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You know when someone accepts man-made climate change, but then explains why we should do nothing about it?

We call these "Discourses of #ClimateDelay" & there are 12 of them. We've written a paper about it…

THREAD with examples from the transport sector
The first group of discourses of climate delay aims to *redirect responsibility*. It accepts that *someone* should take action to mitigate climate change, but not us, not right now, not our business / sector / town.

Wee see plenty of that in the transport sector.
Discourse of #ClimateDelay #1: Individualism.

It's when they pretend that climate action is just a question of individuals making different choices. The goal is to avoid talking about anything that goes beyond that.
When someone tells you that the rise of SUVs is *just* down to people's preferences, that's the individualism discourse of climate delay ⬇️
It's a discourse that makes no space for discussing other factors behind of sky-rocketing SUV sales. Such as automakers making greater profits out of them
Discourse of #ClimateDelay #2: Whataboutism.

Also known as the "But China!" or the "we're just 2%!" argument
Discourse of #ClimateDelay #3: the 'free rider' excuse.

It's when they say: "we would *love* to reduce emissions, but others won't play along, right? So what's the point?"
Both whataboutism and the free rider excuse are apparent in the justification provided by Leeds City Council for going ahead with airport expansion.

- "Leeds is just 1.4% of flights!"
- "if we don't do it, others will and we'll lose out!"

The second group of discourses of #ClimateDelay is about pushing non-transformative solutions.

It's when ineffective solutions are promoted, in order to draw attention away from more substantial & effective (but more uncomfortable) measures
The 4th type of discourse of #ClimateDelay is "Technological Optimism".

It's when technology is pushed as the *only* solution. Technology will happen (eventually) *so we can carry on as usual*.

When in fact we should be doing technology + all those other things.
And oh boy do we know something about technological optimism in transport! There are even entire papers about the use that industry makes of "technology myths"
The 5th discourse of #ClimateDelay is "All talk, no action".

It's when policy-makers address the lack of progress by doubling down on yet another target 10 years down the line, yet another "emergency declaration"
No sector is more familiar with this than transport. Transport climate mitigation is the story of a widening gap between aspirations & reality.

Few realise this though, as media are all too keen on hyping targets, without providing the full context.
6th discourse of #ClimateDelay: what we like to call "#Carrotism" (the reviewers didn't like the neologism though😆)

It's when anything which is not an enticing incentive (e.g. pricing, regulations) is presented as 'taboo' in a liberal market society
Carrotism is all-too-popular in transport. Since a couple of years, it often comes with suggestions that anything beyond carrots would bring the 'Yellow Vests' on the streets, and/or the far right into power.
7th discourse of #ClimateDelay: "Fossil Fuel Solutionism" (somehow the reviewers let this neologism pass😆).

It's when fossil fuels are reframed as part of the solution, rather than the problem. Just to extend their life a little while longer.
We see fossil fuel solutionism in transport when we're told that we need to invest in 'Green' Internal Combustion Engine technology, rather than alternatives.
8th discourse of #ClimateDelay - perhaps the most controversial one - instrumental appeals to social justice

Climate mitigation does raise serious social justice issues - no questions about it! But these are sometimes exaggerated or exploited by vested interests.
It's that thing whereby they try to present taxes on aviation as 'regressive' - when in fact it's perhaps the most 'progressive' environmental tax you'll ever get
...or when they try and spin cuts in motor fuel taxes as a form of social policy, when it's actually *way* more complex than that
9th discourse of #ClimateDelay: instrumental appeals to well-being.

It's not that well-being doesn't matter - it does! But be wary of when it's conflated with fossil fuel use, without considering alternative ways of satisfying needs.
So it might well be that using a ICE car is required for need satisfaction / social inclusion in some contexts. But that's not necessarily always the case, nor does it have to remain that way
10th discourse of #ClimateDelay: policy perfectionism.

It's when they set the bar for climate policy measures so high, that basically it can't be met. Anything less than ideal won't do. So we'd rather do business as usual.
You see that for example in international aviation, where (some argue) we can't introduce taxes until we have a global agreement. But that will never come, so...
The last two discourses of #ClimateDelay ("Change is impossible" and "Doomism") are more general, so they're not used that much in transport.

Which is fine, because they're quite annoying, and we've got more than enough on our plate! (ENDS)
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