, 41 tweets, 31 min read Read on Twitter
Thread: Blatant #ClimateDenial has lost. The new conflict is whether #ClimateChange is a crisis requiring urgent social and #economic transformation, or something we can adapt to incrementally while carrying on with business as usual. 1/40
2/ A recent opinion piece by Bjorn Lomborg in the @globeandmail is representative of the 'business as usual argument'. Let's deconstruct it to see how this gets passed off as the pragmatic point of view, and why it's false. theglobeandmail.com/opinion/articl…
3/ The basic tactic is this: provide a few common-sense truths to gain the air of pragmatism and then feed us the story we're desperate to hear: that everything will be fine, that growth will outpace #ClimateDamages and life can carry on as usual.
4/ I'll start with the common-sense truths.
5/ **People's use of #FossilFuel is not evil.**

Of course not, people are just trying to live life. Simply eating generates emissions. We can't inspire change by demonizing people for putting food on their table, heating their homes in winter, and getting to work.
6/ **What we need is low-CO2 energy that can outcompete #FossilFuel.**

That makes sense.
7/ **People around the world, particularly those in developing countries, care most about #FoodSecurity, #health, #education, #jobs, and stable #government.**

Sounds non-controversial.
8/ **Ending global #FossilFuel use by 2028 is unrealistic.**

I agree. This is an incredibly complex problem because #FossilFuel is so deeply embedded in society. See post #5.
9/ It's hard to argue with any of these because they sound like common sense. We are now primed to view the speaker as a pragmatic voice. The problem is that the world is much more complex and the speaker has left out a lot of important detail.
10/ **People's use of #FossilFuel is not evil.**

No, but a monumental effort to discredit the science & delay action is. Read:
@NaomiOreskes Merchants of Doubt
@MichaelEMann The Hockey Stick & the Climate Wars
@RBrulle drexel.edu/now/archive/20…

It's real and it's gross.
11/ **What we need is low-CO2 energy that can outcompete #FossilFuel.**

Lomborg goes on to say that we have failed to invest in #GreenTech "because activists have consistently demanded solutions before they are ready."
12/ Baloney. The transition is happening despite lacklustre government investment & policy. eto.dnvgl.com/2019
13/ Some point out that we don't yet have solutions for ~25% of #FossilFuel use.

Sure, but we can be much more aggressive with replacing the other 75%. What's lacking is sustained social pressure & policy leadership (hence #GlobalClimateStrike).
14/ **People around the world, particularly those in developing countries, care most about #FoodSecurity, #health, #education, #jobs, and stable #government.**

Lomborg follows by saying that #ClimateChange is "trumping all other issues."
15/ Nonsense, it's all one tangled, messy problem. Human-climate-nature systems are interdependent and inseparable. This is fundamental to the framework of the @UN #SDGs and is found in the @IPCC_CH and @IPBES assessments.
16/ Here's a quote from #IPCC #SR15, summary for policymakers:
17/ And another from the @IPBES #GlobalAssessment Report, summary for policymakers:
18/ These links will be strengthened further in #IPCC #AR6 where Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) take centre stage as a model input. Here's a good primer on SSPs from @CarbonBrief. Read the SSP narratives, particularly SSP1. carbonbrief.org/explainer-how-…
19/ **Ending global #FossilFuel use by 2028 is unrealistic.**

Lomborg and others misrepresent what @GretaThunberg actually said in her #UN speech when she refers to the remaining #CarbonBudget.
20/ Greta has been consistent in asking us to #UniteBehindTheScience which says we have roughly 350 GtC left to emit for a 67% chance of staying below 1.5C. It's a steep curve but it is NOT "no #FossilFuel by 2028".
21/ If we take no action to reduce emissions, then we blow through the 350 GtC budget around 2028 and overshoot 1.5C. If we begin reducing now, we have more time.
22/ And if we had started reducing emissions in the 1980s when science warned about the danger of #GlobalWarming, we would have had even more time. But that's not what happened - see post #10.
23/ Which brings us to the story we're desperate to hear: that everything will be fine, that growth will outpace #ClimateDamages and life can carry on as usual.
24/ Here's the quote:

"The IPCC estimates that by the 2070s the total effects of climate change ... will be equivalent to a reduction in average income of 0.2%-2%. By then, each person on the planet will be 300%-500% richer."

Let's deconstruct that too.
25/ There is no single statement or graph in #AR5 that makes this claim. Discussions of #EconomicGrowth, #income, #ClimateDamages, and the cost of #mitigation & #adaptation can be found in both #WG2 and #WG3, spanning 3300 pages.
26/ Climate scientist @dana1981 summarized the topic of climate economics in an article shortly after the release of #AR5 and also confronted Lomborg's misleading analysis. theguardian.com/environment/cl…
27/ More recent studies suggest we have significantly underestimated #ClimateDamages. researchgate.net/publication/32…
28/ and the potential for cumulative hazards: researchgate.net/publication/32…
29/ Both of these studies also highlight that #mitigation costs, #ClimateDamages and impacts to human #wellbeing are dependent on many local factors. country-level-scc.github.io/explorer/

In other words, average global #income is a meaningless metric.
30/ Mainstream economic modelling of #ClimateChange has come under fire for being difficult to reconcile with the #IPCC's reasons for concern (RFC).
33/ Last but not least is the idea that we'll all be richer in the future because of #EconomicGrowth. But #GDP is not a measure of individual #wealth, it is a measure of all the goods & services produced over a period of time.
34/ The construction of new #infrastructure adds to #GDP, as does money spent rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by hurricanes. #GDP has no debit side.
35/ Individual #wealth is about #wages and purchasing power and those are not tracking #EconomicGrowth. That's why we are having debates about a #WealthTax and the #HousingAffordability crisis. pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018…
36/ It's also uncertain that #EconomicGrowth can continue, but I'll save that for after I've read Vaclav Smil's new book.
37/ Business as usual is the opposite of pragmatic - it's fantasy if we want a livable world. So what is a pragmatic response to #ClimateChange? In this article, @KHayhoe and @andrew_leach frame it as a balance between ambition and feasibility. chatelaine.com/living/politic…
38/ Not a safe, comfortable balance, though. We need to keep pushing the boundary on what level of ambition is considered feasible. One way to do that is by joining the #GlobalClimateStrike. Another is for each of us to find groups that we know how to communicate with and do it.
39/ The science is crystal clear - urgent social and #economic transformation, as fast as possible, is the only pragmatic path forward.

PS: Tagging other authors referenced so you can follow them. Apologies to those I might have missed or gotten wrong.

@SteveDavisUCI @nlewis1111 @cleantechsonia @inesliaz @YetMingChiang @DrChrisClack @ArmondCohen1 @chrfield @bjhanneg @PauliJllo @DanSperling_ITS @KenCaldeira
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