Climate change mitigation again: California this time

The climate disasters are coming, and there probably won't be a lot of traction for the next four years because the Democrats all got behind Clinton (who wasn't going to do anything besides propose an overelaborated and useless sop to the fossil fuel companies anyway). Well that's politics anyway; if you can be a reality TV star you can now be President, and so democracy now selects for the obtuse. Anyone with half a brain who stands up to say "hey I should be the front personality for the elites!" will win an election these days, whereas those individuals intelligently focused upon an efficacious transition to a better world will just be seen by the gatekeepers as getting in the way. Remember Ronald "I have Alzheimer's disease but I'm President anyway" Reagan? This is the bigger trend that needs to be changed.

I'd imagine that if it's taken this long to produce the current dilemma it's going to take awhile to get out of it. So maybe in four years the collective sense of urgency will catch up with the political classes. Anything's possible I suppose. We must be relentless however in our opposition to the fossil fuel industries and their toxic product.

So here in a piece by Nathanael Johnson in Grist we can read about Jerry Brown, California's sellout governor, saying "let's ban gasoline-powered cars." The primary flaw of "climate activists" is that they tend to react with thunderous applause when anyone in the political class mentions that there's actually a problem and something should be done about it, whereas behind the scenes the capitalists with the real power are still basking comfortably in the knowledge that nobody in the political class is going to propose an effective solution, which would necessarily infringe upon their privileges and power. If the "climate activists" are to be both intelligent and efficacious, they need to produce discomfort in this behind-the-scenes reality.

At any rate, Nathanael Johnson, who is no doubt one of the breathless naifs staffing Grist, tells us:

China is planning to set a deadline by which its automakers must end production of fossil fuel–powered cars. If California did something similar, it would trigger a cascade of changes in the automotive world.

Or maybe the fossil-fuel-car companies would just shift the sales of their product to another market, and the price of electric cars would go up with increased demand. So here we are still trapped in misrecognition.

There are four things to be distinguished if there is to be any solution to any problem:

1) Recognizing that there is a problem

2) Recognizing that something effective needs to be done about the problem

3) Doing something about the problem

4) Doing something effective about the problem

Political solutions are of course only to be found in step number 4, and though steps 1, 2, and 3 might be steps we would applaud when we see members of the political class endorsing them, none of those steps in fact amount to step 4, and we should behave accordingly. With climate change mitigation we are still not at 4, and the proposed confusion with Brown's "solution" is still between 3 and 4. (For the record, Hillary Clinton, as a Presidential candidate, was stuck on the misrecognition between 1 and 2, as her "program" was still based on the coddling of fossil fuel companies.) With a California attempt to switch to electric cars, we are still at the point of watching states "ban" an old product, with the presumption that the "free market" will suddenly provide everyone with the new product at some sort of affordable price. Given the urgency of climate change mitigation, it behooves us not to trust the "free market" to provide any sort of solution to the climate change problem.

The state, then, should not be in the business of begging the car companies to put out enough electric cars to satisfy a demand it created. And if the range of acceptable proposals is limited to those which trust the "free market" (ultimately, if not entirely) to solve the problem, then the entire cost of converting the fossil-fuel-vehicle infrastructure to something better will be passed on to the purchasers of electric vehicles (or any other alternative-energy consumer product one cares to name), who will subsequently not be able to afford it. Here's a more effective proposal:

1) have the government start a car company, which produces vehicles of all sorts.
2) give everyone a chance to trade in old vehicles for new electric ones, free of charge.
3) at some point the gas pumps are shut off by state decree.

We can, I believe, be encouraged that increasing numbers of people now want to do something about climate change, while also recognizing that the big step, the only step that ultimately matters, is that of doing something effective about climate change.

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Meteor Man's picture

From 2013, just for what it's worth, with no comment:

https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2013/10/30/jerry-brown-lashes-out-against-envi...

An update from a 2015 consumer watchdog complaint:

The report also noted that several top Brown administration officials previously worked for PG&E and his sister, former California State Treasurer Kathleen Brown, serves on the Sempra Energy board of directors.

“Sempra paid Kathleen Brown a total of $691,300 in stock and cash for her work from 2013 through 2015,” the report said. “Brown’s administration has taken extraordinary steps to keep open Sempra’s biggest natural gas storage asset in the West, Aliso Canyon, following the biggest methane gas leak from a well blowout in U.S. history.”

And:

The report raised serious concerns about whether the governor was as concerned about helping the environment as he was about helping his friends,” Frye said. “His failure to support meaningful reforms at the CPUC only adds to those concerns.”

Brown vetoed six proposed CPUC reform bills last year, saying they were unworkable as a whole. He has agreed to a different set of proposals this year with an eye toward overhauling the agency

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sdut-brown-consumer-wa...

There are probably more current example, but these just popped up.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Cassiodorus's picture

@Meteor Man It's nice to show concern, but what counts is efficacious action, and not stuff that points in the wrong way.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

Dhyerwolf's picture

by 2046. Because unions who must get some benefits from fossil fuels lobbied for the bill to die when their amendments weren't included.

Brown has been such a disappointment, but I'm sure whoever our next governor is will be just as corporate.

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WoodsDweller's picture

Inside the Experiment: Abrupt Change and Ice Cores

Regarding electric cars: I would have loved to buy one 30 years ago. I never wanted an internal combustion engine in the first place.
Electric cars aren't really the solution, though they could be part of one. We're going to lose the coasts, sooner rather than later, and have to retreat uphill and inland. There is no reason to build new cities that require or even accommodate individual cars. Deliveries, emergency services, repair vehicles, construction, there are still a few places electric vehicles would have a role. I'm afraid that there won't be an option to live outside cities, the countryside won't support human life. Tough for me since I can't live around people.
The whole concept of the electric car is that we can substitute it for the cars we already have and life will go on largely unchanged. If only it were so.

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"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Albert Bartlett
"A species that is hurtling toward extinction has no business promoting slow incremental change." -- Caitlin Johnstone

detroitmechworks's picture

A nice big show of virtue.

Which will look great, sound great, and feel great.

And will be moved on from in about fifteen minutes, when Trump says something stupid again.

Yes, let's ban something our society has made mandatory for the poor to purchase in order to live. With ZERO replacement. Let's not talk about fixing the infrastructure, rebuilding our rail system or anything else. Nope, just ban the cars, and knock off for lunch. I'm sure the Poor will just adjust and buy new cars.

Fucking Californian response, but what do you expect from a state that regularly ships their homeless around from city to city instead of using the money to help the homeless.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Cassiodorus's picture

@detroitmechworks is that "something can be done" while the political class spends 99% of its time and energies keeping capitalism afloat. Massive contradictions are thusly produced in open air.

This is what we must scheme against.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@detroitmechworks problem, so there's the aesthetics of it to consider now....s/

Yes, half assed. Continue to frack but make people buy electric cars. Don't worry about where all that electricity is being generated, what's a few more coal fired power plants after all, or hey, nukes, what the hell. LOL. Not really but my lord, I recognize the type from Cally so well.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

Meteor Man's picture

@detroitmechworks Record homeless people and fewer shelters:

L.A. County now has 58,000 homeless people. So why are there thousands fewer shelter beds than in 2009?

The county has one of the nation’s largest homeless populations, but its ratio of shelter beds to homeless people is among the nation’s lowest. There is no overarching shelter policy and no budgeting process to fund more shelters when homelessness increases. With rare exceptions, public agencies in Los Angeles do not build and operate shelters.

The solution:

The plan adopted by supervisors in June allocates enough money for 2,175 new units for individuals and families over three years.

The budget projects that more than 11,500 additional people would receive shelter annually as a result, based on the assumption that the beds would turn over on average every three months as clients move on to permanent housing.

2,175 new temporary units for 58,000 homeless people. Problem solved!

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-los-angeles-shelter-shorta...

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

detroitmechworks's picture

@Meteor Man Yeah, I hear there's lots of new affordable housing opening up in Fantasyland.

Seriously, my Social Worker was amazed I got off the street in 2 months, One Week. And that was because I busted my ass, EVERY SINGLE DAY to get off the street, and had 9,000 dollars to do it with. And this was Portland

Flat broke in LA? Fuggeddaboutit...

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Meteor Man's picture

The Great Acceleration Death Trap

Ergo, the overriding risk is a complete breakdown of the earth system, ecosystem collapse. In that regard, traversing from a linear to an exponentially charged earth system is risky and could be fatal.

The conclusion:

The harsh truth is: Less than 20% of global population (OECD countries) account for 75% of the world’s consumption/impact on the earth system. The other 6,000,000,000 people are on the outside looking in, meaning, if society wants a shot at staying under the dreaded 2°C temp increase, wealthy nations must go to zero emissions by 2035. (Anderson)

The USA doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell with Trump hanging out at the WH.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/02/the-great-acceleration-death-trap/

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

TheOtherMaven's picture

@dkmich

They've smartened up a bit since the days when they kept cranking out Yank Tanks while people flocked to downsized foreign cars.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

@TheOtherMaven

they're corporations. Profit is what they do best, or they die. Yes, they have smartened up. However, they would have made it without government help if the banks hadn't of tanked the total economy. They were making the corrections they had to slowly and carefully. No way in hell they had what it would have required to suffer the Wall Street massacre.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Cassiodorus's picture

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

Socialprogressive's picture

@Cassiodorus

even get the government to pay for healthcare or education. Good luck getting them to make electric cars.

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During the middle ages they celebrated the end of the plague with wine and orgies.
Does anyone know if they have anything like that planned when this one ends?
(asking for a friend)

Cassiodorus's picture

@Socialprogressive "It never has and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@Cassiodorus

You either take it or lose.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Cassiodorus's picture

@dkmich why the Great Depression and the apartheid regime in the South persist to this day.

No, wait...

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

@Cassiodorus , the good old days when most votes were counted properly. That is the point I took from the comment. If you are one of the boulder pushers Camus talked about, I don't want to harsh the buzz too much. I am not like you, I am a cynic who thinks there's no time for the long arc to bend toward justice, most of us are toast already. Maybe it is fine to keep pushing while so many suffer and die, I don't think so. Divest completely.

Electric replacing ICE in California has the same stink as moving deck chairs around on the Titanic. Follow the money, stinks like Musk?

I don't believe the government propaganda saying our state voting systems are accurate and secure. The DNC still exists. The only thing I like about electric cars is they don't idle, they are silent. All else is hell reinvented, including wars for the lithium batteries, but especially the software! Show me the code, oops I just went circular back to who really has the power. The ones who own the code and won't share it. NOPE. I'll never buy something I can't fix myself, that is stupid, arrogant, and expensive.

Use public transportation. ha ha. Walk or ride a bike. That would save the planet, not more asphalt and people everywhere. Get real.

good luck

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When Obama bailed out GM Jeremy Rifkin said GM was "the worst managed company in the world." It took the bailout money, cancelled the Volt program, and built an SUV plant in China. It borrowed money from the Fed and bought government bonds with a higher yield than their government loans, paid off the bailout ("the government made money!" remember that lie?) and imported the SUVs. And when people started to see the fraud they fired a few executives, bought back the Volt, and the media made sure that "suburban Republicans" forgot about the UAW taking a 50% pay cut. (as if they ever cared)

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On to Biden since 1973