Plutocracy is not just about the rule of money: as its name indicates, it is the rule of evil. Obama, the American Chief Executing Officer, just allowed oil drilling in the Arctic (where pollution does not dissipate, due to low temperature). However, when the ship sinks, the rats start to bite each other. Thus here comes the International Monetary Fund, with a striking study. Although based next to the White House, the Fund just found a profound fundament to our world crisis. Fossil Fuels “energy subsidies are dramatically higher than previous estimates“.
How high? The IMF estimates the fossil fuel subsidies amount to 5.3 trillion dollars in 2015. Yes, 5,300 billions, about a third of USA or EU GDP. 5.3 trillion dollars is 6.5% of world GDP. That’ is 600 million dollars an hour. It is higher than all the government spending on health care, worldwide. And it goes to whom, first? Plutocrats. Nothing else to expect from a government by plutophiles, for plutocrats.
We are presently destroying the biosphere which enabled the human species to evolve. It is pretty drastic. It would cause the worst mass murderers and criminals against humanity pause. It is not just a political, or philosophical, or ethical problem. It is the ultimate question of survival. We are all in a gas chamber of our own making, and the tap is fully open. Anything else is delusion.
Among the IMF’s conclusion: the highest subsidies are for the most polluting fuel, coal: “Because no country, (unlike for “road fuels) has meaningful excises on its consumption“.
Subsidies arise “mostly from countries not adequately charging for the cost of environmental damage (only one fourth of which is due to climate change)”. The World Health Organization evaluates these deaths to seven (7) millions.
The IMF observes that charging adequately would reduce CO2 emissions by 20% and cut the “premature death rate from fossil fuel pollution” by half. (Those death are evaluated
A philosophy professor from Notre Dame University ponders in the New York Times: “What Can We Do About Climate Change?”
Notice how silly the title is. Indeed, it should say that it’s not the climate that is changing, just because it’s going out tonight, but us who are polluting the planet. As all academics, the professor, from a plutocratic university, is careful to not say anything that would upset extremely wealthy sponsors of his very rich university (rich of subsidized football, TV contracts, gifts from Plutos right and left, etc.) This is how academic excellence works, in the USA: feed the rich ideas they like.
Left unsaid in the interview in the New York Times, were many things, and of some of these many things I will speak.
There are massive fossil fuel subsidies, worldwide. More than 600 billion dollars of direct fossil fuels subsidies are distributed by governments, each year, said the International Energy Agency. The least to be done would be to cut these poisonous gifts to zero.
In temperate and tropical areas, Solar Photovoltaics have become price competitive with fossil fuels, even with the aforesaid subsidies. Without them Solar PV can replace fossil fuels in an economically advantageous way.
We just reached above 403 ppm of CO2 averaged over April 2005. At 400 ppm of CO2, we know we get the warm Pliocene climate: camels in the Arctic. Under such a greenhouse, the Arctic is completely melted, except at high altitude. No more sea ice in the north, whatsoever.
And this does not mention the fact that at least a third of the CO2 goes into the sea to make carbonic acid, quickly approaching non-sustainability; it’s a matter of years, not decades. And that non-linear effects with melting permafrost are getting in gear.
More generally, four planetary boundaries have been crossed. CO2 ppm is just one of them. The crossing of any of these boundaries mean destruction of the biosphere as we have known it (thus thermonuclear war, among other inconveniences).
So much for the somewhat limited view of “Climate Change” from university professors of philosophy.
Moreover, our real greenhouse gases “forcing” the low altitude greenhouse should include man-made gases which did not exist during the warm Pliocene, three million years ago. Some of these gases are more capable of blocking infrared radiation (and thus augmenting the greenhouse) by a multiplicative factor of 25,000 relative to CO2. Those gases ought to be targeted for elimination. Nitrous oxide, much of it from agricultural nitrate fertilizers, and other soil destruction, contributes to 8% of the greenhouse forcing (with 300 times the ppm infrared effect of CO2).
Meanwhile, Germany is ever more dependent upon the world’s most polluting fuel, a type of coal, lignite (Neanderthals already used it in France, more than 80,000 years ago). Even today, Germany bent over backwards to burn even more lignite. What about giving more serious lessons to us, denizens of the German gas chamber? Is it still about giving us lessons with Pluto’s baritone voice?
Germany and the so-called “United” Kingdom tie for number one in the European pollution league. That should put in perspective their (mostly imaginary) superior economic performance. Economic performance is, fundamentally, about energy. Destroying the planet to get energized is plenty cheap, especially morally.
A worldwide tax on carbon ought to be imposed unilaterally by the USA and the EU, and imposed on imported products. Anything else will come short.
And short means, potentially, the greatest catastrophe our species has ever known.
Thanks to progress in sustainable energies, mostly Solar PV, technologically advanced empires (USA, China) are in good position to impose a low carbon economy… While advancing, and advantaging, their own economies. This devilish perspective is actually the only good news around. China has already taken drastic measures against coal.
If good people won’t help, maybe the devil will…