Pielke's Weekly Memo #12
Magic Beans as climate policy, United in (Bad) Science, Pakistan's floods, a new talk, recommended readings and goals of the week!
Lots to cover this week, so I’ll keep things tight and moving.
Magic beans as climate policy
I’ve noticed a recent increase in what I’ll call “magic beans” thinking as climate policy. It is exemplified by aggressive calls for the impossible, such as in the Tweet below from U.N Secretary General António Guterres demanding that the “current fossil fuel free-for-all must end now.”
Presumably by “current fossil fuel free-for-all” Guterres is referring to countries that are stocking up on fossil fuels for the coming winter and taking every step possible to ensure security of supply. Energy services that make possible modern life are due in large part — more than 80% in 2021 — to the consumption of fossil fuels. Recognizing this fact doesn’t make one a fossil fuel shill or a climate denier (both of which I was called this week after pointing this out) — it makes one a card carrying member of the reality-based community.
There are long-term goals to reduce dependence on fossil fuels dramatically, even completely. These goals are worthwhile as they will reduce environmental impacts, lower energy costs and increase energy security. But they can’t happen immediately. Calls for abandonment of fossil fuels now reflects “magic beans” thinking, and not anything remotely related to realistic or pragmatic policy. We might expect such demands from passionate but uniformed campaigners, but we should expect better from the Secretary General of the U.N..
Before long I’ll do a full post on “magic beans” thinking as climate policy. Meantime, please send me examples of demands for the impossible as you encounter them.
And now the jump to United in (Bad) Science, Pakistan's floods, a new talk, recommended readings and goals of the week!
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