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You Can’t Save the Climate by Shrinking Your Carbon Footprint

By Intelligencer

Even if you are Bernie SandersRead full story


  • The US accounts for ~15% of current global greenhouse gas emissions and that percentage is declining. The US must do its part, but effective solutions will have to address large and growing emissions, particularly from China (now the largest emitter at ~28%), but also from India (6% with a fast growing economy).

  • Individual sacrifices, taken collectively, are huge. If politicians want people to believe in their man made global warming narrative they should be leading by example.

    The article is justification for their bad behavior. But really, if you believe that man made climate change is going to cause irreparable harm in the next couple years you would be doing everything possible to mitigate that. You would ditch the big house. You wouldn’t just cease air travel, you’d pretty much cease travel.

    The bottom line is that if a leader believes this then they would exhibit leadership on it. You wouldn’t see 150+ world leaders each fly separately to Paris to tell us all to fly less.

    Consider what was done with rationing during wwII. There was a lot of emphasis on individual sacrifices and individual contributions. Because collectively they’re huge.

    Sorry, but Bernie doesn’t deserve a pass on this. His stance is that we’re each either in or out. And he’s not stepping in.

  • By this absurd logic, you also can't impact global crime statistics by not shooting anyone.

  • The whole concept of "carbon credits" which essentially allows the cultural elite to pay for their pollution, thereby treating hypocrisy with money, just continues to increase the divide between the haves and the have nots.

  • Without a political solution, we are dooming our children to an increasingly uninhabitable planet.

  • This harkens back to parents telling their kids to finish their meal because children in Africa (or was it China?) are starving. It’s not the personal footprint on the issue; it’s the mindset.

    If you’re not thinking about the macro picture and making some effort to be involved, whether it’s recycling a soda can or composting your kitchen refuse, how do you maintain a personal connection to the goal?

  • Anyone who would support government enforced compliance should already be doing their part. As previously stated, many individual contributions add up. People whining about needing a change without demonstrating the change themselves are hipocrites. When all these so called progressive politicians take the walls down from their huge estates, fire their private security, and travel by train, then I will start listening to what they have to say. I am a firm believer in lead by example, not " do as I say, not as I do".

  • While this message makes sense and how a political plan would make bigger strides against climate change, I still believe small steps by individuals are helpful. I think the real message here is to not stop at individual environmentally-minded changes but to also call for greater international change

  • Unfortunately, I've not seen any evidence of climate change, especially where I live. And that's the problem with climate science. If you tell me the climate is terrible, but I never personally experience it, then I'm much less likely to support the cause.

    It's the same with other issues, too, like income inequality or social injustice. To me, these are only shadows compared to the immediate and real problems I personally face on a daily basis.

    People focus on what's in front of them, because it directly affects them and their families. This is mostly why global efforts like climate change are often silly on their face. It's also why the UN is so fundumentally useless.

    There's nothing wrong with self-interest, but there IS something wrong with forced collectivism. Forcing me to fight for a cause that doesn't affect me is immoral.

    This is different than the Civil Rights Movement, where the moral ambiguity of slavery, segregation, and racism spread slowly throughout most communities in America. People were won over because the issue of civil rights eventually proved to affect everyone.

  • If we are to implement austerity by eliminating airplanes and cows, there will need to be a lot better explanation of how each of those will reduce global temperatures before we will be willing to shutter Commercial Airlines and Fast Food Restaurants. Visions of Prohibition creating speakeasies causes me to wonder what sort of black markets would be ushered in by these prohibitions.

  • As the authors of the study make clear, even doubling use of renewables cannot offset CO2 emissions in countries dominated by fossil fuels.

    Diminishing the energy system by decreasing demand makes decarbonisation much more manageable. And this can only be achieved by political decisions.

  • Most people understand, that to affect climate change, some decisions have to be made. The average person also knows that it is difficult to make those changes at their level. We do have to use existing technologies to conduct daily life, go to work, and conduct business. It is the government who needs to direct efforts and start the process. AOC, Sanders and others are willing to keep going with a process that the previous administration started. The way the current administration conducts business by rolling back initiatives, and basically denying climate change for the sake of a better economy, is not the answer.

  • I like the idea that individuals have an obligation to act within their available options. The idea of individual responsibility seems old fashioned but is it possible that the sum of individual actions would be a positive result. That because of this government would work with the private sector to provide viable alternatives?

    Maybe I am naive but carbon pricing alone without available alternatives is just a tax and all the rhetoric about the results just got air.

    CAP and Trade only allows polluters to pay avoiding change and benefits companies with additional cash. NET CHANGE NADA ZILCH.

    Whether you believe in global warming or not the individual has a responsibility to minimize their mess.

    One of the first lessons taught to a child is don't pee in the pool.

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