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robertogreco : genevieveguenther   2

Dr. Genevieve Guenther on Twitter: "@GlobalEcoGuy @keya_chatterjee @MichaelEMann @Peters_Glen Hi Jon, my apologies for taking so long to reply to your question. I was solo-parenting today. Anyhow, I have a very long answer for you. One of these days I sho
“Anyhow, I have a very long answer for you. One of these days I should write something about this, but for now lots of tweets…

I think you’re right that aviation has become a domain for virtue signaling. But also I think it still encapsulates real issues that the climate movement must grapple with.

I think there are two different contexts in which to consider these issues. The first is that of the climate movement. What should be expected from people who publicly declare that we must stop emitting GHGs and who try to move our culture and politics to that goal?

My opinion is that people in the climate movement should do everything they can to reduce their own personal emissions.

I am persuaded by the research showing that our doing so increases our public credibility and inoculates us against the charge of moral hypocrisy.

I also believe that reducing our personal emissions gives extra (and necessary) force to our argument that only political action leading to systemic change will solve the climate crisis.

The “we need systemic change” argument is weakened considerably insofar as it seems like self-justification for continuing to enjoy high-carbon pleasures.

Ask your gut: would Greta Thunberg have so galvanized the world if she had flown around Europe to deliver her speeches?

That said, Glen is also clearly right: being able not to fly depends on a number of contingencies. Many people have to fly for work or to see family.

Many climate leaders have to fly. Should Jay Inslee, for example, not fly while he’s campaigning for president? Surely not.

Should island nations send their delegates to the COPs by boat? Perhaps not be the best use of their resources. But delegates of high emitting nations? Absolutely, they should travel to the COPs emitting the least GHGs as possible. Climate justice from the get-go, I say.

And the political is the personal & visa versa. If flying were a country, its emissions would be sixth largest in the world. And out of the entire population, only 1.5% of us are responsible for the majority of aviation emissions. Flying is climate injustice full stop.

I think considering questions of climate justice in one’s personal practices should be encouraged or even normalized. And who else is going to do that work but people in the climate movement?

As for the argument that calling for the end of unnecessary flying hurts the climate movement because it plays into the hands of the fossil fuel industry…

I can see how the ff industry / denial machine wants to keep everyone’s attention on consumption rather than the managed decline of the ff economy, and I agree it’s tricky to be talking about personal behavior change in a public forum for that reason.
But I think climate twitter is more of a bubble than it seems, and there is a gap between the conversations and debates to be had here and our communication to the general public. (The general public sphere being the second context in which to consider this issue.)
I never try to persuade my friends, my colleagues outside of the climate movement, or the audiences for my talks that they should stop flying. Never.

Not only because it’s a shocking idea for people who have yet to be mobilized, but also because the *only* worthwhile public message IMHO is that everyone needs to take actions that demand and attempt to force *political* and *institutional* change.

But if I am asked I say that I have committed to not flying, and I say why: once I understood that emitting GHGs is fatally dangerous, I felt a kind of categorical imperative to emit as little of them as possible…

…even though the reduction of my own personal emissions of GHGs won’t make any *quantitative* difference overall.

Let me say right away that I have failed in my commitment by flying to Pittsburgh to give a paper beccause I didn’t have time to take the train for family reasons, and…

I flew once w my son and will again until he’s old enough to tolerate the idea of how dangerous climate change might be and why his entire world needs to change. He already knows why we have to cut back (from 8 flights a year to once in 3 years); that’s enough for now.

So it’s complicated, I fuck up all the time, my motherhood conflicts with my activism, we’re all human.

But I am tortured by the question: if we need to bring our emissions down to net zero in 30 years, and the tech for net zero flight is not there yet, everyone is going to need to stop or curtail their flying at least temporarily, no? So why not start now?

And I will acknowledge that sometimes I speak too harshly and admit that I do so because it hurts me, makes me feel most despondent and hopeless, when the people who understand climate change the best are no more willing to give up flying than anyone else.

I know lots of people dislike me for the way I talk about flying. And I see that flying is becoming an increasingly contentious issue.

But as far as wedges go, I think that not grappling w the problem, but dismissing or subtweeting w barely concealed contempt people who express dismay about flying is also pretty divisive.

That said, I realize that nearly everyone I respect and who has devoted their life to this problem disagrees with me. I know that the people who disagree with me want the climate movement to succeed and the world to decarbonize.

I just passionately believe that we are more likely to succeed if we signal the urgency with our actions, unite the word with the deed, and also…

show that life is absolutely beautiful, and meaningful, and interesting, and rewarding, and that people can be successful and have amazing experiences, without needing to spew plumes of carbon dioxide into the sky or, really, ever get on a plane.“
planes  airplanes  flight  climatechange  activism  genevieveguenther  2019  travel  signaling  gretathunberg  morality  hypocrisy  fossilfuels  environment  sustainability  parenting  responsibility  carbonemissions  aviation  flygskam  guilt  shame  carbonfootprint  flying  flyingshame  flightshame  emissions  airlines  climate 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
Who is the we in “We are causing climate change”?
"People writing on climate change really like to use the word we. “We could have prevented global warming in the ’80s.” “We are emitting more carbon dioxide than ever.” “We need to ramp up solutions to the climate crisis.”

That verbal tic was in full effect on Monday, after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its special report on the differences between 1.5 degree and 2 degree Celsius global warming. The IPCC stated in no uncertain terms that climate change will threaten the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the next decades unless greenhouse-gas emissions halve in 10 years and cease entirely in 30. In response, one prominent climate journalist wrote on Twitter, “We had plenty of time & warning to avoid this fate, without undue disruption, but now we can only avoid it with EXTREME disruption. Given how badly we’ve botched it so far, odds are we’ll continue to go too slow.”

Given that climate change is a global problem, the temptation to use we makes sense. But there’s a real problem with it: The guilty collective it invokes simply doesn’t exist. The we responsible for climate change is a fictional construct, one that’s distorting and dangerous. By hiding who’s really responsible for our current, terrifying predicament, we provides political cover for the people who are happy to let hundreds of millions of other people die for their own profit and pleasure.

I mean, think about it. Who is this we? Does it include the 735 million who, according to the World Bank, live on less than $2 a day? Does it include the approximately 5.5 billion people who, according to Oxfam, live on between $2 and $10 a day? Does it include the millions of people, all over the world (400,000 alone in the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City) doing whatever they can to lower their own emissions and counter the fossil-fuel industry? Does it include Bill McKibben, the elder statesman of the climate movement who wrote his first book about climate change in 1989? How about Greta Thunberg, the 15-year-old girl currently sitting outside the Swedish Parliament on a school strike demanding that her government implement policies that actually end fossil-fuel production, distribution, and consumption? Does it include the indigenous peoples who lived in harmony with their ecosystems for generations upon generations? Does it include our children?

Look, I understand that the we seems real. The fossil-fuel economy, for the moment, provides the structure for what people do on this planet. In its inclusions and exclusions, its laying out the conditions of possibility for human action, it seems totalizing, especially from a middle-class American vantage point. But it’s not totalizing. And it’s certainly not eternal. It requires active reproduction at every moment in time: through subsidies, through construction and repair of its infrastructure, through court cases that uphold its laws, through protection of its “assets” by the military, through Instagram photos that pretend its benefits will bring you joy, and on and on.

Instead of thinking of climate change as something we are doing, always remember that there are millions, possibly billions, of people on this planet who would rather preserve civilization than destroy it with climate change, who would rather have the fossil-fuel economy end than continue. Those people are not all mobilized, by any means, but they are there. Most people are good.

But remember, too, that there are others, some of them running the world, who seem to be willing to destroy civilization and let millions of people die in order that the fossil-fuel economy to continue now. We know who those people are. We are not those people.

Remember as well that there are degrees of complicity. Without structural changes paid for collectively, most of us have no alternative but to use fossil fuels to some degree. As individuals, we must do the very best we can. But constrained choices are not akin to the unthinking complicity of the 10 percent who produce 50 percent of global emissions every year by taking multiple long-haul flights for pleasure travel, heating their homes instead of putting on a sweater, and driving swollen SUVs that they replace every few years. Nor are constrained choices akin to the deep and shameful complicity of the many in the print and television news media who refuse to mention climate change even in the stories about climate change effects they’re already reporting.

Complicit people and institutions must be called out and encouraged to change. And the fossil-fuel industry must be fought, and the governments that support the fossil-fuel economy must be replaced. But none of us will be effective in this if we think of climate change as something we are doing. To think of climate change as something that we are doing, instead of something we are being prevented from undoing, perpetuates the very ideology of the fossil-fuel economy we’re trying to transform.

Climate change may well inspire a reckoning for you about what it means to be human and what your morals are. Fine. But always remember: This is a battle against the forces of destruction to save something of this achingly beautiful, utterly miraculous world for your children. The fossil-fuel industry and the governments that support it are literally colluding to stop you from creating a world that runs on safe energy. They are trying to maintain the fossil-fuel economy. As for me, and for the millions of people who want to undo climate change, I say: We are against them, and we are going to fight for dear life."
climatechange  genevieveguenther  2018  elitism  journalism  inequality  privilege  complicity 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco

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