Your first point is nonsenser.
greg gerritt

Your first point is nonsenser. Show me how to reduce consumption without using LESS. Reforestation and other restorations are necessary, but they are totally insufgficient if ever more people keep usign more. Your path goes no where.

Unless you consider consuming more alternative energy than fossil fuels to be “using less” rather than shifting consumption/production (keeping overall resource demand the same), then we have a different understanding of “using less” in mind here. As for whether changing consumption rather than “using less” is sustainable in the long run — which is beyond the focus of my earlier responses — I frankly agree with you that long-term environmental sustainability comes from both moderation (using less) and a commitment towards renewable energy and methods. But that does not mean that income redistribution is the remedy to this problem.

Your second point is also absurd. If there is less money sloshing around, consumption will be less. And your example of flying is bs as only the global rich fly and it is way more carbon intensive to fly than travel on land or water.

There are a lot of assumptions to unpack here, so I’ll begin with the environmental.

For starters, “about 2–3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions annually are produced by planes” and while it’s true that air travel is more dangerous for the environment than cars when comparing 1 plane to 1 car (because of “radiative forcing,” fuel usage and other factors), automobile emissions nevertheless comprise the majority of transport-related pollution. Regarding markets (in this case, the U.S.’s), there are 2,500,000 annual private jet flights versus as many as 690,000,000 domestic flights. So any reduction in private jet flights by crippling the wealth of the rich would have a negligible impact (since they are such a small part of total air travel). More importantly, the global rich aren’t the only ones who fly private. For passengers who use charter flights, private actually becomes quite affordable for middle class citizens (example).

Now it’s clear that your position takes a stance that defends less developed countries against the excesses of the richest. This is likely why you refer to the “global rich” as anyone who uses air travel, not just the superwealthy in developed countries. In that case I have to ask: how low must everyone’s incomes go in your ideal society such that these excesses can be stopped? To have a meaningful environmental impact this way, you might need to force everyone to be below $55,000 in annual wealth, if not less, to forcibly change peoples’ preferences.

On a more practical note, when you refer to “less money sloshing around,” what does that actually mean? Does the Federal Reserve buy back securities (in the U.S.’s case)? Is money just arbitrarily collected by the government, decreasing a sizeable portion of the population’s standard of living (assuming this money is used only for renewable energy and conservation with no tangible benefits in the short term)? There are a lot of ifs, buts, and moral, democratic and practical concerns that will accompany whichever answer you choose here.

In other words we can not afford the lifestyles of the rich and your shilling for them tells me you have not seriously considered the ecosystems they are eating. And reducing the incomes of the weatlhy will mean less mining, less deforestation, etc. It is not the poor driving deforestation, it is the wealthy seeking export opportunities. Time for you to get real.

While the abjectly poor (by global standards) may not be driving deforestation, a reasonable 65–80% of people in industrialized nations are by providing the requisite demand. For instance, the OECD reports that “[g]rowth has been primarily driven by increased global demand for construction minerals, biomass for food and feed, fossil energy carriers.” Additionally, a “growing population with higher average income requires more food, more industrial products, more energy and more water. This creates formidable challenges for sustainable economic and environmental development.” One report by The Atlantic even predicts that non-OECD countries will consume as much as 65% of the world’s energy by 2040, showing that it’s not just the global rich in industrialized countries that is and will continue to drive this demand.

Export opportunities exist because there is demand. If the rich are restricted from extracting the resources everyone else wants, do you think other entrepreneurs and companies won’t simply fill the void and profit? The only way you can 100% guarantee that companies, the wealthy or anyone else can’t excessively mine and deforest is through nationalization or stringent government restrictions, but that’s a very different topic than wealth redistribution.

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