Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Another green attack on Democracy; According to the Financial Times, giving ordinary people a say over public policy impedes climate action, because we don’t care enough about other people’s problems.
Democracies are ill-suited to deal with climate change
It is tempting to say the problem is too abstract but the focus should be on the economy
Harrowing images of Australian bushfires and Californian wildfires should be blowing a hole in such complacency. But they also crystallise how hard it is for democracies to mobilise public action. If images of Sydney enshrouded in smoke, or Napa Valley in flames, cannot arouse the voter’s imagination, what will? Those hoping the world’s wealthiest countries will take more of a lead on climate change must confront three hard truths.
The first is that politicians struggle to look beyond the electoral cycle. It is hard enough for a government to invest in education, which can take years to show results. It is that much more difficult to take unpopular actions to reduce carbon dioxide output that might take generations to bear fruit, and even then go unrecognised.
The second obstacle to climate change action is uncertainty. It is impossible to establish that any single disaster is entirely man-made. Despite the summer fires in Siberia, heat deaths in Pakistan and two once-in-a-century storms hitting Houston in two years, natural disasters occurred before the era of climate change. …
The third obstacle is — how to put it? — human nature. … I have spoken to people who are more exercised by Greta Thunberg’s mannerisms than with the content of her message. They find the fact that a 17-year-old girl is lecturing grown-ups on climate change more grating than the likely extinction of the Great Barrier Reef. We filter what we want to see.
If we want action, the best response is to talk about the economy. The age of abstract climate change is over. The 2018 fires cost California an estimated $400bn, according to Accuweather. That is more than half the annual US defence budget. …
Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/636327d0-2e36-11ea-a126-99756bd8f45e
I’m glad a climate action advocate has finally gotten the message the Greta effect only works on people who already believe. When this message filters through to the top, we might see less of her.
Sadly Edward does not go on enlighten us about his version of the ideal eco-fascist utopia which should replace our current freedoms. His feeble suggestion, “to talk about the economy”, undermines his position that Democracies are not well suited to dealing with long term problems.
If people can be persuaded to take climate action by talking about the economy, surely this means Democracy works?
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