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Online preferendum to select climate policy measures 2022-01-11T13:13:07.814Z

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Comment by vincent_sels on Online preferendum to select climate policy measures · 2022-01-12T10:58:52.686Z · EA · GW

This seems like an obvious mistake in reasoning, where the lack of evidence of observed decoupling rates is taken as evidence that decoupling rates could not be higher.

That's correct, but wouldn't you say that looking at this empirical data can give a sense of how realistic it is that in the next decade(s) we will make a sharp turn for the better? I think this report of the EEB certainly makes a fair case that we won't. Even if you don't agree with the conclusion of the paper, it's a bit easy to dismiss all the data (and the neutral, transparent way it was selected) along with it.

I really wish I could (still) believe that absolute decoupling alone will suffice. May I ask where you get your optimism from? Of course there can never be proof either way, but all I read and hear stems me ever more pessimistic... I've read McAfee, Gates and in Belgium Maarten Boudry on the subject, but I don't find their case reassuring, rather the contrary (read my reviews here and here).

In short; sure, absolute decoupling exists and must be (continued to be) pursued as quickly as possible. But the only question that's relevant is: will it be enough, in time, with low enough risk, so as to not deplete the remaining carbon budget? Every year that passes where we deplete 35 Gt of the 300-800 Gt remaining budget to stay below 1,5°-2° with some degree of certainty, leaves less room for a positive answer...

How much more data, how many more of the linked meta-studies, how many more alarming IPCC reports do we need before we admit that we also need to urgently take measures of sufficiency - especially heeding the precautionary principle?

Either way, also 'technological' solutions will have negative impact on citizens or the environment. Take for instance installing wind turbines, utility-scale pipelines,... A preferendum could help citizens choose between such alternatives too. It is entirely agnostic about which kinds of solutions get chosen - the only thing that matters is that, finally, non-action is no longer a valid option.

Finally, maybe not every country will need this soort of tool. Indeed there are a couple of countries where the regular party-political system seems to be doing fairly well. In Germany and The Netherlands, the newly elected coalitions/governments certainly make impressive promises (it still remains to be seen whether there will be enough citizen buy-in as to also execute them). But the majority of countries is not doing so well, as quite clearly tracked by https://climateactiontracker.org/. The country where I live, Belgium, is especially suffering from party-political polarization which is completely blocking effective climate policy, and I honestly don't see any other democratic way out, aside from this sort of tool.