A recent article in Nature, “Rules for a safe climate,” is helpful for the notion that we need new rules to come out of Katowice, but it doesn’t really give much in the way of new ideas for rules or laws in relation to solving the climate crisis. In response to Greta Thunberg’s call for new rules, mentioned in a previous post, here are a few ideas.
Many people treat this problem as if some bad weather is on the way, so before people start with the “yeah, buts”, this is the context: emissions continue to rise, human survival is at stake, and the rules we have are not working.
So we need a whole raft of new laws and revisions. Here are some initial thoughts:
- Revamp environmental assessments to prioritise climate change and remove exemptions from the process;
- Reallocate fossil fuel subsidies to clean energy subsidies in short order. This will create new employment;
- The federal government has traditionally done forest research – research must be done on how to create massive tree planting programs for carbon-sequestration, food production, biodiversity, and fire resistance;
- And until that is done massive tree-planting programs need to be started – for carbon sequestration, food and fire resistance;
- We need to push for hard targets internationally, and severe penalties for failure to meet them;
- Criminal liability for serious acts related to climate change;
- New powers to expropriate intellectual property in the national and human interest where technology is not shared willingly (like Tesla did);
- Strict laws banning designed obsolescence. This is not brand new, but still has a long way to go in gaining traction;
- Free public transportation. Luxembourg has done this, we can too; and
- Increase stumpage and royalties for forestry and oil and gas in order to cover costs above.
In the interests of “brainstorming” the “politically feasible” calculus has been removed from this process. In order to come up with new ideas you have to agree not to shut them down at the earliest stage. Flesh them out first, and then assess their viability. That will be food for future posts.
Just a few ideas to start..