Chapter 10 Can we mobilize fast enough? Jennifer Joyce & Alexandra Kotis.
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Chapter 10 Can we mobilize fast enough? Jennifer Joyce & Alexandra Kotis
Plan B Goals 1. Stabilize Climate 2. Stabilize Population 3. Eradicate Poverty 4. Restore the economy’s natural support systems There are four mutually dependent Plan B goals:
Methods Shifting Taxes Shifting Subsidies Eliminating coal-powered plants Reducing fossil fuel use Increasing biological sequestration Methods to achieving the Plan B goals:
Shifting Taxes Lower taxes on income while raising those on environmentally destructive activities. The cost to society of smoking cigarettes: $10.47 per pack The indirect cost of gasoline: $12 per gallon The price of the environmentally destructive activity is incorporated in the tax rate, and the market determines the amount of activity that will occur at that price.
Shifting Subsidies Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies will reduce carbon emissions. Example: Germany Reduced its coal subsidy from €6.7 billion to €2.5 billion As a result coal use dropped by 34%.
Eliminating Coal-Powered Plants The principal reason for eliminating coal-powered plants is that they are effecting detrimental changes to the earth’s climate. The United States now has, in effect, a de facto moratorium on the building of new coal-fired power plants. In 2008 only 5 coal- powered plants were completed, while nearly 100 new wind farms were added. Denmark and New Zealand have already banned the building of new coal-powered plants. Eliminating coal-powered plants will help to achieve the goal of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2020.
Reducing Fossil Fuel Use Replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy for generating electricity and heat will reduce carbon emissions in 2020 by more than 3.2 billion tons. In addition to eliminating coal-powered electricity, other cuts come from eliminating all the oil and 70% of the natural gas used to create electricity. In the transport sector, the greatly reduced use of oil will eliminate 1.4 billion tons of carbon emissions. In addition, reduction in fossil fuel use relies on shifting long-haul freight from trucks to trains, electrifying freight and passenger trains, and using green electricity to power them.
Increasing Biological Sequestration Bringing forestation to a halt by 2020 would eliminate 1.5 billion tons of carbon emissions per year. Planting trees on deforested areas and marginal lands will sequester more than 860 million tons of carbon each year. Better land use management would include planting more cover crops during the off-season and using more perennials instead of annuals in cropping patterns. A carbon tax of $200 per ton would be paid by the oil and coal companies, the primary producers of carbon.
Three Models of Social Change The Catastrophic Event Model The Berlin Wall Model The Sandwich Model
The Catastrophic Event Model A dramatic even fundamentally changes how we think and behave. Example: The possible breakup of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Huge parts of the sheet could break off and raise sea level two or three feet within a matter of years. Drawbacks: If we have to wait for a catastrophic event to change our behavior, it might be too late.
The Berlin Wall Model The society reaches a tipping point on a particular issue often after an extended period of gradual change in thinking and attitudes. Drawbacks: Slow progress and lack of government support.
The Sandwich Model A strong grassroots movement pushes for change on a particular issue that is fully supported by strong political leadership. This model is the most attractive because it brings a potential for rapid change, and has the support of national leadership.
The Plan B Budget Basic Social Goals Universal primary education $10 billion Eradication of adult illiteracy $4 billion School lunch programs for 44 poorest countries $6 billion Assistance to preschool children and pregnant women in 44 poorest countries $4 billion Reproductive health and family planning $17 billion Universal basic health care $33 billion Closing the condom gap $3 billion
The Plan B Budget Earth Restoration Goals Planting trees to reduce flooding and conserve soil $6 billion Planting trees to sequester carbon $17 billion Protecting topsoil on cropland $24 billion Restoring rangelands $9 billion Restoring fisheries $13 billion Protecting biological diversity $31 billion) Stabilizing water tables $10 billion Total cost of basic social goals and earth restoration goals: $187 billion
Military Budgets by Country in 2008 United States - $607 billion China - $85 billion France - $66 billion United Kingdom - $65 billion Russia - $59 billion Germany - $47 billion Japan - $46 billion Italy - $41 billion Saudi Arabia – $38 billion India - $30 billion All other - $380 billion
What You and I Can Do Become politically active Inform yourself Let your political representative know that a world spending more than $1 trillion a year for military purposes is out of sync with reality Dietary changes Don’t underestimate what you can do
Quiz Questions Q: What are the four main goals of Plan B? A: Stabilize Climate, stabilize population, eradicate poverty, and restore the economy’s natural support systems. Q: Identify one way of reducing carbon emissions. A: Shifting taxes to reflect environmental cost, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, eliminating coal-powered plants, reducing fossil fuel use, and increasing biological sequestration. Q: What is the most efficient means of restructuring the energy economy to stabilize atmospheric CO2? A: Carbon Tax Q: What was one of the history’s most costly mistakes in regards of diverting the world’s attention from climate change and the other threats to civilization? A: The Iraq War Q: What are the three models of social change discussed by Lester Brown? A: The Catastrophic Event Model or Pearl Harbor Model, The Berlin Wall Model, and the Sandwich Model of Social Change.
Discussion Questions Do you think the goals of Plan B can be instituted by 2020? Which goals do you think would be more difficult to achieve than others? Does the responsibility of instituting the Plan B goals lie mostly with developed countries? Discuss the Plan B proposal and it’s likelihood of being enforced by our government. Put into perspective our taxation policies today, as well as those enforced by different political parties in the past. Is it possible we might have to wait for the “The Catastrophic Event Model” in order to have the social change Lester Brown states we need? What kinds of measures have we taken thus far toward global environmental sustainability? What has our generation done to assist in global environmental sustainability?