Anne Ward Penguin
In both moral and practical terms the world’s wealthy are responsible to fix our current global warming nightmare...
When we talk about who is responsible for global warming, we need to think about it in two distinct ways—moral or ethical responsibility (climate justice as it is often called) and practical responsibility (someone who has responsibility and can do something about it).
Moral and ethical responsibility is a relatively simple concept:
The more you created or contributed to the problem, the greater your moral responsibility for fixing it...
The moral or ethical responsibility for resolving global warming lies proportionately with those individuals, corporations, and nations that have created the fossil fuel burning global warming problem since the First Industrial Revolution in the 1880s. While this is morally true, in practical terms it presents a considerable challenge.
We could spend many more decades we do not have trying to determine or litigate the proper proportion of moral and ethical global warming responsibility for every nation, corporation, and individual on earth. Next, we would have to try to enforce that moral and ethical responsibility on the nations, corporations, and individuals all over the planet. This alone could take many decades, if it could even be done.
This presents another imposing dilemma. Because many of these individuals, corporations, and nations have varying and frequently conflicting cultural, religious, or other value criteria and definitions for responsibility, morality, ethics, and justice, finding some kind of agreed upon determination of the common and universal meaning of moral and ethical responsibility is all but impossible within the dwindling time window for meaningful control we need.
In other words, as wonderful, fair, and reasonable as it sounds to simply enforce moral and ethical responsibility proportionately on all of the creators of global warming to achieve true climate justice, the practicality nightmare is that we could still be arguing about implementing such enforcement issues many decades from now long after we have tumbled past our current state of irreversible global warming into extinction.
If we can't successfully take a moral and ethical responsibility approach to solve the global warming emergency in the time that is left, we need to find another approach. The Job One Plan proposes the practical responsibility approach.
Practical responsibility in the context of global warming is defined by several factors:
1. Who has enough influence and power to create the verifiable and enforceable global warming remedial laws or treaties in time to slow and lessen the 20 worst consequences of our current irreversible global warming and prevent extinction.
2. Who has the most to gain or lose.
3. Who has good reasons for also bearing at least some additional moral and ethical responsibility.
4. What will take into practical account the unbearable reality that we do not have enough time left to bottom-up educate the masses about the incredibly complex and difficult issues of global warming as a complex adaptive climate system. We also do not have enough time left to slowly build political will person-by-person from the bottom up until the growing public will finally demands that its self-interested politicians create these critical new laws or treaties.
So this then leads us to the 600-trillion-dollar question: Who has the greatest practical responsibility for resolving global warming? You and I as average individuals do have moral and ethical responsibility for global warming to the degree that we have contributed to it in our lifetimes, but we do not hold much effective practical responsibility for resolving it, as we have so little real influence in the necessary areas.
Because the United Nations, the IPCC, and our national governments have failed so horribly over the last 30+ years, the 5 key entities that now bear the greatest practical responsibility for resolving the global warming emergency in order of priority are:
- the world's wealthiest nations
- the world's wealthiest corporations
- the world's wealthiest individuals
- the world's wealthiest celebrities
- the world’s intelligence agencies (as discussed in the Job one plan)
To explain the reasons for this, we must first explain what this does not mean. We are not talking about the world's wealthiest nations, corporations, individuals, and celebrities individually setting up new companies and/or research projects to find new technological and non-technological solutions to global warming. That will never work in time without globally enforceable and verifiable warming reduction laws or new treaties and a global Fee and Dividend program already in place.
This also does not mean that the world's wealthiest nations, corporations, individuals, and celebrities cannot privately invest in global warming remedial solutions; it just means we can't exclusively or primarily rely on their individual or private wealth to solve the global warming problem.That being said, there is successful experience the world's wealthiest nations and corporations can bring to the table to help other national governments plan and execute the largest energy generation transition project in human history.
As far as the world's wealthiest celebrities are concerned, their importance in educating the masses about the seriousness of the emergency and the necessity of the changes we must all endure cannot be overestimated. The celebrities of the world command the attention needed to be successful.
We also have to be diligent
From many experiences over the last 30 years, we have learned that some of the world's wealthiest nations, corporations, and individuals greenwash their political and profit-making activities to make themselves look like good citizens while not actually doing anything. Their real motivation for the greenwashing remains to increase profits, often in some other area of their existing carbon-polluting activities. For more information on greenwashing, see this article by Tim McDonnell.
Greenwashing allows wealthy nations, individuals, and corporations to look like good global citizens in public while continuing to do business and pollute as usual. In the Job One collective action steps we steer away from this fatal flaw that, unfortunately, too many previous big environmental groups have embarrassingly fallen prey to.
Wealthy nations, individuals, and corporations should not be allowed to greenwash. Rather they need to be educated and inspired to use their influence and control to get the politicians of their respective nations to enact the necessary global warming remedial laws or treaties previously mentioned. If they try to greenwash with insincere and hypocritical actions, they need to be exposed.
While not ignoring the greenwashing risk—in fact, being vigilant about it instead—it’s still true that the world's wealthiest corporations, individuals, and celebrities without a doubt have the necessary influence and control to get the attention and/or compliance of the world's political leaders to create and enforce the new laws or treaties that must be enacted if we are going to survive.
The reason they should or will want to use that influence is because they are the ones who have the most to gain or lose. These wealth-endowed entities control 90 percent or more of the world's wealth and assets. They do in fact have the very most to gain or lose as escalating global warming continues, the consequences of irreversible global warming worsen and extinction looms closer.
As we move into more of the 20 worst consequences of irreversible global warming, millions and then hundreds of millions of their citizens or customers or fans (not to mention themselves) will begin to suffer and die. First weak and then stronger national economies will begin to crash. As national economies crash, so will governments.
Normal business as we have known it will become impossible to conduct because the safe, stable, and consistent environment needed for any kind of reliable and continuous manufacturing, supply distribution, retail, or other business operations will be so unpredictable and so disrupted that maintaining a continually profitable business of any kind will be all but impossible.
Irreversible global warming is a no-win game for everyone, no matter how much wealth you have. The wealthy corporations, individuals, and celebrities who are already buying land and facilities in northern countries will eventually not be safe there. Mass migrations of desperate, aggressive, and armed climagees (climate refugees) and national armies will eventually overrun any and all border security measures, angrily take their fair share of what's left, and punish anyone who by either commission or omission had any significant part in letting this horrific global warming meltdown and catastrophe occur.
Eventually even the private security companies of the ultra-wealthy corporations, individuals, and celebrities will eventually turn against their affluent bosses, realizing that they now live in a late-phase Climageddon Scenario world where only firepower and military-style personal training determine survival, final ownership, and safety. Worse yet, and worth repeating, the climagee survivors of the most painful and devastating catastrophe in human history will be so angry and traumatized they will seek a horrible vengeance on everyone and anyone they hold responsible for causing or contributing to the catastrophe, or for failing to act when they reasonably could have prevented the worst of it.
In their unimaginable anger and pain, some of the remaining climagee survivors who desperately fight their way into the remaining temporarily safe zones, like some survivors of the Holocaust, will relentlessly hunt down anyone who they believe knew about the escalating global warming emergency and had the influence or resources to address it, but did not. Things will be even worse for wealthy corporations, individuals or celebrities who acted to protect only themselves, did nothing, or intentionally sought to profit from the escalating global warming catastrophes and chaos as they developed.
When those individuals are identified by the enraged climagee survivors for their unconscionable commissions and omissions, it is highly likely that all their wealth will be removed from them as well as from their trusts, heirs, and businesses. They will be imprisoned for what will be defined later in the history of the global warming emergency as crimes against humanity and the future.
It gets even worse for the world’s wealthy
As if the proceeding was not enough to convince the world's wealthiest corporations, individuals and celebrities they need to do everything they can to slow and lessen global warming so they will survive, there is still more. The fate of those who move to the temporarily safe global warming zones near the 45th parallel north or south will also have to to deal with four other devastating realities:
1. Decommissioning hundreds of nuclear reactors in global warming unsafe zones between the 45th parallel north and south which will no longer be able to be kept secure or maintained by stable or functioning governments. If these nuclear reactors melt down or go critical, it will not matter where you are in the world. No location will be safe from fallout and radiation that will go on for centuries! (On a lesser note, the same holds true for all toxic chemicals and biological and chemical weapons stored within the global warming unsafe zones. Once those zones are generally abandoned, these commodities will slowly leak out and affect areas far beyond their original locations.)
2. How to solve the critical food production issue above the 45th parallel north or below the 45th parallel south where using traditional or existing methods the soil quality and seasonal sunlight will be grossly inadequate to grow enough food for the massive migrating populations.
3. If the global warming safer northern countries do not allow enough individuals from the global warming unsafe zones to migrate, there will not be enough human genetic diversity to survive the waves of new diseases that will occur in the far north or far south because of pathogens released from the melting permafrost (which humanity has never seen before) as well as from the existing pathogens that are always mutating.
4. How to quickly move enough of the world’s key infrastructure for modern civilization to continue into the global warming safe zones above the 45th parallel north or below the 45th parallel south. All of this must be done within about two decades using the relative stability which many parts of the world will still have while global warming escalates.
At some point, the world's wealthiest corporations individuals and celebrities will recognize their money and power won't save them from this monster. They will realize that we either cooperate and work together or die together.
They will understand that irreversible global warming will last from centuries to thousands of years. They will understand that at this point, all we can do is slow and lessen it enough so that some of us will survive as long as we do not let carbon parts per million in the atmosphere cross 600 ppm.
As of March 2018, we are at 408 ppm carbon. Once we cross the carbon 500 ppm level, ALL ice and ALL glaciers on Earth will go into complete meltdown.
Crossing the carbon 500 ppm threshold has happened repeatedly in Earth's geological history. When this occurred, the sea level inevitably rose to the 70 meters (230 feet) range. At our current annual carbon ppm emission rates, we will reach this catastrophic carbon 500 ppm range by 2042.
If we cross that carbon level of 500 ppm, our average global temperature will soar to 4°C (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit). At 4°C, a large portion of humanity will die of starvation (or of increased heat's other related consequences), and governments and societies will begin collapsing in many areas of the world.
If we cross the carbon 500 ppm battle line, we will continue crossing more of the 11 critical global warming tipping points within the climate’s many systems and subsystems, at an even faster rate. Because of this and other factors, it is highly probable we will reach carbon 600 ppm within another 25-30 years.
The carbon 600 ppm level will raise the average global temperature to 5°C (9 degrees Fahrenheit) and will initiate gigaton massive methane releases from ocean coastal shelves and permafrost. Because methane is 86 times more potent than carbon as a greenhouse gas, this will once again rapidly spike average global temperatures and bring about the extinction of most of humanity.
As we reach the carbon 500 and 600 ppm levels, we will cross into the most dangerous phases of the Climageddon Scenario model for predicting future climate changes with all of its unconscionable 20 worst consequences.
Noblesse oblige and the global warming emergency
Another component of their moral and ethical obligation resides within the concept of “wealth obliges,” similar to the old French concept of noblesse oblige. The updated concept of noblesse oblige also implies the moral and ethical obligation that possessing great wealth extends beyond mere economic influence, comforts, and privileges. It also requires the person or entity who holds such status to take on reasonable and rational social and leadership responsibilities to promote and protect the common well-being. Under this updated concept that wealth obliges, the world's wealthiest nations, corporations, individuals and celebrities are in fact more morally and ethically bound to act and lead.
The Two Last Factors
The world’s wealthiest corporations, individuals and celebrities have two good additional reasons for bearing more moral and ethical responsibility:
1. This is because they have caused measurably more fossil fuel pollution in the creation and maintenance of their vast wealth than any of the rest of us, and because they continue to use vastly more fossil fuels in the maintenance of their current jet-setting luxury lifestyles and business activities and,
2. There isn’t enough time for anyone else with sufficient influence over the world’s politicians to remedy the situation. Yes, we really are out of time.
We should have started making the necessary changes 30 years ago. Now there is no one else available with the necessary levels of immediate controlling influence over self-interested politicians than the world's wealthiest corporations, individuals, and celebrities.
To solve escalating global warming before we cross more global warming tipping points, we need to act at levels of effective coordinated global action and mobilize like we’ve never seen before in human history. We simply do not have adequate time left to build a movement of individual citizens from the bottom up as was done in the past to influence our politicians to pass the new laws or treaties to resolve this rapidly escalating emergency.
If you are not one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, corporations, or celebrities and you are not a high-ranking member of an intelligence agency cognizant of the damage being created, you now know you are not the one who is primarily responsible to fix this mess.
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From the research and editorial team at Job One for Humanity
- Tim McDonnell. "The fossil fuel industry is bankrolling the Paris Climate talks." Mother Jones. December 2, 2015. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/12/climate-change-summit-paris-cop21-fossil-fuels-sponsors
March 9, 2018
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