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Warning - rant: Perverse thought about recessions and mitigation of climate change
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 08, 2019 06:00PM
So we are racking up a trillion dollars of debt per year and probably be looking at a recession in the next couple of years. A Democrat will probably be in the White House so the Republicans, who will probably control the Senate, will return to "austerity is the way to deal with a recession - cut government!!!!!!!!"

In addition to Republicans suddenly having a reoccurring spasm of austeritism, having a large debt overhang will make it harder to get the money to climb out of the recession. Collective personal debt load is getting pretty hefty as well so it will be harder for people to boost consumer spending to lead the way out of the recession.

Of course, we could have a soft landing kind of a recession, but the goat entrails tell me that it is less likely to be the case. Here's the awful thing about what led me to think about this: for some perverse reason, it occurred to me that a recession means less economic activity which inevitably leads to less energy consumption than there would have been without a recession. The perverse thought I had about that is that less energy consumption is probably a good thing in terms of mitigating climate change.

But recessions to reduce climate change is a horrible way to go about fighting climate change. The poor always get hit the worst in recessions. To address climate change we should - by my values - give a tighter embrace to the notion that if you have more you should give up more to combat climate change. (Especially because if you are wealthier, you have a higher likelihood of contributing to climate change than a poor person.)

Instead of giving a massive tax break to the wealthiest people, we should have invested that money into research on new technologies to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. But we didn't. And we will have a recession that is probably going to be harder to deal with because of so much prior debt.

We won't get the benefit of the new technologies we could have created. The recession will help a little bit with climate change without doing anything to help us address it with more creative vigor. To me, it is a tragedy that we didn't take advantage of the opportunity to do so much more to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change rather than buy into the supply side shell game - again! The cost to the poorest among us is tragic. The extra cost to future generations is tragic.
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Re: Warning - rant: Perverse thought about recessions and mitigation of climate change
Posted by: Z
Date: October 08, 2019 06:20PM
Quote
Ted King
The extra cost [of voting for the GOP] to future generations is tragic.

FTFY
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Re: Warning - rant: Perverse thought about recessions and mitigation of climate change
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: October 08, 2019 07:03PM
I agree with all of that Ted and share those frustrations over opportunities lost.

The glimmer of hope I do see is that the next round of government (or the one just after) is likely to have all 3 branches led by Dems. At that point a lot of infrastructure investment can begin, and that can help offset any recession.
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Re: Warning - rant: Perverse thought about recessions and mitigation of climate change
Posted by: michaelb
Date: October 08, 2019 09:20PM
I am not convinced that a recession would mitigate climate change, and there could be lots of complex offsets at play. So money could move overseas to cheaper production and make the situation worst.

My guess is that to truly address climate change would involve investments and government subsidies to stimulate and develop the market, and that costs money in the short and medium term to be possible.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/08/2019 09:20PM by michaelb.
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Re: Warning - rant: Perverse thought about recessions and mitigation of climate change
Posted by: Ted King
Date: October 08, 2019 10:14PM
Quote
michaelb
I am not convinced that a recession would mitigate climate change, and there could be lots of complex offsets at play. So money could move overseas to cheaper production and make the situation worst.

My guess is that to truly address climate change would involve investments and government subsidies to stimulate and develop the market, and that costs money in the short and medium term to be possible.

I can see how there could be lots of complex offsets at play, but I'd like to see a case for what those offsets might be. Poking around Google, I found this:

[www.climatecentral.org]

Quote

The UC-Irvine study, an economic analysis of U.S. energy use and emissions between 1997 and 2013, found that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell 10 percent between 2007 and 2009, a drop that was concurrent with a major fall in the consumption of goods and services because of the recession. That falloff was responsible for about 75 percent of the decline in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, according to the study.
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Re: Warning - rant: Perverse thought about recessions and mitigation of climate change
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: October 10, 2019 07:16PM
The good:
- oil prices are down a bit and it is limiting development/drilling of oil infrastructure.
- it will really benefit Dems if the recession starts to hit hard as an October Surprise.

The bad, the US is going to fall another four years behind the rest of world in:
- cutting greenhouse emissions.
- engineering and production of solar cells and green technology.



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