Climate Restoration Tradeoff

Humanity needs to cut a few activities we love out of our schedules. Flying is one example, meat eating is another. There are many. For the opponents and deniers this constitute an attack on their individual freedom and lifestyle, something that is just not allowed. The word that applies there is ‘entitlement’ these people feel entitled to a cheap holiday or a heart attack diet.

With al the BLM distractions the climate deniers have it easy. They don’t even object that cutting emissions now will not fix the mess we are in. That would also mean they aknowledge the mess, which they would not want to do. Once you choose to lie, you can lie yourself a fantasy reason can’t find a way out of. The only truth remaining is death, and as we see with Covid19 in the USA, even death does not sway magical thinkers.

But truely, if you want to be fair just because you know it puts people at ease, how do you allocate damaging activities to people. For myself I made a rule around 2007 or so to not fly unless I have something serious to do at the other end, so only trips to congresses or for work. I broke that rule once 5 years ago to fly to Greece. Many other occasions tempted but I did not fly.

How do you calculate what damage is justified by anyone. How do we decide when we get the opportunity who gets to travel and who doesn’t. Its a stupid question, because it is imaginable that we all live without doing damage to the environment at all. We just need to spread out, a move banks don’t want us to make. Deserts can be greened no problem with solar and wind energy. Internet connects us all, transportation can be solar/electric. No reason to destroy the atmosphere, there never was.

But if we attempt to gage the damage of one persons actions we come up with very little benefit. If you give everyone a personal carbon budget you don’t help much because a lot of people won’t consume it, if you trade it that consumption will be enjoyed by richer people but prices of rights will drop and in the end all the budget of everybody will be consumed. This is what emissions right trade is causing today. Dirty stacks burn in the Ukraine, and clean countries sell the credits. It’s just a banking trick as all the other banking tricks we are stuck in.

The climate benefit of actions needs to be determined. If I consume 1 kWh serving this post to you and other readers, and you and other readers change behaviour and think about this topic and how to maximize actual climate impact of actions, that’s a 1kWh well spend. Could even be a solar kWh, which sounds better but of course then the importance of you reading this must outweigh the good that 1 kWh could have done elsewhere.

I’m trying to build a lightweight boat that can travel fast on solar. This could have benefits in terms of reducing emissions. I am trying to develop a substance that can turn CO2 into Methane or Ethanol. The energy spend there could reduce the climate problem. Most people just ‘do their jobs’ meaning they wait for the money, then go out and consider it fair if they just do whaterver the hell they want, after all their freedom was restricted, and now they are supposed to be free (so fuck vegetarians, get me a steak a beer and lets go to Greece!).

If I move to a desert and start planting trees my cost would be marginal, just food and water and medical insurance. But my benefit could be substantial, as nobody does what I do in that desert. Nature can heal itself but humans can do a lot to help. Right now humans should do everything it their power to help, without help it will not be fixed. But if I make that move, do I get credits? How much should I get? From whome. How do my actions translate into effect?

Maybe we should create a shadow accounting system that keeps track of actions that warrant climate credits. Then we need a political movement that will reward people with credits. So if you have climate credits you are given the best seats on the terras, the best rooms in hotels, the best food and service. This is because you do strangers a service. Where banks will force entrepeneurs to squeeze every cent out of customers as they take the better seat or get the better treatment, climate credits turn it around. It is more of an honour to host a guest who has so much compassion and care for the lives of every living thing.

The process involves creating a credit, then assigning it to people in a transparent way, and giving people that you assign it to attention, as to people who respect the credit. It must be a fungible asset, but buying or selling it is a no-no, it will destroy it instantly. This will create a positive incentive structure towards true climate responsibility. It can be made a rule that a person that earns an x number of climate credits will earn the right to pollute, or the right to travel in a non polluting but more expensive method.