Greenbang: What do you think is wrong with the debate on climate change?
Dr Kate: It hasn't really got to grips with the fundamental problem,
which is that Western, industrialised lifestyles are literally
unsustainable. Climate change is just one symptom of this. WWF famously
calculated that if everyone on earth were to enjoy the lifestyle of an
average Western European, we would need three planet earths.
Not even the most optimistic believers in technology think that we
can technofix this problem so that 6 billion people (let alone the
projected 9 billion) can enjoy a western lifestyle without ecological
meltdown. It follows that we urgently need to rethink what we currently
mean by a "˜high standard of living' and move away from materialistic
versions of this to an understanding of quality of life that could be
enjoyed by everyone, without causing environmental mayhem. This is
about values, not just about technology.
To a large extent, understanding the passion of climate alarmists is a chicken and egg problem. Normally, scientists identify a problem and then we seek to solve it. But, as you can see with this woman, climate science works in reverse. The debate began with people who believed that technology and economic growth needed to be diminished, and then found global warming as a conveniently manufactured "problem" that pointed to their already preferred solution.
This, by the way, is her complete answer to the question about what is wrong with climate debate. You can see her answer to this climate science question has nothing to do with climate, but everything to do with her pro-poverty position. She actually states her position as anti-western-standard-of-living, because that plays better with the soccer moms, but this is exactly the same as pro-poverty. And get a load of this great scientist quoting WWF advocacy press releases as if they were peer-reviewed science.
By the way, I personally believe that the world could easily sustain 6 billion people in a western standard of living, and love humanity enough to root for this to occur, so here statement is untrue (by the way, why are people who advocate for universal poverty like this person considered "sensitive" while folks like me who would love to see all the world wealthy considered evil and cold-hearted?) I don't know exactly how this will happen, but if I stood in the year 1908 I would not know how (or probably believe) even a single person could enjoy what we call a western standard of living today, but billions do. The human mind is a wonderful thing, and can achieve a lot, at least when scientists pursue new possibilities rather than simply shrieking that we need to turn the clock back.
Update: Here is one faulty assumption she is making:
Current levels of consumption in industrialised societies are too high
- as the three planet earth analysis clearly shows. This presents a
major problem for current economic thinking, which is premised on
growth, and which requires us all to keep consuming more, not less.
Clearly we can't grow infinitely, and consume infinitely, on a finite
Her assumption is that the Earth is somehow at capacity. How do we know that? If a scientist bases all of her beliefs on an assumption like this that has never been proven and the scientist is perfectly comfortable taking on faith, can we really call her a scientist? Or do we call her a religionist?