All of vincent_sels's Comments + Replies

Online preferendum to select climate policy measures

It seems that you (and I suppose many with you) have accepted global warming of considerably more than 2°C, where I am still (in your view, I assume, naïvely) looking for ways to avoid that.

I think it's striking how most people seem to treat our current behavior and desires and habits as a given, an unchangeable fact (this for instance also struck me reading Gates' book); whereas I try to see the laws of physics, and its current 'best effort' implications regarding a maximum number of PPM of GHG in the atmosphere, as a given - and look for ways to stay bel... (read more)

Online preferendum to select climate policy measures

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 ... (read more)

2jackva4mo
Decoupling as a large-scale technological transformations requires (i) time and (ii) dedicated effort (public investment, private investment, induced technological change, etc..). Such effort has, for the most part, not existed for a long time so looking at historical data is not evidence of likely future rates. (I also think that when a scientific paper makes a logical mistake in the abstract that one should be pretty concerned about the quality of the paper, overall). I think a better proxy for future rates of decoupling would, for example, be looking at how the changes in the cost of renewables have changed decarbonization trajectories (and rather massively reduced expected future emissions, we discuss this a bit here [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/ckPSrWeghc4gNsShK/good-news-on-climate-change] ). Overall, it seems quite conceivable that the recent uptick in policy attention on climate will lead to much faster rates of decoupling than previously observed. Irrespective of how optimistic or pessimistic one is on decoupling, the fact that the US and the EU are at most 15% of future emissions limits the potential of sufficiency unless one thinks sufficiency will be an attractive idea to the rest of the world, for the most part much energy-poorer than the US and EU. On the positive flipside this also means that failing at sufficiency / stricter domestic targets is not necessarily that relevant given that high-income countries have leverage on emissions far beyond their domestic emissions (more on this here [https://assets.ctfassets.net/x5sq5djrgbwu/7eEpX4UcKNEy6LUDhf2B05/679c7b8c6e993bb8c08ee0a948b815b5/A_guide_to_the_changing_landscape_of_high-impact_climate_philanthropy.pdf] ).