Voluntary Climate Action – Who wants to go first?

Voluntary Climate Action – Who wants to go first?

A rhetorical question – of course, no one does.

Ted Folkert – December 16, 2019

Climate change – the warming of the planet, the warming of the oceans, the irreversible threat to life as we know it, is real and progressing. The efforts to control or reduce it have not proven to be significantly successful and are being shirked in favor of pleasure, wealth and prosperity throughout the world. Talk is cheap, actions are insufficient, and solutions are expensive and uncomfortable.

We, the people of Planet Earth, ignore it as we explode everything we can find incessantly, be it a bomb for testing or as a display of power, or a gun for hunting or killing each other, or fireworks for celebration purposes. We ignore it as we drive thousands of miles per year to and from work, or for pleasure, or for unnecessary travel – burning life-threatening fossil fuels and exhausting the remains of such into the atmosphere which enables life on Planet Earth.

An example of no-one-wants-to-go-first is the fact that Russia continues to embrace fossil fuels despite concerns about global warming, as was pointed in the article “The Kremlin Shrugs at Climate Change” in Bloomberg Businessweek December 9, 2019.

“On September 20, 2019 the coordinated climate demonstrations swept to globe – 300,000 peoples rallied at City Hall in New York, 270,000 at Berlin’s Reichstag, 90,000 in Sydney, Australia. In Russia only a few dozen assembled near Red Square.”

They either didn’t get the message, simply don’t care or chose to deny their populace the facts about the demise which we face as a planet for the sake of preserving whatever semblance of a vibrant economy which prevails there. Russia is increasingly promoting fossil fuel discovery and production, choosing the burning of carbon and emitting it into the atmosphere over doing what scientific discovery tells us must be done to preserve human habitability on Planet Earth. The obvious reason – Russia is said to receive half of government revenue from taxes on carbon fuels. Again, money talks.

There is much discussion of the dangers and suggestions of necessary corrective measures for this fatalistic debacle. The consensus continues to be that Earth’s inhabitants must reduce carbon emissions significantly immediately. Some believe that the “too-late date” is fast approaching or has already passed.

But, as we declare Russia to be the selfish culprit, we should look in the mirror at our own behavior. The fact is that our president and our big oil companies are doing everything they can to exploit the rewards of carbon exploitation and ignoring the danger, as well. And who among us is forgoing pleasure and abundant lifestyle for the sake of planetary salvation? Everyone who is complying, please raise your hand.

It becomes more obvious every day that we need to listen to the voices, not only of our brilliant scientists, but of educated protesters, as well, even the voice of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden, who sounds more like an educated scientist than a mere school student. She is concerned for the plight of the planet which we plan to leave to her and her colleagues due to our unwillingness to sacrifice progress and pleasure for planetary survival.

The voluminous literature regarding possible voluntary actions to placate this crucial problem is readily available and increasingly advertised. However, the unfortunate fact which is not much discussed is that “voluntary” is not going to work. Voluntary simply means other people, not me, not you – just other people.

The only action which will make a significant difference will be mandatory compliance with corrective measures, such as reduction in automobile usage, reduction of the size or our homes, reduction of the comforts of our lifestyles, reduction in travel, reduction in food waste, reduction, reduction, and more reduction. It will only happen by limiting availability of such activities and significantly increasing the cost of such. It would mean increasing the cost of gasoline by a dollar a gallon every year and making public transportation free and readily available everywhere on the planet. It will mean more working from home instead of driving for an hour each way to and from work. It will mean increasing the cost of air travel worldwide through taxation. It will mean increasing the cost of environment-damaging activities beyond the financial reach of most of us.

All of the possible positive actions which we can render are going to be more expensive and less pleasant.

Let’s face it. Voluntary compliance simply won’t work. It won’t work because of self-interest. It won’t work because of finger-pointing from all directions. It won’t work because many other countries will expect to bring their populous along with economic progress comparable to the more economically developed countries. It won’t work because there will be no standards of conduct to which everyone will agree and adhere. There simply is no other way. Everything else is just empty conversation – worthless suggestions which will be too little and too late.

We need immediate action and we need mandatory action – just in case that the “too-late-date” is still in the future.

Think about it!

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