it’s just $10 trillion.

        The last time in American history that some powerful set of interests relinquished its claim on $10 trillion of wealth was in 1865—and then only after four years and more than 600,000 lives lost in the bloodiest, most horrific war we’ve ever fought.

        While there may be cultural factors in play here, looking at the obvious economic imperatives is a good place to start.  It's not like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, et. al. will voluntarily walk away from a few trillion in assets.  How that concentrated power can be thwarted is the (literal) money question here.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:32:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But they couldn't possibly hope to succeed at this (5+ / 0-)

          were it not for these deeply ingrained cultural prejudices that they exploit. I get that the true motivation for resisting calls to do something about climate change is mostly about money and power, but the MEANS by which such resistance can succeed is largely culturally-based.

          Rich greedy people aren't the problem. Rich greedy people + stupid white conservatives are the problem. Always have been, going back to before 1865, where the EXACT SAME dynamic prevailed.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:56:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  RFKL - thanks for the Hayes quote (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jackson L Haveck

          I think he nails it. The fossil fuel industry, which includes numerous sovereign states who rely totally on oil sales, are not going to leave any already discovered oil in the ground unless someone pays them for it.

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:00:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  you can't spend money... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...if you're species is exctinct

          We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

          by ScrewySquirrel on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:51:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hitler didn't walk away from France, or anywhere (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          else, until his wealth accumulation organization was blasted into rubble . The 10 trillion is fools gold extracting and burning the fuels will kill us off. Billions of people's futures or trillions for the fossil fuels thugs?

          The Kochs are right about one thing, only a powerful government(s), working for the best interests of everyone can stop them and the other oily oligarchs.

          The ten trillion in the ground is just another ten trillion. It will never benefit me or mine, or you and yours. In fact it is likely bring an end to ability to live on the only planet we have.

          It comes down to a few reckless and self interested gangster's wealth or our lives and our futures.

      •  It's about Koch donation$ (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, opinionated

        2012 Koch Industries donations --$2,154,640 – Democrats received $40,250

        Pompeo, Mike (R-KS) ------$110,000    
        Romney, Mitt (R) -----           76,850    
        Allen, George (R-VA)  ---       45,000  
        Mack, Connie (R-FL)  ---        33,500    
        Rehberg, Denny (R-MT) --      29,000    
        Mourdock, Richard E (R-IN) --- 28,500    
        Berg, Rick (R-ND) ---              26,500  
        Hatch, Orrin G (R-UT) ---        26,000  
        Cruz, Ted (R-TX)   ---             23,750  
        Heller, Dean (R-NV)  ---         20,500  
        Brown, Scott (R-MA)   --        20,000  
        Mandel, Josh (R-OH) ---         20,000  
        McConnell, Mitch (R-KY)  --    20,000

        3 more pages......  

        "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

        by MartyM on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:20:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Cause and Effect was one of the lessons (7+ / 0-)

      I had to repeat most often.....the kids so easily abandoned it to go back to myths, old-wives-tales and urban legends. They stopped looking for real solutions and took the easy way out!
      Doesn't surprise  me that adults do the same all the time. So ready to believe nonsense and refuse to look at the facts.

      Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

      by Temmoku on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:53:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reading Obama's plan ain't all that tough. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, sagesource, rabrock

      He's set to reduce coal burning from 40% of electricity production to 14% of production.

      That's by 2030. And the pollution changes are geared 2005, crediting states that have already made positive changes.

      If Texas and the other Secessionists don't get plans together by June 30, 2016, then EPA will do it over their dead bodies.

      (USCOC puked on the carpet. Sorry about that.)

      One model is Illinois. Coal is out, nukes are in and wind is in.

      Propaganda claiming that heating water with uranium is Satanic ??? -- not believable. We've gone 60+ years with nukes and the scare stories about radiation are bull. Standard design power reactors kill nobody. Period.

      (And yes, the Fukushima reactors were in cold shutdown mode when the tsunami hit -- contamination there today is from the smashed cooling systems and an El Cheapo storage unit for the spent fuel rods. Both those problems have engineering solutions at hand.)

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

      by waterstreet2013 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:24:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yeah, I'm that person (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      belinda ridgewood

      Hey there, I am going to be THAT person and point out that it wasn't Rapunzel that turned straw into gold, it was Rumpelstiltskin.  Rapunzel was the one with long hair.  But I agree with your otherwise.  :)  

    •  suffering from one or more cognitive deficits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Reference book:     "The sociopath next door : the ruthless versus the rest of us" by Martha Stout. New York : Broadway Books, 2005.

      According to Martha Stout, 4% of all people are born sociopaths/sciopaths/psychopaths.   There is no cure because it is caused by a part of the brain simply being missing.   A written test, the MMPI [Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory] can identify sociopaths before they cause destruction.

      Everybody should have to take the MMPI in high school.   Psychopaths should be barred from CEO positions and high political offices.   Most CEOs and politicians are probably psychopaths.   Who is a psychopath should be public knowledge.

  •  Addiction is tough to shake -- it takes decades (6+ / 0-)

    Consider the fact that it takes, on average, cigarette smokers 49 years to quit -- and that most of the ones that finally do (while still alive) are in their seventies.
    And that's for a condition that everybody knows causes harmful and deadly consequences for the smoker, ones people can see happening in real time with other people, including relatives. Even so, the smoker rationalizes that some people get away without any harmful effects, and thus believe they "probably" will be OK too.
    Now look at climate change -- which is only now having definite effects on the planet. There are nowhere as many people who believe it harmful as believe cigarettes are. Then take our addiction to fossil fuels and the comfortable lives it brings us. How many decades do you think it will take people to quit that habit, even after AGW is making major constant, debilitating attacks on the fabric of our civilization year after year? Just like the smoker, people will think, yeah sure, shit happens, but it probably won't happen to me. How many people will refuse to change their ways, thinking they'll "probably" get through it OK?
    Unless you eradicate this attitude from the human mind, you have no chance of preventing massive climate change.

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:25:44 AM PDT

    •  If one were to do Due Diligence on the future (0+ / 0-)

      prospects for humanity, taking into account all the indications of the potential for cataclysmic failure at any given time in the near and far future, one would inevitably come to the conclusion that investing in the species is not a good idea.

      Actually, it's a damned lousy one.

      That's a shame too, because within the species there's a lot of potential for greatness.

      I guess perhaps, the key is organizing that potential. And then maybe we'll have a chance.

      "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

      by Pescadero Bill on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:36:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oil Isn't Cigarettes (0+ / 0-)

      While I appreciate your metaphor, and its implications, it's a metaphor. Cigarettes are hard to shake not because of an ideological grip, but because of the biochemical state of the addicted body and nervous system to a specific substance that's physically ingested.

      Ideas are different. The brain is special because intellectual ideas can change it radically in a moment, for a lifetime.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:03:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The comparison was between the perceptions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        People still smoke even though they can see the ravages of smoking on others in their  lives and in those commercials.
        People still living the fossil-fueled lifestyle don't even see any AGW effects yet, and what effects that seem to be AGW-related are argued and uncertain. My point was even if the ocean was coming in their basement and the food supply was disrupted, people would STILL think that getting rid of fossil fuels wouldn't be the answer.
        The "addiction" metaphor is one widely used in this debate, and I meant it  as such.

        Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

        by fourthcornerman on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:27:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Biochemistry (0+ / 0-)

          The perceptions are secondary to the biochemical reality. It is the biochemical reality that keeps people addicted to cigarettes despite the ravages they perceive.

          The metaphor goes only so far.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:31:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Biochemistry - Part 2 (0+ / 0-)

            While what you say certainly is true...and cigarettes were not a good example of addiction when compared to the addiction to oil...then let's say we talk about the biochemical reality that keeps people addicted to, say, gambling instead.  

            Obviously there is no intake of an addictive chemical like nicotine.  Yet a behavioral addiction to gambling is just as much an addiction as an addiction to cigarettes.

            And, yup...there are biochemical (more specifically, neurochemical) changes in the brain with that addiction to gambling.  

            (As an aside, I use the addiction to gambling specifically because the DSM-V doesn't include behavior addiction as a new category...but it does include an addiction to gambling as an addiction now, not an impulse control disorder.  And, frankly, I expect the eventual next edition to include behavior addiction as a category of addiction as a mental disorder.)

            Anyway...while arguing that cigarettes was not a good example is appropriate, the fact is that people can be and are psychologically addicted to things that are not good for them.  Even when they know they're not good for them.

            •  Not the Same (0+ / 0-)
              Yet a behavioral addiction to gambling is just as much an addiction as an addiction to cigarettes.

              It's not. A compulsion like gambling is quite different. It is similar to the behavioral compulsion of cigarette smoking. But the biochemical intake of cigarette smoke makes an addiction that is very different from the purely psychological gambling compulsion. It is much harder to break a cigarette addiction than a gambling compulsion (even though that can be very hard to break).

              There is a lot wrong with the DSM-V. It is now written primarily to justify insurance paying for drugs, the language in service of convincing insurers not of communication between doctors and scientists.

              The point is that humans do not ingest oil, nor is our industrial civilization that "ingests" oil a human body. Except metaphorically. Cigarette addiction is harder to break than civilization's oil dependency.

              It's good that quitting oil is easier than the extremely hard quitting of cigarettes.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 07:31:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Although I agree with Krugman that reducing (6+ / 0-)

    GHG emissions dramatically need not be harmful to the economy, his reductive analysis of the impact of eliminating coal mining overnight is not persuasive.

    Coal mining spends a lot of money that employs folks other than miners (according to the mining industry about 800K folks, take that with a grain of salt), but ultimately the coal mining industry is not that big in itself.  However, transport and generation with coal and use of the resultant electricity are huge.  Very roughly, about 40% of rail traffic is coal (using cars and tracks largely dedicated to the purpose), about 40% of electricity generated is coal (using plants suitable only for coal), and about 40% of electricity used is coal.  Stopping coal mining tomorrow would have much bigger effects than laying off 1/16th of 1% of the workforce.

    That doesn't mean we should burn as much as we can as long as we can, of course.  It does mean Krugman should take this a bit more seriously.

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:33:41 AM PDT

    •  Krugman is quite prolific on the cost/benefit (9+ / 0-)

      analysis of climate change, including the issues raised by the coal industry. You might enjoy his review of Gambling with Civilization as a starting point.

      ----- GOP found drowned in Grover Norquist's bathtub.

      When it all goes wrong, hippies and engineers will save us. -- Reggie Watts

      by JimWilson on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:52:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the link (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mithra666, ferg, bmaples, JimWilson

        I read it when it came out.  I've read about everything Krugman has written since he joined the Times in 1999.  I am and have been a big fan for years and agree with him on most issues.

        My comments are specific to the instant analysis on the coal industry.  He's being a little too flip on the subject.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:08:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fair points; however (8+ / 0-)

      There is the fact that to replace coal we would need to get other power sources in place, and doing that will create other jobs.  So it's not just that those jobs will go away -- at least some will be replaced by other jobs in the renewable energy sector.

      •  Absolutely. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mithra666, unfangus, OldDragon, VClib

        I would entirely support a carbon tax and/or cap and trade (which would have the impact of pushing coal out of the market).  I am not saying we can't get rid of coal without negative consequences, I'm saying that coal can't disappear overnight with only small impact.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:45:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This might be, but disruptions are inevitable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It's avoiding any disruption in the status quo that got us to this hot water in the first place.

          You may have noticed that if you have someone who's overly easily offended at certain impolite talk, they can often become completely outrageous if indulged in the language-policing. It's the same thing with policies that don't merely involve talk, but action that hits the pocketbook.

          I am all for retraining of workers, and creating conscious policies to reemploy them, which we've proved awful at thinking about from the Luddites to late-20th-century manufacturing outsourcing. But we simply don't have the luxury of gentling the change in energy policy.

          •  That's largely true (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            which doesn't mean Krugman cavalierly dismissing impacts and ignoring what they actually are is the right course (which of course he does not always do, I am reacting to one blog post and one column).  We need to flesh out what they are so we can deal with them...

            I think the country as a whole should be much more aggressive on energy policy and climate policy, and I have a long history of advocating that in various fora (going back online to the old unmoderated forum at Krugman's NYTimes site, and to the OilDrum), but at the same time I may disagree with specifics of HOW we are doing it, or what arguments we make for advocating policy.

            There have been a lot of disruptions in the energy status quo caused by policy, the problem is they have largely been aimed at increasing profitability for the 1%, rather than aimed at good energy policy.  You are right, however, that on energy, as on many other topics, painful course corrections are often left until forced.  Policy is driven by politics rather than vice versa.

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:51:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

              I certainly agree that questions like this need far better thought and attention than a quick blog post will offer. I always love Paul Krugman's contributions, but many blog posts or op-eds advocating policy, and not only by him, should be enriched by some bullet points on the finer aspects of the policy.

              We don't need to get bogged down in the weeds, but more specifics are needed. Voices need to be unified in supporting those specifics, too, instead of just leaving it as a drive-by on the editorial page, so that people say "yeah, good idea," and nothing comes of it.

        •  Nobody serious is saying that coal should (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          I'm saying that coal can't disappear overnight with only small impact.
          disappear overnight at all.  The plans for reducing carbon pollution call for coal to be be phased down over several years.  Solar and wind power must be expanded to replace the coal power that we are threatening to kill ourselves with.  That's going to take years.  

          I'll be pleased and surprised if humanity can get coal down to zero, and oil and natural gas down to near zero, by 2030.  IF we manage that, human civilization may just survive the coming population crash.  (The Arctic Ocean will probably be ice-free by October 2020.)

          "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

          by Calamity Jean on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 01:29:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was taking issue here (0+ / 0-)

            with the absurd implications of a blog post and column by Krugman about how many jobs are directly involved in coal mining, as though loss of those jobs was an outside estimate of the impact restrictions in coal use might create.  His analysis is not up to his usual standard.  I am not attempting to create a strawman that anyone is seriously advocating the immediate shutdown of all coal use.

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 11:29:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Clean energy economies will always be 30 years (0+ / 0-)

        in the future if we don't begin to build them now. And that will mean government intervention in the 'free for all market'. An intervention that will be in the best interest of the majority of people living or soon to live on the planet.

        We can't afford cheap oil and coal anymore. And we can't afford reckless and self interested oligarchs and the industries that profit from marketing fossil fuels.

    •  This is true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The cost to save the climate will not be large, but it will be spread unevenly.

      As a New Yorker, I may not even notice the costs! My lifestyle is energy efficient. I live in a multi-unit building and I ride subways. But if I lived in rural Kentucky, the costs could wreck my lifestyle.

      We will need to make sure that jobs generated by mitigation get spread to the hard-hit areas.

      Basically, we need to make the solar panels in Kentucky and the windmills in Louisiana!

      To sweeten the pot, we should get the jobs side of the mitigation effort rolling first. Then bring the carbon taxes and regulations.

    •  If meory serves, coal has about a 3:1 multiplier (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      benamery21, BYw

      effect. Which still puts building nukes and wind farms way ahead as employment engines.

      And then there's the 300,000 to 500,000 total extra deaths from pollution.

      Put that in the econ balance.

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- after Paul "False Prophet" Ryan

      by waterstreet2013 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:38:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Eliminating coal mined and burnt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bruce Brown, waterstreet2013

        using existing technology and practices is a net positive in a lot of ways, assuming time for substitution.  That doesn't mean the gross impacts are trivial as implied by the 1/16th of 1% 'analysis.'

        Negawatts would create massive jobs, too.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 08:06:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Replacing It (0+ / 0-)

      Replacing that coal energy with sustainable ones replaces the subsidary jobs with other ones, too. The fact that coal is more profitable than most sustainable energy sources equals the fact that more money is spent on jobs from the sustainable energy. That's either or both more and better jobs.

      The vast waste from coal means a lot of work is done to spew pollution, helping nobody - because we don't even pay people to clean it up. The vast efficiency of sustainable energy means more energy goes into doing worthwhile things, which equals reinvestment in growing more jobs.

      The infrastructure for coal, except the actual mining, would be better used moving people, freight, data and energy than coal. And since it's more efficient in every way (starting with energy, health and money) it means more and better jobs exchanged for the old pollution, sickness and corruption.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:08:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Replacing it is practical and has net benefits (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I would quibble with pieces of your first and last paragraphs.  

        But massive investment in wind (preferably majority federally owned) IS part of my energy policy prescription, and increased use of multi-modal rail freight to replace truck freight is as well (which also puts people out of work), so we're mostly on the same page.

        The reason wind is more expensive than coal on average today has to do with financing, coal infrastructure being already in place and paid for, and rent-collection by various interests in the current artificial market for wind development.  Wind will use less labor than coal per kwh on a project lifecycle basis.  That's a good thing long term.

        Coal hoppers aren't particularly interchangeable with well cars to carry double-stack containers, however.  And the Powder River Basin trackage isn't going to get much use if we aren't mining half a billion tons of coal there annually.  Existing coal plants aren't going to be re-purposed, although in some cases the sites may be.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:56:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Replacements (0+ / 0-)

          The coal cars on trains will be scrap. They're a small part of the value of the infrastructure. The real value is the uninterrupted right of way. Passenger and freight rail through those old coal regions will have a lot more value when it's so much cheaper than air travel. And when the tracks are upgraded to go 600MPH or faster. While running fiber down their lengths.

          It would take a while, but the transport infrastructure would recover all the value lost from coal. That's what Federal investment is for.

          Many of the coal burning power plants could be replaced by geothermal generators. Which can also sequester carbon, and store energy for the new grid.

          The coal mines themselves immediately become worth more when shut down - by stopping their unaccounted costs.

          But even if it's a net cost over the next 30 years, it's well worth it. The entire value of the entire coal industry, and its subsidiary jobs to the 2nd or 3rd degree, is a worthwhile cost for the benefit. Protecting civilization, and perhaps our species, from the larger costs finally coming home in the coming decades and generations. We had a cheap and exhilirating ride, for over a century. Even counting the cleanup and transition cost it'll have been a worthwhile investment if we start paying it off now.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:44:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You think that alternate energy will employ less (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      people than coal?  I have not seen an analysis, but it seems likely that alternative energy and conservation will actually increase employment.  

      •  I work for a power company (0+ / 0-)

        which doesn't own any coal plants anymore, and used to bid electrical construction work for a small private firm whose services include design-build generation (including PV), and electrical maintenance.  I'm pretty sure.

        Long-term, renewables and energy efficiency reduce employment compared to coal (which is a good thing, it means increased labor productivity).  Short term, replacing coal assets with alternatives (other than gas) employs more people than not replacing them (albeit in different places).  Once they are built, however, the alternatives being built have very low O&M labor needs, and nonexistent fuel production and transport needs.  

        Nuclear is probably the only common technology which drives higher lifecycle employment than coal per kwh, IMO.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:05:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "We have to overcome greed - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra666, VClib

    for power as well as money."

    We're having better luck with the "War on drugs" than with power and money.

    To me, it's political will that is boiled down to short term election cycles.  

    To me, it's the 10 second sound bite on the news.

    You can't make a conclusive argument for limiting CO2 in 10 seconds.

    If you want to have an effective policy to combat climate change - make it so the powerful and greedy can make more off of non-CO2 emitting technology and the problem will take care of itself.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 03:53:00 AM PDT

  •  Simpler than that, I think. (4+ / 0-)

    It's ideology, but market ideology that's the problem.  With our present form of vulture finance capitalism, it's faster and easier and you make more money speculating rather than building anything.  Cap-and-trade was a good 80's idea, but now it's just setting up another casino for our overlords.

    Anti-science is just a tactic to keep the peons in line.

  •  pride and wilfull ignorance are the outer bulwarks (7+ / 0-)

    The valuations of fossil fuel companies are driven almost entirely by 2 things:  proven reserves and daily production.
    Any real effort to reduce carbon directly affects those two numbers and turns a valuable asset into a stranded asset.
    We are attacking the most powerful and profitable companies in the history of profits and their money has unlimited freedom to "speak".
    The richest and most politically powerful organizations in the history of the planet are being backed into a corner.  They will fight with everything they have.  Our very civilization is at stake.
    What will it be?  Their quarterly profit or a civilized world for our children?

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:33:39 AM PDT

    •  MP - they are only the "most profitable" because (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nextstep, rabrock

      of scale. Companies like Microsoft and Google are three times as profitable as a percent of revenues. The profitability of oil and gas is right in the middle of the Fortune 500.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:14:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most Profitable???!!!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Profitability is defined by margin.

      And fossil fuel companies are among the least profitable, compared to Google and software companies.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:24:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  wow (0+ / 0-)

        Only one way to define profit?  Really?
        Vclib, above, recognized both rate/margin and absolute dollar amount.  

        We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

        by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:57:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I find it remarkable that when almost any company (0+ / 0-)

        or industry is criticized that are called most profitable!

        Walmart, drug companies, health insurance, telcos, oil, Internet, banks, etc.  are all the most profitable.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 12:00:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This Is Between Ownership, It's Not the People's (4+ / 0-)

    business, as I've been saying. We've spent half a century ceding governing authority and public square venues and voices of wisdom to the libertarian oligarchs, to the point that vastly cheaper and less challenging wishes of almost all the people are so dismissed by oligarchic government that they can't even be brought to debate.

    This issue has to be put before others among top ownership who aren't intimately invested in dirty carbon. It has to be they who choose to fight and choose to empower government to join the fight against the carbon warriors.

    Nobody should be surprised if their demand for survival of civilization is democracy.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:59:25 AM PDT

  •  Kochs power magnified by complex politics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Republicans have degenerated into a set of squabbling hate-filled pockets:  Gay-hating, racists, anti-abortion, pro military spending, anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-birth control, pro-gun, etc.

    The elected GOPers have one agenda:  Getting these guys to minimize differences long enough to get re-elected.  Koch money and propaganda is indispensable to that singular agenda.  

  •  Krugman again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Showing off his firm grasp of the obvious.

    So the real obstacle, as we try to confront global warming, is economic ideology reinforced by hostility to science. In some ways this makes the task easier: we do not, in fact, have to force people to accept large monetary losses. But we do have to overcome pride and willful ignorance, which is hard indeed.
    Krugman's debunking of the economic scare tactic is clear but pointless. He even explains why. To paraphrase: Economic reality doesn’t matter. It doesn’t refute ideology. Nothing does.

    The economic argument also doesn’t matter simply because the price we pay for energy doesn’t matter. Gasoline used to be 29¢ a gallon. Every ten years or so, the price of energy skyrockets - energy crisis, oil embargo, energy independence, regulatory costs. We don’t buy the reasons, but we still buy the energy. We know it’s not supply and demand. It’s not fair market price. It’s what the market will bear, and we pay. We adjust. We car-pool, walk, ride our bikes, take shorter vacation trips, we get more energy-efficient, and we bitch and we pay. We get past the minor economic blips and we keep going. When it comes to energy, price is no object.

    The problem is entirely about ideology and not at all about energy prices. The economic argument is merely a scare tactic, a smokescreen. Wave it away, and there stands the ideology, against which there is no arguing.

    Maybe the only solution is to stop putting any time and effort into arguing with ideologues. Ignore them, keep pushing for what we believe in, and hope we can eventually just wear them down.

    Fred Upton, Chairman, House Energy Committee: Stop pushing dirty energy, stop blocking clean-energy initiatives. Help lead the transition or retire.

    by Bruce Brown on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:30:00 AM PDT

  •  Apologies for not responding to or recommending (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    New Minas, mithra666, VClib


    very limited access here at school, and very busy with the last 4 days of classes before final exams start on Friday.

    I thought the Krugman piece was worth bringing to the attention of folks here, thus the diary this morning.

    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 05:41:26 AM PDT

  •  Obama, Hillary called for mass climate movements (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, mithra666 recent interviews (BHO and HRC).

    Both accept human-caused global warming as fact.

    Both accept that warming the planet over 2ºC as insanity.

    Both accept that burning all fossil fuel reserves would heat the planet many multiples of 2ºC and would be insanity.

    That's positive.

    But both Obama and Clinton are being super squirrelly here.

    Obama has led an explosion in American fossil fuel production. His recent emissions cut is a tiny fragment (less than 20%) of the amount needed to hit the needed US target. Hillary has cheered all these moves.

    Science and the health of the planet be damned -- neither will take on Big Oil until and unless there is the weight of a massive popular movement behind them.

    Thus the "free market fundamentalist" pop culture garbage promoted by the 1%ers. They'll stop at nothing to destroy such a movement from forming. And it's awful hard to convince vulnerable, frightened Americans living in precarious economic circumstances to put the planet first. Now.

    It's up to us.

  •  The first thing I thought of after reading the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jazzizbest, New Minas, Egalitare

    Krugman piece was this article by Naomi Klein published in November 2011. She goes into far greater depth than Krugman has the space for as to why conservatives have trouble wrapping their heads around what to do about climate change.

    If I don't see you, for a long while, I'll try to find you, left of the dial.

    by mithra666 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:08:29 AM PDT

  •  but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra666, Jackson L Haveck



    to believe that my self-actualized free market activities will overcome any social ill.



    am special!!!


    am free!!!


    am an American Libertarian!!!

    Be the change that you want to see in the world

    by New Minas on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:16:46 AM PDT

  •  I think that it's less about libertarianism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra666, Jackson L Haveck

    than it is about the country's historically dominant (sometimes actually, often in their own heads) group--straight white conservative Christian men who live outside big cities--seeing their power and privileges systematically ebb away on multiple fronts, to non-whites, to women, to gays, to non-natives, to urban elites (i.e. educated people who live in big cities), and to a "liberal agenda", and it angers and terrifies them, and has caused them to lash out in perceived self-defense, by latching onto every regressive (and thus anti-progressive) idea and policy they can find, even if they defy facts, logic and good sense, because these people aren't fighting for anything tangible so much as they're fighting for their identities and privileges as entitled white dudes.

    Thus, being against abortion rights and equal pay, lest uppity women become empowered and consider themselves the equal of men. Or against welfare programs, because they're seen as empowering inferior and undeserving minorities who might rise up and replace them. Or against immigrants because they fear that they'll take their jobs and make America not "American".

    And, in this instance, denying man-made climate change and the need to do something about it, lest those effete Ivy League-educated urban elites--who champion women, minorities, immigrants and welfare programs--wrest away yet more power and privilege from them. This isn't about reality or policy. This is about someone took my cheese and by god I'm gonna git it back.

    These people are children, bratty, infantile and delusional children, and we SHOULD take away their cheese, because they're not fit to have it.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 06:30:35 AM PDT

    •  what if you are observing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mithra666, Jackson L Haveck

      the reactionary elements who are ideologically captured by wealthy sociopaths.  The "true believer" brownshirts who are carrying the water for the oligarch class that has basically run this place for 200 years. . .

      Be the change that you want to see in the world

      by New Minas on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:01:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But not all wealthy people deny reality (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mithra666, VClib, New Minas

        or exploit the weak, stupid and fearful for their own ends. It's simplistic to lump all rich and powerful people and companies into one evil and manipulative uber group. Some are, some aren't. Those that are, are, but they wouldn't have gotten far were it not for these millions of fearful and angry white conservative men to exploit and manipulate. At the very least, identity politics is on an equal footing with the politics of greed and power. I argue, though, that it trumps it.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:08:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Krugman completely misses the point. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, PatriciaVa, nextstep

    The US is almost irrelevant in the climate change debate.

    The US and EU are a small and shrinking part of total world CO2 emissions. (See p. 11 graph) (PDF)

    Even if the US completely stopped emitting CO2 at this point, the difference would have been eclipsed by the last decade of China's CO2 increase.

    The US and the EU are the (comparatively) easy places to argue for CO2 emission reductions, as they're already rich and energy efficient.  The poorer world isn't willing to discard their competitive advantage, and the oil-producing states have little to no real income if fossil fuels are eliminated.

    Any right-wing political opposition in the US amounts to no more than a side-show in the global drama.

    •  Except China (4+ / 0-)

      spent more money on renewables than the U.S. last year, and has more installed renewable capacity and production.  More than half of generation capacity additions in China in 2013 were zero-carbon.  China has installed enough solar hot water heaters to put one in half of American households.

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:24:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're also about to institute Draconian (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        controls on automobile ownership in major cities, forcing people either to give up their cars completely or switch to electric vehicles.  We're talking things like mandatory ownership of a parking space, with taxes and fees forcing the price of a space to around $1 million US.  

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 08:08:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ellid - that seems unlikely (0+ / 0-)

          Do you have a source for the statement that the only people in big cities in China, who will be driving gas powered cars, are those with $1 million parking places?

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:19:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Unfortunately, the information was given to me in confidence.  But I have no reason to doubt that this is in the works in the next couple of years.

            Sorry I can't be more specific.  :(

            This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

            by Ellid on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:32:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Also, please don't bruit this about (0+ / 0-)

            I like being employed.


            This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

            by Ellid on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:34:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Got it, no problem (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I have been out of the loop for a while, but I started investing in China in 1990 and the information I have is that China is very proud of the fact they are the world's largest car market. Many middle class big city professionals love their cars, and could never afford a $1 million parking space.

              Given the current mix of power supply in China I am not sure how much difference it would make in the short run to switch most drivers to EPVs.

              "let's talk about that" uid 92953

              by VClib on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:51:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  They already have draconian restrictions (0+ / 0-)

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:52:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  China just closed a 400B, 30-yr natural gas... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jackson L Haveck, MGross, nextstep

        deal with Russia.


        Because China wants economic growth, and economic growth is best achieved with cheap energy.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:33:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How much of the existing increase in CO2 (0+ / 0-)

      concentrations is the U.S. responsible for?  What are our per capita cumulative emissions?  How do those compare to the developing world?  

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 07:35:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Huge and Slightly Shrinking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jackson L Haveck, benamery21

      I don't know how you can read that graph and say the US and EU are a small part of total world CO2 emissions.

      US+EU = 10 down to maybe 9.5 gigatons CO2 out of 24 up to 35 Gt, 1990-2013. That's from 42% to 27%. Neither of which are small, though shrinking in the face of China's explosion from 3 to 11 Gt (8.5% to 32%). China is only about 1.5 Gt more than US+EU.

      The US + EU could cut 2/3 of our emissions, which would cut over 6Gt, or about 25% of all emissions. More to the point that would cut about 55% of the 11 Gt GHG emissions above what the planet carries without thickening the Greenhouse.

      The US and EU are absolutely the most relevant, precisely because they are comparatively easy places to make changes. China's emissions economy is largely the outsourced part of the US+EU emissions economy. US+EU pollution regulations would cut quicker than trying in China, which urgency is necessary. US+EU leading would cause China to cut too, as we've already seen (eg. China announcing a carbon cap after Obama announced his 30% emissions cut policy). China failing to follow fast enough, and competing with US+EU by continuing to pollute more, would make it easier to set US+EU tariffs on imports to tax Chinese pollution at our borders.

      The future Chinese results of future US+EU cuts and possible tariffs are debatable. But the ongoing huge fraction of emissions from the US+EU is not.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:31:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good point. Too many people think the US is still (0+ / 0-)

      the major CO2 emitter.  From Wiki, giving numbers in billion tons CO2 emitted in 2010:
      China     8.29
      USA       4.43
      Eur U     3.68
      India      2.01 -
      Russia    1.74 -

       CO2 emissions are steady or slightly declining in the US, while they are increasing exponentially in China, so things are surely worse in 2014 than in 2010.  
      Some claim that China's emissions are due to making products that we buy.  Easy to fix - Stop buying stuff made in China!
       IF CO2 emissions destroy the earth, China is destroying the earth a lot faster than us.  
      Obama announced a real program, so China announced a "cap" - but without specifying amounts of emissions, this is just propaganda.  

  •  The Answer Is in the Private Sector (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra666, DocGonzo, Jackson L Haveck

    What do we do with:

    ...someone who grew up taking Ayn Rand seriously, believing that the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest is always good and that government is always the problem, never the solution[?]
    It's time we called them on their BS. We need to ask them, as I do here:
    What's your plan? How do you plan to get carbon levels down to 350 ppm?
    What's your plan, Exxon? What's your plan, Duke? What's your plan, Koch?

    The President needs to call in their CEOs and ask them. He needs to find out what they are planning to do about climate change. And if he isn't up to the task, maybe Congress needs to have a hearing. They need to hear the plan.

    Because, if government is incapable of solution and the private sector is the only answer, then I want to know, what is their answer? Trot it out. I want to see it and place my bets.

    •  The BP Macondo Safety Plan (3+ / 0-)

      Those fatcats will just tell Obama their plan is something like the BS safety plan BP filed with the Feds for their Macondo drilling that crapped the Gulf.

      The Gulf that Obama took his children swimming in, because BP said it was safe.

      What will Obama say to those fatcats about their carbon plan, except "thanks for your service"?

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:33:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You Have No Faith in Our President (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I suppose he's earned that.

        Okay, let's say I were President instead of Obama. (Give me a moment, we aren't talking about the RW.) I'd have these cats on the carpet before the crowd left The Mall.

        Putting their plans up to the public and comparing them with reality would make it painfully obvious where the problems lie. Problem 1: What ever made people think the private sector was better at solving problems than at being them? Problem 2: They don't have any actual plan. Their plan, such as it is, is to suck all life out of the planet and hope its last gasp corresponds with their last gasp. So, if we're going to fix this, it has to be (at least in part) through government action. Problem 3: The fictitious "plans" they have won't get us to 350 ppm.

        But, I do have a plan. And, as a practical matter, it bypasses the lobbyists.

        This is what a powerful politician would do if he or she wanted to solve the problem. The desire to solve the problem would have to exist first, of course.

        I mean, what's good is the bully pulpit if you don't use it to bully the bad?

  •  Untrammelled Self Interest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jackson L Haveck

    Self-interest includes their descendants (and family/friends' descendants) living without the costs and extinctions of climate change. They'd pay the cost of avoiding it.

    Their self-interest is best protected by government climate regulation, since it's the only way at all predictable for something so big that everyone must be part of - including those whose self-interest (eg. no family/friends/descendants) trumps yours.

    But remember: these people are the ones fighting the estate tax as hard as they fight climate regulation. They are absolutely committed to leaving the world as good as possible for their descendants. But they want to further improve their descendants' world by pushing down or eliminating the other people in lower classes, who they see themselves in constant competition with.

    Since libertarians are vastly against climate regulation, and indeed mostly deny manmade climate change, we have living proof that libertarianism is stupid and suicidal - autogenocidal.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:01:24 AM PDT

    •  Many Oligarchs have called for a Tax on Energy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jackson L Haveck

      Richard Branson and Elon Musk have both explicitly called for an Income Inequality-Inducing Tax on Energy.

      Do Branson or Musk care about the environment?

      Of course not.  Both are bankrolling ventures that will enable fellow Oligarchs to embark on a carbon-emitting trip into subspace.

      But they do care about their estates.

      Both realize that there is a growing movement to tax wealth b/c the federal government needs more money.

      So, in order to preempt the tax on wealth, both have championed a REGRESSIVE tax on energy, a tax that will UNDOUBTEDLY negatively impact working and middle-class Americans.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:40:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Care About the Environment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sir Roderick

        I think that publicly (and privately) pushing a carbon tax on everyone, including their own carbon-emitting trips to subspace shows that they care about the environment. Taxing carbon doesn't interfere with a tax on wealth, so backing a carbon tax doesn't protect their estates. In fact it reduces their estates without protecting them. It does protect their estates from climate change.

        The US government has needed the money for decades. There is no new change in that need for increased taxation, or the opposition to any.

        As for the "regressive tax" on energy, that is the actual cost of the energy. We can further subsidize people's energy consumption, with proceeds from the tax if necessary.

        Every BTU of energy consumed through today costs more than its sellers are charging, with the extra costs pushed into the future - a future that has already arrived. People who aren't rich are paying an even more disproportionate share of that, in some cases already with their lives. And its their descendants who will pay with the beginnings of extinction.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:15:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How do you propose reducing the carbon footprint (0+ / 0-)

        of the 90% of the population that are not wealthy?  This means reducing their use of transportation fuels and home heating and cooling that have carbon emissions.

        That is why carbon taxes are proposed.  Increasing fuel efficiency impacts the 90%, as the products with greater efficiency either cost more, or the vehicles are vary different.

        in addition, when looking at impact of taxes on income inequality, one should look at what happens after all taxes and subsidies, not each tax or subsidy individually.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:55:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Disagree with Krugman here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Would slow economic growth" -- compared to what?  Compared to pretending the problems we're creating don't exist?

    Pollution only seems like a bargain because the polluter gets to dump his costs elsewhere, and nobody is properly accounting to what other people lose as a result of the polluter's gains.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 10:01:39 AM PDT

  •  I dunno ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jackson L Haveck

    I tend to agree with Naomi Klein's idea that the resistance to climate change is not so much anti-intellectualism but a deep understanding by the deniers of the policies that would need to be implemented to solve it: Massive government regulations, higher taxes. Yes, the government would even get to tell you what kind of car you can drive. It's anathema to everything the Koch's and libertarians like them stand for so they use their wealth to sow the seeds of ignorance and doubt to prevent it from ever happening.

  •  Existential threat to the Libertarian worldview. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Grabber by the Heel

    I'm glad to see Krugman talking about this.  As a former Libertarian and young know-it-all, I can tell you he's spot on.

    The idea that there can be things that require us all to cooperate is a stake straight through the heart of the Libertarian worldview.  It is a direct, frontal assault on its central faith.

    And yes, I meant "faith".

  •  Krugman and this posting are missing something (0+ / 0-)

    Personally, I doubt the anti-science ideologues would be nearly as numerous or effective without "think tanks" such as Americans for Prosperity and Tea Party groups pushing their ideological buttons and organizing them. They are the Storm Troopers of the 1%, although they are not themselves part of the 1% and never will be. They are pathetic fools, the cannon fodder of the Great Con, who should be pitied rather than fought, if only that were possible. And all the while the laughter of our true enemies wafts over the battlefield like the stench of death foretold. In times like these, wisdom cannot be distinguished from fear.

    •  And those tink-thanks are motivated by the (0+ / 0-)

      money that Krugman seems to dismiss. The essence of a captured state or agency is that someone, in this case the Koch brothers, who has a strong interest in the outcome, grabs or buys the levers of power in order to get the outcome they desire. If this also means polluting the common discourse by funding "scholars" that push their line, and incidentally exacerbate an anti-science bias in the US, then so be it. I don't think the anti-science or anti-intellectual tendency in this country could be any where near as strong as it is without all that funding.

  •  In a word the problem is religion (0+ / 0-)

    The reason that anti-intellectualism is so strong in the USA is religion.  Only when we have the guts to take away its privileged status and the billions it fleeces us for each and every year will we be able to make any headway.  Religion wants to have teh power of life and death over us on the basis of absolutely no evidence, the flimsiest of self contradictory logic.  They will scream socialism and communism get their death squads ready to attack you  but let's face it religion is just as bad as communism ever was, probably a lot worse,  and the only reason it hates it is because socialism make religion disappear by taking care of people.  

    Religious charity is wonderful for the few thousand it helps but compared to the hundreds of millions that socialism raised from poverty, there is just no comparison.

  •  Remember that (0+ / 0-)
    David Koch was the Libertarian candidate for Vice President in 1980.  It does not matter what his personal beliefs may be about science  (he has funded a wing at the Museum of Natural History in New York) or that he graduated from MIT
    And that's not all.  David Koch gives huge amounts to Nova on PBS.  And, have you noticed?  It's gotten considerably softer in the type of science program it puts out these days.  Recent offerings have included: "Earth from space," a telling of the story of Dutch POW's who escaped from a Nazi prison camp, a plague that may have occurred in ancient Rome.  
    And so on.  
    I've not been watching it lately.

    Thank goodness Front Line doesn't [so far] seem to be taking money from big donors.  And lately IT has been covering science matters that Nova might have covered in the past.  An example is the excellent coverage recently on the super bacteria we have been breeding for the last several decades.

    The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men - - Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must be the change we wish to see in the world - - Mohandas Gandhi

    by twocrows1023 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 04:23:27 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site