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Author Topic: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?  (Read 8639 times)

JimD

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The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« on: August 20, 2015, 10:22:02 PM »
Why in the near 30 years since Hansen testified on climate change to Congress has the climate change movement been such an utter and complete failure?  It is because the opposition is strong and it just takes time to break it down?  Or is it something else? 

Well below you will find some excerpts on this subject from Geer.  The whole article is well worth a careful read (along with about 75% of everything Geer writes). 

The premise is that we need a revolution in human behavior/politics/economics/etc to effect dramatic change in the way we live and conduct our affairs in order to stop and adapt to climate change.  Yet we fail utterly at making progress.  It is always easy to blame your enemies, but enemies are always going to fight back, so the real reason is because the climate change/green-BAU movement is incompetent.  Here is why.

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The first and most essential step in the transformation of any society is the delegitimization of the existing order. That doesn’t involve violence, and in fact violence at this first stage of the process is catastrophically counterproductive........The struggle to delegitimize the existing order has to be fought on cultural, intellectual, and ideological battlefields, not physical ones, and its targets are not people or institutions but the aura of legitimacy and inevitability that surrounds any established political and economic order.

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The delegitimization of the existing order is only the first step in the process. The second step is political, and consists of building a network of alliances with existing and potential power centers and pressure groups that might be willing to support revolutionary change. Every political system, whatever its official institutional form might be, consists in practice of just such a network of power centers—that is, groups of people who have significant political, economic, or social influence—and pressure groups—that is, other groups of people who lack such influence but can give or withhold their support in ways that can sometimes extract favors from the power centers.

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Effective revolutionaries know that in order to overthrow the existing order of society, they have to put together a comparable network that will back them against the existing order, and grow it to the point that it starts attracting key power centers away from the network of the existing order. That’s a challenge, but not an impossible one. In any troubled society, there are always plenty of potential power centers that have been excluded from the existing order and its feeding trough, and are thus interested in backing a change that will give them the power they want and don’t have.

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By the time the endgame arrives, therefore, you’ve got an existing order that no longer commands the respect and loyalty of most of the population, and a substantial network of pressure groups and potential power centers supporting a revolutionary agenda. Once the situation reaches that stage, the question of how to arrange the transfer of power from the old regime to the new one is a matter of tactics, not strategy.

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With this in mind, let’s look at the ways in which the climate change movement has followed this same trajectory of abject failure over the last fifteen years or so.

Really 30 years or even 40+ years if you count from the Limits to Growth studies.

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The task of the climate change movement at the dawn of the twenty-first century was difficult but by no means impossible. Their ostensible goal was to create a consensus in the world’s industrial nations that would support the abandonment of fossil fuels and a transition to the less energy-intensive ways of living that renewable resources can provide. That would have required a good many well-off people to accept a decline in their standards of living, but that’s far from the insuperable obstacle so many people seem to think it must be. When Winston Churchill told the British people “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” his listeners roared their approval. For reasons that probably reach far into our evolutionary past, a call to shared sacrifice usually gets a rousing response, so long as the people who are being asked to sacrifice have reason to believe something worthwhile will come of it.

That, however, was precisely what the climate change movement was unable to provide. It’s harsh but not, I think, unfair to describe the real agenda of the movement as the attempt to create a future in which the industrial world’s middle classes could keep on enjoying the benefits of their privileged lifestyle without wrecking the atmosphere in the process.

Green-BAU, Joe Romm, Elon Musk, Jim Hansen, Bill Mckibben, the list is endless since it is almost 100% of the people involved.

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On the off chance that any of my readers harbor revolutionary ambitions, may I offer a piece of helpful advice? If you want people to follow your lead, you have to tell them where you intend to take them. Talking exclusively about what’s going to happen if they don’t follow you will not cut it. Rehashing the same set of talking points about how everyone’s going to die if the whole world doesn’t rally around you emphatically will not cut it. The place where you’re leading them can be difficult and dangerous, the way there can be full of struggle, sacrifice and suffering, and they’ll still flock to your banner—in fact, young men will respond to that kind of future more enthusiastically than to any other, especially if you can lighten the journey with beer and the occasional barbecue—but you have to be willing to talk about your destination. You also have to remember that the phrase “shared sacrifice” includes the word “shared,” and not expect everyone else to give up something so that you don’t have to.

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So the climate change movement entered the arena with one hand tied behind its back and the other hand hauling a heavy suitcase stuffed to the bursting point with middle class privilege. Its subsequent behavior did nothing to overcome that initial disadvantage. When the defenders of the existing order counterattacked, as of course they did, the climate change movement did nothing to retake the initiative and undermine its adversaries; preaching to the green choir took the place of any attempt to address the concerns of the wider public; over and over again, climate change activists allowed the other side to define the terms of the debate and then whined about the resulting defeat rather than learning anything from it.

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We don’t even have to get into the abysmal failure of the climate change movement to seek out allies among the many pressure groups and potential power centers that might have backed it, if it had been able to win the first and most essential struggle in the arena of public opinion.

Incompetent, feckless.  Well what about the 'other' side.

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What makes the failure of the climate change movement so telling is that during the same years that it peaked and crashed, another movement has successfully conducted a prerevolutionary campaign of the classic sort here in the US. While the green Left has been spinning its wheels and setting itself up for failure, the populist Right has carried out an extremely effective program of delegitimization aimed at the federal government and, even more critically, the institutions and values that support it. Over the last fifteen years or so, very largely as a result of that program, a great many Americans have gone from an ordinary, healthy distrust of politicians to a complete loss of faith in the entire American project. To a remarkable extent, the sort of rock-ribbed middle Americans who used to insist that of course the American political system is the best in the world are now convinced that the American political system is their enemy, and the enemy of everything they value.

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The second stage of the prerevolutionary process, the weaving of a network of alliances with pressure groups and potential power centers, is also well under way. Watch which groups are making common cause with one another on the rightward fringes of society these days and you can see a competent revolutionary strategy at work. This isn’t something I find reassuring—quite the contrary, in fact; aside from my own admittedly unfashionable feelings of patriotism, one consistent feature of revolutions is that the government that comes into power after the shouting and the shooting stop is always more repressive than the one that was in power beforehand. Still, the way things are going, it seems likely to me that the US will see the collapse of its current system of government, probably accompanied with violent revolution or civil war, within a decade or two.

That is quite a statement from someone who has been the most thoughtful and articulate personage of all of the people covering this subject over the last 15 years. 

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Meanwhile, as far as I can see, the climate change movement is effectively dead in its tracks, and we no longer have time to make something happen before the rising spiral of climate catastrophe begins—as my readers may have noticed, that’s already well under way.


http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-last-refuge-of-incompetent.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2015, 11:12:58 PM »
Quote
worth a careful read (along with about 75% of everything Geer writes

I agree that he often has some great insights, but then can go way off the rails, essentially denying GW at points altogether, which makes me rather wary of the rest of his message. Heck, David Brooks can come up with some compelling-seeming analysis, and then you realize (besides that a lot of it ends up to be bs) that its all intellectual lipstick on a basically backwards-looking conservative pig.

In this case, yes, there were lots of things that didn't happen in the GW movement that should have. But (perhaps inevitably in a shortish essay) lots is missing from this analysis.

On the one hand, the core of the early GW 'movement' where mostly scientists and nerds who could follow that science. They didn't necessarily even think of themselves as a movement. They were technocrats used to moving in mostly academic circles where if a point was made clearly enough and was shown to have enough scientific rigor of evidence behind their arguments, they would generally eventually win the day.

You can get some idea of this attitude from reading about Gores attempts at bringing the issue before the congress. Not a scientist or academic, he was/is something of a nerd and was seen as such. He explains that he really thought that once the science was clearly laid out to members of congress, they would all calmly and rationally see the depth of the threat and proceed to do the right thing, perhaps after some debate and political compromise. Instead, his early attempts were pretty unanimously voted down.

Similarly, Hansen's approach was to present his findings as a scientist to congress, assuming that they would be able to understand it adequately then act on it rationally to the best long term benefit of society.

These guys weren't just the proverbial knife to a gun fight, they were bringing slide rulers to a nuclear altercation. Not just weakling nerds picking confronting the schoolyard bully, but infants confronting Hell's Angels.

What they were facing was a mainstream political machine, both parties, that had been pretty much completely taken over by large moneyed interests, even more so than in earlier periods.

The radicalism of the '60's had frightened the corporate class so much that many who had been essentially apolitical got quickly and powerfully and effectively organized in the '70s, which culminated in the election of Raygun and the successful demonization of the word 'liberal' similar to the way the words 'communist' and 'socialist' had had been turned into boogy men a generation earlier. This went along with an American triumphalism and an unabashed embrace of raw capitalism (remember 'greed is good!) that would have been hard to 'delegitimize' without huge amounts of money and power, money and power which were already carefully being vacuumed up into the hands of the .001%.

Carter was probably our last best chance, and that was never a particularly likely chance to begin with.

Anyway, those are my two pence, for the very little that they're worth.

This stuff is all well documented in various places.

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2015, 11:42:28 PM »
Wili

To be sure there are good points in your post.  But to be fair to Geer he only stated the failure issue post 2000 not from the beginning like I did.

But the essential failure he points out in the article (you did read it?) is that to completely change our way of life requires a revolution and that there are specific steps to successful revolutions and those that do not follow them almost universally fail. 

Our climate change movement has not even tried a revolution, but has rather tried to work through the system to change from within.  A hopeless task and a complete waste of time.  Thus the attempt was gone about in an incompetent manner.  No one has a plan and thus no plan is being implemented.

Meanwhile the revolution which IS being attempted by what Geer calls the 'populous Right' is being implemented along the frequently successful process he describes and is well underway.  As we can all see everyday.  The current election season being some of the strong evidence of what stage they are at in the process.  America could be a very different place come Nov 16.  And not for the better.

I put a lot of posts up here bringing up important aspects of what is going on in the political sphere, economics and finances, military strategies, business, culture wars and so on.  Most draw little attention or comments.  But this stuff is critically important and will be the determining factors in how our problems are addressed - or not.  Not the figures on loss of arctic sea ice, sea level rise, or other climate change impacts.

I believe Geer is dead right on this point.  You have to overthrow the existing structure if you want to implement real change.  Otherwise the system is configured to absorb enough of the troublemakers (think of all the environmentalists who have been co-opted over the decades) to defuse the agents of change.  Real change comes from full commitment to overthrow the system as Geer describes and I just see a lot of well educated middle class white people trying to figure out how to keep their big houses, fancy cars, vacation homes and rich lifestyles.  That don't cut it.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

carmiac

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2015, 11:45:52 PM »
I agree that he often has some great insights, but then can go way off the rails, essentially denying GW at points altogether, which makes me rather wary of the rest of his message. Heck, David Brooks can come up with some compelling-seeming analysis, and then you realize (besides that a lot of it ends up to be bs) that its all intellectual lipstick on a basically backwards-looking conservative pig.

Wait, what? Where has Mr. Greer ever denied GW? Or AGW? Having spoken with him on several occasions I can't imaging him saying that.

wili

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2015, 12:02:00 AM »
carmiac: IIRC, it was more along the lines that peak oil will 'solve' gw, something often heard in peak oil circles. It was a comment made at a conference last year. I'll see if I can track it down.

Jim:

Yes.

Revolution.

Good idea.

What's stopping Greer from starting one? By merely blogging, isn't he doing the same thing as those he criticizer, or perhaps less?

At least McKibben has gone beyond merely writing books and articles and is actually organizing something.

And Hansen has been involved in civil disobedience and gotten arrested. Has Greer?

It's fine to criticize movements--how else could they improve. But it would be nice to see the criticizers actually acting out what they think the right path is.

(Oh, and I always read and appreciate everything you write here--though I don't always get to all of your links [oops]. We're pretty much on the same page, it seems to me.)

I also see that I didn't fully connect what I was saying with the relevant portion of the article, the latter being:

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The task of the climate change movement at the dawn of the twenty-first century was difficult but by no means impossible. Their ostensible goal was to create a consensus in the world’s industrial nations that would support the abandonment of fossil fuels and a transition to the less energy-intensive ways of living that renewable resources can provide. That would have required a good many well-off people to accept a decline in their standards of living, but that’s far from the insuperable obstacle so many people seem to think it must be. When Winston Churchill told the British people “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” his listeners roared their approval. For reasons that probably reach far into our evolutionary past, a call to shared sacrifice usually gets a rousing response, so long as the people who are being asked to sacrifice have reason to believe something worthwhile will come of it.

My point is that by the time 2000 had rolled around there had been essentially 20 years of the Reagan Revolution (of which Clinton was just a slightly kinder, friendlier version) that had already totally delegitimized many of the notions that had been predominant up to and beyond WWII; notions like self sacrifice (outside the military) for the greater good. Remember that Bush Jr.s  exhortation to US citizens after 9/11 was...to go shopping. Yes, that was ridiculed in many circles, but he wasn't drummed out of office. Can one begin to imagine Roosevelt (or any leader from the period, really) making such a plea after Pearl Harbor?

Anyway, by that time, the cards were pretty well stacked against those kinds of exhortations. It was also widely (though mostly erroneously) believed that Carter was driven from office mostly because of his 'sweater' speech, perhaps the last time that any president or major American leader has asked average Americans to go out of their way to do pretty much anything for the greater good (besides shopping!).

And the delegitimizing has to go pretty deep, it seems to me. We have to reconsider the notion that the highest purpose is to do things for the empowerment of mankind/humans. Instead, we have to start thinking of the highest priority to be limiting the power of humans. Such a notion is as abhorrent to most on the left as it is to those on the right (though often for somewhat different reasons).

So even if there had been a clear notion that it was a good idea to delegitimize TPTB and the systems that supported them, it would have been extremely hard/impossible to carry out in those contexts, imho. I do think that delegitimization of the ff companies in particular is exactly the strategy that McKibben is following currently.

I might also note that by the time Churchill said that, the Germans were a very current and present danger, and clear and immediate existential threat with a face. All the components that lend themselves to dramatic and effective psychological reactions, and all largely missing (except for those who can understand the signs and the science) from CC.

I hope that helped contextualize why I went back to earlier than the period Greer was discussing.

Anyway, keep the vital discussions and topics going. They are much needed and appreciated.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 12:45:22 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

ritter

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2015, 12:33:21 AM »
Curious. Does ISIS represent revolution? (please don't read that to indicate I agree with any of their objectives) I find it strange that they are being allowed to continue on their path. I guess we've got enough cheap oil at the moment that they are not destabilizing to the non-negotiable American life. And they are "over there," so to speak.

wili

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2015, 12:41:23 AM »
Interesting question.

I knew some folks way back in the '90s who had a notion of just what a mess we were in and saw Islamic revolt as about the only force with enough power to counter the existing power structure.

Not that any of them were particularly sympathetic with their cause. These guys were all from the very deep South, and fairly conservative in many ways. But they were smart and learned and didn't accepted the reality as they saw it for the mess that it was.

A general dictum is that you know what the power structure thinks is the greatest threat to it by looking at what it most demonizes. By that measure, at least, you may be on to something.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2015, 12:42:34 AM »
wili

We are certainly pretty compatible - hmm sounds like we are getting married.

Re: McKibben and Hansen.  They are involved in actions which reside within system standard civil disobedience/disruptions.  They have no intention of overthrowing the system but of changing it from within.  This has no chance of any meaningful success.  The system is designed to allow a certain amount of such activities and has standard methods for co-opting the leaders (once again see the environmental movement).  So I don't pay any attention to what they do as I long ago decided they were ineffectual.  Look back in our past life and compare the scale and complexity of the civil rights movement which had pretty much the entire structure of what Greer wrote about.  Then look at how little of that structure was in the environmental movement (and how what was was allowed to dissipate or was cop-opted) and how none of it is in the climate change movement.

Well we could certainly have a interesting discussion of whether McKibben is more useful to us than Greer I guess - and I think I would pick Greer.  Having one of the smartest guys in the room consistently putting forth such well reasoned explanations has great value (even when one does not agree with some of them).  And like I said I don' think what McKibben is doing has any effect.

Greer certainly has the knowledge to draw the template for how to execute a revolution and the first step for those wanting to do such is to figure out how it is done.  But that is not his original thought, he was just applying it to our situation.  He has also been pretty clear in his writings that he thinks we are way beyond the point where a revolution could be executed in time to deal with climate change.

The big kicker of course, and that he alluded to in his article, is that there is a well planned and so far well executed revolution underway in the US right now - that of the populist Right.  And it is pretty far along.  This attempted revolution will find success or failure pretty soon so we will have to deal with it right away regardless of what happens with climate change.

Collapse dynamics.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2015, 12:57:54 AM »
If it's too late for a revolution, then it's not much of a criticism to say someone has not effect.

But I think the effect McKibben is trying to have is, as I stated above (I think our texts crossed in the ether), exactly to delegitimize the ff companies.

Yes, that's not the entire system. But it's the crucial part of the system for this particular issue for now.

And I do think that the movement is building to something like that of the civil rights movement.

Did the civil rights movement have the full endorsement of the vatican (calling for world revolution against capitalism, by the way) and of a major Islamic council? Did they have coordinated protests happening in nearly every country around the world? Did it have numerous meetings of thousands of scientists coordinated by the United Nations?

Not all of those are as radical as we would like, but neither were many of the major events of the CR movement as radical as its most far-seeing thinkers would have wanted (many, for example, see the March On Washington as a watered down coopting of the originally planned Poor People's march that it replaced).

Anyway, I do obviously think that good writing and analysis is valuable and even essential. But Greer's analysis still leaves a bit to be desired, in my opinion, and I would like to see him come up with some concrete proposals to 'bell the cat,' and even better, to be actively organizing a movement to actually do so.

...on the thing about the right, I continue to be perplexed and bewildered why we saw so much protest and organized anger from the right after the economic melt down--IT WAS THE LOGICAL RESULT OF THEIR OWN FREAKIN' IDEOLOGY afterall! (Sorry to yell.)

And so little anger (reported, at least) from the left, until Occupy, which fizzled. What an opportunity lost.

But again, the other side has been reading from the same playbook.

They managed to delegitimize communism and those that espoused it, socialism and anything that smacked of it, and more recently liberalism and anything that wasn't about making money.

The state as also been much more consistent at disrupting anything happening on the left than things on the right.--As GawainG notes in the comment section (see, I even read the comments!  ;D): "A relative of mine was undercover in California in the 60's where 5 out 7 of the "leadership" of a radical group were law enforcement hellbent on delegitimsing [sic] the movement." Such stories could be multiplied many times.


The press largely ignores even major, large events sponsored by the left while even a few angry voices on the right seem to get all sorts of press. And of course there are all sorts of well funded think tanks, astro-turf groups and other kinds of support on the right that the left doesn't have.

None of those are excuses for many poor decisions and strategies, but an 'analysis' that leaves them out is just not presenting anything like a full picture.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 01:28:19 AM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2015, 01:20:29 AM »
Curious. Does ISIS represent revolution? (please don't read that to indicate I agree with any of their objectives) I find it strange that they are being allowed to continue on their path. I guess we've got enough cheap oil at the moment that they are not destabilizing to the non-negotiable American life. And they are "over there," so to speak.

I may be misunderstanding your post as I can think of more than one way to interpret it.

First we very likely do not have the power/determination to eliminate ISIS.  Stamping out radical religious movements is almost impossible once they have reached a critical mass.  And ISIS is a big entity at this point.

Second they are not really revolutionary.

ISIS is evolutional in terms of its existence.  It was created by US efforts to destroy the Al Queada groups which came to Iraq to fight the US after our invasion.  The Al Queada group which formed in Iraq (it was not there beforehand as Saddam would have killed them) was a much harsher version than Bin Laden's direct controlled groups and really went off the reservation over time fighting us - damned effectively I might add.  As we attempted to crush this group and its leaders we ended up incarcerating the ones we did not kill in prisons in Iraq.  There, in their spare time, they devised a plan and strategy with the eventual goal of creating ISIS.  But they were not overthrowing a system or conducting a revolution.  They realized they were winning the war and planned on the next step in the growth to radical Islam.  The creation of the Caliphate.  So their plan was to supplant Al Queada (and Bin Laden) by going to the next level up the ladder.  A Caliphate is not just a state like the US.  It is a specific form of Islamic government which must hold territory and who's leader is a successor to the prophet Muhammed.  Theoretically this gives him great power throughout the Islamic world as he speaks for Muhammed.  When he calls for jihad against Islams enemies it puts all Muslins (to those who believe in his authority) under obligation to come fight for him.  This is one of the reasons why he has had a huge success getting fighters to come to the Middle East and to perform attacks in many countries (so they are not really 'over there' anymore but everywhere).  Baghdadi is much more powerful and dangerous than Bin Laden ever was as he has what many in Islam consider to be legitimate claims to divine power.   Jut killing him will not eliminate ISIS either.  To do that you have to eliminate the state as well.

You can see by events that the US is totally mismanaging dealing with radical Islam.  And it is not just Obama as it was the same with both the Bushes and Clinton and Reagan as well.  We deliberately stoked the fires of radical Islam to tweak the Soviets and then seemed to do everything we could at each succeeding decision point to make them stronger.  ISIS is so strong now that we are working with the Al Queada groups in Syria to fight them.  So we are in bed with Al Queada again - this is a no win situation.

It would be fiendishly difficult to destroy them as the more we attack them the more legitimate it makes them in the eyes of Muslims and the more there are who will flock to their cause. This is why they publically cut the throats of hostages and behead them.  It is a deliberate provocation to get us to attack them.  And it works splendidly.  If we put ground troops into Iraq again and Syria as many want the war will expand tremendously. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Martin Gisser

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2015, 01:29:24 AM »
Looking from Barvaria methinks the problem in the U.S. is political correctness and tolerance: You 'merricans just can't say b***sh*t when you hear b***sh*t. (Well, Obama recently almost spelled it out with his "anger translator" protesting. That's why I now regard him a genius. Al Gore needed several drinks to say the wörd in Davos a few years back. Else, silence. And by implication, respect for the bullshitters.)

First step, you need to make bullshitting and denial no longer socially acceptable. (Cf. Kari Norgaard's book "Living in Denial")

ritter

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2015, 01:41:43 AM »
Curious. Does ISIS represent revolution? (please don't read that to indicate I agree with any of their objectives) I find it strange that they are being allowed to continue on their path. I guess we've got enough cheap oil at the moment that they are not destabilizing to the non-negotiable American life. And they are "over there," so to speak.

I may be misunderstanding your post as I can think of more than one way to interpret it.

Musing more than anything. What I find horrifically fascinating about ISIS is their recruitment. They've managed to capitalize on the vast number of young men without direction, without access to education, money or sufficient food security. Come, join us and find power! I concur with your ISIS was born of Iraq folly. Perhaps we in the US have simply not slipped far enough down the toilet bowl for revolution.

When I dream (have nightmares of) climate change and economic collapse, it looks a lot like ISIS. Does that represent revolution, devolution, other? I dunno. I think it is part of the great unraveling.

JimD

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2015, 01:43:54 AM »
wili

Occupy never had a chance as they were just the type of ad hoc movement which the system could quickly defang.  My relatives who are card carrying members of the Anarchist Party just laughed at them.  I asked them why they were not supporting them and was told there was no point as they would never stick with it.

The Right would, of course, completely disagree with your characterization that the meltdown was due to their ideology - but then you know that too.  That melt down happened due to the market not being allowed to be fully free, regulations hampering business, taxes, unions, social security, liberals getting in the way, college professors!, illegal immigrants, the Russians, the Chinese, Islamic terrorists, communists, socialists,.....  There is no problem finding a scapegoat.

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They managed to delegitimize communism and those that espoused it, socialism and anything that smacked of it, and more recently liberalism and anything that wasn't about making money.

The state as also been much more consistent at disrupting anything happening on the left than things on the right. The press largely ignores even major, large events sponsored by the left while even a few angry voices on the right seem to get all sorts of press. And of course there are all sorts of well funded think tanks, astro-turf groups and other kinds of support on the right that the left doesn't have.

This, of course, is a feature not a bug.  The Right's plan to create a new form of government is much farther along due to its being in play for decades.  They have done just what Greer described.  They have gone a long way towards delegitimatizing what used to be the accepted American political structure which came out of the Great Depression.  As far as the Right is concerned they are reversing the overthrow of the US conducted by Roosevelt.  And they are going to fix all the weaknesses which allowed this to happen (and they have done a pretty effective job of it too) and put in place a proper conservative government which recognizes a Christian God as the ultimate authority.   There are lots of weaknesses in their plan of course so don't despair.  We have the Duggars helping us out.

Greer thinks they are approaching the end game of their revolution and I am not so sure he is not right.  They are on the brink of political success and even if it does not come in 16 they are not going to give up on their plan.  Do you doubt that when they think the time is right that third step of violence will not be at least selectively used to further their chances of success?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bruce Steele

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2015, 01:53:47 AM »
JimD, For the Druid I think this paragraph sums things up

"  That, however, was precisely what the climate change movement was unable to provide. It’s harsh but not, I think, unfair to describe the real agenda of the movement as the attempt to create a future in which the industrial world’s middle classes could keep on enjoying the benefits of their privileged lifestyle without wrecking the atmosphere in the process. Of course it’s not exactly easy to convince everyone else in the world to put aside all their own aspirations for the sake of the already privileged, and so the spokespeople of the climate change movement generally didn’t talk about what they hoped to achieve. Instead, they fell into the most enduring bad habit of the left, and ranted instead about how awful the future would be if the rest of the world didn’t fall into line behind them. "

Maybe part of the problem is describing how 7 billion of us actually squeeze ourselves into that <  two tons of CO2 we can each be responsible for 
producing " without wreaking the atmosphere "   Even though the Druid proposes collapsing in some long slow walk back in technology I have doubt even he has any plans to get down to the individual emissions targets necessary to maintain atmospheric CO2 levels in the 350 ppm range and none of us know how to remove that extra CO2 we have already produced.  So for the left to describe what they "hoped to achieve" was somehow to describe something that could not be achieved. 
To be fair some people may individually be close to the < two ton target but they are hardly in a position to start any revolutions. 
An honest evaluation of the sacrifice necessary will have to be in discussion with the population at large at some point and an honest evaluation of what that sacrifice looks like ( with examples ) would be nice to see offered somewhere as well.
Other wise I am afraid the left and the right are still united in their pursuit of a miracle technological fix.  

wili

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2015, 02:06:03 AM »
"for the left to describe what they "hoped to achieve" was somehow to describe something that could not be achieved."

Thanks Bruce. That's what I was going to say, but you said it better.

Jim, the rabid right certainly has the hardware to do something military.

I think it will become a matter of how many rightwing sympathizers are in the ranks of the actual police and military. Because, for raw gun power, the US military and police far outgun any nation or conceivable collection of nations, so thinking that by themselves any group of citizens could pose a direct threat to it is kind of a joke, it seems to me.

Mostly, though, individuals on the far right seem to be motivated by paranoia and deep irrational fears. This of course is not incompatible with violence, but usually it's not a very well organized or effective kind of violence. And my general impression of people who surround themselves with guns is that they are not particularly brave people....just sayin'.

But if an organized rightwing white violent insurgence were to get going at the same time as a Black one, which do you supposed would be more violently suppressed??  ::)

Martin, I call BS on all of your claims! ' ;D ;D
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Martin Gisser

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2015, 02:15:56 AM »
What I find horrifically fascinating about ISIS is their recruitment. They've managed to capitalize on the vast number of young men without direction, without access to education, money or sufficient food security. Come, join us and find power!
Many of these recruits are youths from Germany, France, Britain, etc. Mostly young males who aren't yet behind their puberty crisis. Testosterone! Plus, a simple ideology for their simplicity seeking brains. Not insufficient food. That's what makes them psychopathic killing machines.  Often me cynic thinks it is good they go to Syria and get killed - which is much cheaper than getting locked in prisons and asylums in Germany etc. (But alas the collateral innocent victims)

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When I dream (have nightmares of) climate change and economic collapse, it looks a lot like ISIS. Does that represent revolution, devolution, other? I dunno. I think it is part of the great unraveling.
Me, too. Instead of turning toward outside reality, Homo S "Sapiens" chooses to turn inside and instead spin the wheel of madness. You see it in Washington DC, you see it in Syria.

Can't we offer them something else? There's this challenge of global ecological collapse. A singular challenge to mankind, never seen before in the history of hominids. A century which changes everything, challenges everything which Holocene hominids have achieved. This should mobilize the young. We need a green al-Baghdadi...

wili

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2015, 04:25:26 AM »
Yeah, well, kind of.

In some of our unfulfillable dreams there would be local governments and a world order that would oversee a planned collapse with many elements similar to those of the US New Deal during the '30's--projects planned to keep youth, immigrants and others busy working and fed.

But these would involve replanting forests, reestablishing prairies, moving vital infrastructure away from coastal areas and other places prone to flooding, super-insulating homes and businesses, establishing urban farms, and putting a lot of people back on the land with free training and basic support systems, lots of other training in repair, tinkering scavenging, basic medical training...the kinds of skills that will be widely needed in an...uncertain future.

This is not going to happen, of course, and lots of people scream about totalitarianism and North Korea and worse in many circles if one even mentions anything like it in many forums.

But done right (and even if done not quite perfectly imho), it seems to me far superior to the accelerating uncontrolled collapse that looks almost inevitable at this point, that will result basically in Syrias everywhere, and tidal waves of migration where migrants are stuck in horrifically untenable situations (think of Calais on steroids).
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bruce Steele

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2015, 05:04:22 AM »
Wili, There are tens of thousands of people trimming weed in Northern Calif. this time of year. They are camping out in groups ,trading stories over the campfire ,and generally carrying on a hippy culture long since buried by us Boomers. With just a small amount of effort some of those groups might support your planned collapse and some of them are probably already there. Advertising how your quasi clandestine group operates is about as stupid as promoting revolution on the Internet but I would bet ( and no I haven't been camping myself lately ) there are some very nice examples of low energy lifestyles that are also a lot of fun. Downsizing with a grin. 

JimD

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2015, 07:42:58 PM »
Bruce

Re: the 2 tonnes per capita you mentioned. 

This goes right to a point I have tried very hard to get many of those who advocate the progressive green-BAU approaches to understand.  This goal of less than 2 tonne is just above the average per capita emissions of Africa.  There is no one in their camp who has signed up for an African level of lifestyle - and the black BAU crowd of course would laugh at anyone proposing such craziness. 

But what does a say 1.5 tonne per capita mean in reality.  With 7 billion that is 10.5 Gtonnes of emissions.  Hmmm.  If we live that lifestyle in 2050 with the 9.3~billion projected that means 14 Gtonnes of emissions.

I have pointed out that the above figures guarantee that the rise in CO2 never stops.  Even at 1 tonne per capita that statement holds.  This fact for some reason just does not get traction.  It is a devastating point.  It blows all their ideas and plans right out of the water.  What they are doing is pointless UNLESS they sign on to dramatic population reductions. Amplifying feedbacks are going to kick in and the wealth to execute any geo-engineering projects (scary shit) to remove emissions will be constantly diminishing as time goes forward. 

Btw Greer does not really 'propose' that stair step down in technology.  What I think he is saying is that is the way collapse always progressed in the past and what we should expect.  It makes a lot of sense that as our ability to hold a certain level of complexity goes away we automatically lose the technologies dependent on that level of complexity.  He strongly recommends to those who want to prepare for this to learn how to use, build and maintain less complex technologies which have gone out of fashion while there is time to get prepared.  It gives one skills for the future and the ability to make a living.  This process of loss and stabilization continues until we reach a sustainable bottom.  Then we start the climb back up.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bruce Steele

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2015, 08:34:13 PM »
JimD, The question of how much CO2 we can collectively emit without causing a long term increase in atmospheric CO2 needs some guesswork I suppose but I believe it is a very small amount. Much less than the 10.5 Gt that radical downsizing might achieve with current population. Even half the current population at < 2 tons per would be a level that in thousand year scales would likely result in rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  Maybe human populations are more tied to a technological fix than some slow step-down in technology. Not a comfortable thought .
 So I always read the techno-fix options like a man lost at sea too long and seeing another mirage, but for a second hoping to make land.

JimD

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2015, 10:56:40 PM »
JimD, The question of how much CO2 we can collectively emit without causing a long term increase in atmospheric CO2 needs some guesswork I suppose but I believe it is a very small amount. Much less than the 10.5 Gt that radical downsizing might achieve with current population. Even half the current population at < 2 tons per would be a level that in thousand year scales would likely result in rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  Maybe human populations are more tied to a technological fix than some slow step-down in technology. Not a comfortable thought .
 So I always read the techno-fix options like a man lost at sea too long and seeing another mirage, but for a second hoping to make land.

Yes.  Any form of civilization above the level of the hunter/gatherer will generate emissions.  So when I say dramatic population reductions are absolutely essential I fully acknowledge that this does not stop emissions in any way.  But it really reduces the magnitude of them.  Coupled with reductions in lifestyles, efficiency improvements, new technologies, and such then it buys us the most important thing that we don't have now.  Time.  If instead of having 20-30 years to solve this problem we can extend that time out to 1000 years?  Or 10,000 years?

There is no known form of civilization which is truly sustainable in a very long term sense of course.  However, if we get ourselves a time cushion we just might be able to overcome problems which we are now and will for some time be unable to solve.  That's where I am going.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ritter

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2015, 11:16:50 PM »
JimD, The question of how much CO2 we can collectively emit without causing a long term increase in atmospheric CO2 needs some guesswork I suppose but I believe it is a very small amount. Much less than the 10.5 Gt that radical downsizing might achieve with current population. Even half the current population at < 2 tons per would be a level that in thousand year scales would likely result in rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  Maybe human populations are more tied to a technological fix than some slow step-down in technology. Not a comfortable thought .
 So I always read the techno-fix options like a man lost at sea too long and seeing another mirage, but for a second hoping to make land.

Yes.  Any form of civilization above the level of the hunter/gatherer will generate emissions.  So when I say dramatic population reductions are absolutely essential I fully acknowledge that this does not stop emissions in any way.  But it really reduces the magnitude of them.  Coupled with reductions in lifestyles, efficiency improvements, new technologies, and such then it buys us the most important thing that we don't have now.  Time.  If instead of having 20-30 years to solve this problem we can extend that time out to 1000 years?  Or 10,000 years?

There is no known form of civilization which is truly sustainable in a very long term sense of course.  However, if we get ourselves a time cushion we just might be able to overcome problems which we are now and will for some time be unable to solve.  That's where I am going.

I'm not convinced we'd save our bacon if we dropped to zero emission today. I think the Arctic ice will still go under that scenario and trigger a whole sh!t storm of positive CO2 and methane emitting feedbacks (permafrost melt, methane hydrates, etc.). One can argue what our emissions should be. I argue that it's time to switch gears and brace for impact.

Geoengineering will be tried, likely with catastrophic consequences for many regions. Our population will most likely crash. The more adaptive planning and infrastructure hardening we can do beginning now, the more likely some of the species will survive to climb back up the ladder. Disease and starvation will likely be the biggest culprits of that slide and we can only overcome those horsemen with preservation of knowledge and science. What a mess.

Bruce Steele

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2015, 11:38:14 PM »
Sigmetnow posted this on the CCS page

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/19082015/greenhouse-gas-dreamliner-nanofibers-offer-new-life-co2-carbon-geoengineering

So if they can synthesize Carbon nano fibers  at $ 1000 a ton maybe they can  make a machine that lays a monorail or power grid lines to replace infrastructure and pull  down some CO2 in the process?

I guess I am making the argument that back to nature isn't a solution even though it grates against some romantic notions I may prefer.   

Martin Gisser

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2015, 12:46:23 AM »
Yes.  Any form of civilization above the level of the hunter/gatherer will generate emissions.
Not necessarily: In pre-Columbian times there was a huge civilization in the Amazon doing carbon sequestrating agriculture. They used char coal (aka biochar) to produce an amazingly stable and fertile soil called Terra Preta. We just have to do this again.

The war cry is: Recarbonize the biosphere!

I guess I am making the argument that back to nature isn't a solution even though it grates against some romantic notions I may prefer.   
It is the only solution known. But it is not an either-or thing. (Thus maybe difficult to comprehend.) We just need 1-2 billion recabonization jihadis who like to enjoy primitve life and make Terra Preta soil. The rest (poor ones!) has to be kept in megacities dependent on the eco/food-services of the recarbonizers. (A mutual dependency actually: E.g. my dentist in the city would still be allowed to have a 2-3 ton carbon footprint. I'll pay him in carbon-backed currency (wet weight of char coal would be a good unit of exchange).)

All we need is a green al-Baghdadi or a 3rd Buddha to inspire a caliphate of recarbonizers or some quasi-religious order. Plus, a little donation from the Bill&Melinda Gates fund.

The whole idea borders to the ridiculously tautological. Never before has ethical reasoning been that simple: Just look what science facts are telling. E.g. in Buddhist lingo: Not carbon negative, no bodhisattva, Not carbon negative, no sangha. (That should suffice to inspire several 100 million Buddhists - but well, it seems too simple for mortals to grasp.)

My alter ego, Florifulgurator, outlined it first here: http://questioneverything.typepad.com/question_everything/2009/08/getting-serious.html?cid=6a00e54f9ea2e588340120a5247e60970c#comment-6a00e54f9ea2e588340120a5247e60970c

AbruptSLR

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Re: The Climate Change Movement - Abject failure - why?
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2015, 05:16:09 PM »
The linked Nature article cites how the carbon credit plan in Russia is actually increasing GHG emissions:

http://www.nature.com/news/carbon-credit-scheme-linked-to-increased-greenhouse-gas-production-1.18238

Extract: "Factories in Russia increased their production of industrial waste products and then claimed millions of carbon credits for destroying them after an international trading scheme went into effect."

See also:
Schneider, L. & Kollmuss, A. Nature Clim. Change http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCLIMATE2772 (2015).
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson