Guest Editorial: We Can't Address Climate Change Without Addressing Income Inequality

Comments

1
The more affluent buying their way out of the impacts of global climate change is probably right. But this article operates on the premise that people with more money use it to buy themselves greener. Huh? Totally factually incorrect. More than anything increased affluence correlates with a larger carbon footprint, not the other way around. Anecdotally I know avowed environmentalists who enlarge existing houses into which their families already fit, regularly fly around the globe to (sometimes eco) vacation, "necessarily" do the same to attend business meetings and (sometimes environmental) conferences. They buy more stuff, drive their own cars, reproduce and make more people very likely to live similarly. Some of them put their asses in seats on the private jets of powerful connections, ski out of helicopters, own pools in Seattle. So I'm not sure who these phantom well-off people are who purchase their way to eco-responsibility - certainly not me or anyone I know, even the one's who take the bus and put up some solar panels, not by a long shot. As such this article is interesting but not really an argument, essentially fantasy fiction.
2
Excellent correlation. Climate Change also needs to take into consideration feminist nazi hip-hop, and photoshop technology with an emphasis on placing Rand Paul's hairdo onto Anna Minard. Cover our bases folks! and let's win this election!
3
inb4 a bunch of uneducated numbskulls come in and say that climate change isn't real because:
-the Earth isn't warming (it is)
-climate scientists were wrong before when they predicted cooling in the 1970s (they didn't)
-current warming is comparable to warming seen in the geological record (it isn't)
-publicly-funded scientists can't be trusted to do science and we should only trust people who get all their money from oil companies (how about no)

Because idiots will be idiots and demand that we accept their ignorance as a valid way of being.
4
@3: I dunno, there was a People Magazine cover story in 1973 about how some scientists thought the Earth was cooling, so are you sure we can trust what any scientist says, ever?
5
@3

Very good. The best offense is often a good defense.

Oh dear, a sports analogy. I hope that doesn't encourage a Seahawks thread on this otherwise faux-intellectual political blog.
6
One of the largest and cheapest improvements in Washington's carbon footprint will come from simply modernizing the insulation and sealing of its housing stock.

But unfortunately, the poorer a household is, the more likely it is to rent. And if you're renting, spending money on insulation benefits the landlord at your expense, so you don't even consider it when money is tight, and money is always tight. Cash payments to the poor, for all the good they might do, will miss the biggest, easiest ecological gain to be had in the region.

Globally, Clara T's point is even more stark: there are an awful lot of people who would, if they had more money, do things like eat enough food and buy more firewood, and then eat meat more often and carry a cell phone and wear different clothes every day of the week, and then live in bigger heated homes with refrigerators and separate bedrooms, all the while building more shops and restaurants and offices and roads and trucks to support all of these steps up to a lifestyle that a family living in poverty in Washington State might recognize.
7

The best things to combat AGW in urban areas, would be carbon neutral transport, (with cheaper prices as an incentive so people don't use cars). Co op gardens, Subsidies or tax credits or property tax relief for single family homes to Apartment buildings to be more energy efficient, (insultation, to better energy systems) to subsidizes bikes, (which will help both AGW and healthcare)
8
@6, yes. My oil costs are obscene and there's neither penalty nor inducement in place for the landlords to fix it.
9
Since science refuses to say; "proven" for a "threat to the planet", just what has to happen now for them to be certain before we reach the point of no return from unstoppable warming? Prove any climate scientist ever said the scientific method won't allow them to have a consensus of "proven"?
10

We can't solve global warming... errr... climate change... errr I mean, "climate disruption" until we all the same wages.

The same way we can't end racism unless we shut-down Christmas shopping.

Same bullshit, different day from the Left.
11
Whenever the Fox News crowd feels like there is an issue with clear action needed, they start creating straw men - black people cause police violence, solve mental health before gun control. This kind idiotic tying together of two barely related problems smacks of that obfuscation.
12
@9: Um, what are you asking?
@10: Nah, the real obstacle to doing something about climate change is that a sizable minority of Americans don't believe it exists. Clear up those misconceptions and public opinion will swing towards more restrictive environmental regulations, more extensive infrastructure to support renewable energy sources, and putting more funding into geoengineering to counteract ocean acidification and higher greenhouse gas concentrations.
Out of curiosity, Zok, why are you interested? Are you perhaps a member of the diehard dimwits of science denial?
13
@12 Well based on how Zog dances and contorts on the question of racism in policing and criminal justice I'm gonna guess it's the climate's fault. You see if the climate hadn't been so hospitable mankind wouldn't do bad things to it. Ergo mankind isn't responsible for climate change because the climate made us do it.
14
#1 & #6 are the only commenters with useful arguments here, so far.



We have two problems. Both are real, both are serious, but poorly thought out policies results in either increasing income inequality to offset climate change (a perfectly effective solution to global warming if you don't care about people), or decreasing income inequality at the expense of greater heat output into our finite ecosystem.



Magical thinking, doesn't actually create results.



There are ways to mitigate climate disruption/heat output without increasing inequality, but it will be less efficient. At the same time, there are incentives that can be made that will decrease inequality, but to do so without vastly increasing heat output and worsening long-term climate outcomes will be equally inefficient.



The best result is a complex system of incentives that result in better results for as many people as possible, but it won't be perfect.



And aiming for a perfect solution while ignoring very real conflicts in goals versus realistic means of achieving them helps no one.