Reply To: Climate, the science, politics, economics and anything else

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Pigeon English, channels like Just Have a Think and Undecided show that there are solutions to the energy / emissions crises, and that more solutions are emerging and being developed all the time. The problem is that finding the optimum balance of solutions lies in the future, but the crisis is now, and indeed has been getting worse for decades.

There is an ideological conflict about how to address this. The ‘socialist’ approach is that governments should choose certain solutions, and fund and subsidise them.

The ‘capitalist’ argument is a bit more complicated because it is split between letting market forces determine how much each solution gets funded, and denying that the problems exist or matter at all, with an added hypocrisy that governments already fund, subsidise and empower the industries that are worsening the problems.

I got cynical about the capitalist-socialist conflict very early in my life because one seemed to boil down to “more money for the rich” and the other to “more money for the poor”, whereas neither was asking whether the pursuit of more money might itself be a fundamental problem. Simplistic thinking on my part, but I was only in my mid teens. But I think I was onto something. Money plays no part in nature; it has no physical existence, and affects nature only via its massive influence upon human behaviour.

Thanks to Robert Persig’s books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila, I started to think more in terms of values, and how they can be organised into groups and hierarchies. It now seems to me that politics needs to balance three kinds of values, which can be grouped conveniently as Red, Green and Blue. With a nicely satisfying symbolism, these also happen to be the primary colours of light as discriminated by normal human eyes.

Blue values are the ‘right wing’ values that are based upon individuals, such as personal freedom, individual ownership, entrepreneurship and the right to organise other people to help develop a personal idea or goal, etc.

Red values are the ‘left wing’ values that are predominantly social, such as community, collective ownership, mutual support, and cooperation towards shared goals etc.

Green values are politically the most recent; the realisation that both individuals and communities have developed within a natural environment upon which we are dependent and which we disrupt at our peril.

Clearly, all three sets of values are interdependent in that fully maximising any one would completely negate the other two, so some adaptation of Spreng’s Triangle would seem applicable.

Considering Spreng’s Triangle with its original parameters: we need to cut both emissions and energy consumption, to buy the time we need in which to develop more knowledge. So we should economise now. The longer this is left the harder we’ll need to economise, or the worse the disaster we’ll precipitate.