Saturday, 23 November 2013

Climate Change... from the bottom up... or.................. "Libertarianism – An Ecological Consideration"

"A more democratic approach to natural resource conflict resolution, as opposed to the traditional top down, bureaucratic approach."

Here's a different take on 'what to do about climate change'...

Climate Change, Institutions and Emerging Orders

Grant Mincy | September 27th, 2013

The long-awaited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013 report is now making headlines. The report is designed to inform the global community about the current state of climate science — the scientific debate, consensus and (most importantly) data.

We will learn of the latest scientific projections of temperature increase, sea level rise and extremes in weather. The report is seven years in the making and is currently the ultimate in climate science — not Al Gore, not Rush Limbaugh, but actual scientists who study climate.

So, expect three things to happen: Media sensationalism, arguments for government interventionism in the market and, finally, the continuing stigmergic revolution. (note 1)

Media sensationalism has already started. This is nothing new. The media always presents, hypes and glorifies two sides of the environmental issue of our time (even though there is overwhelming consensus (note 2) that anthropogenic activity is impacting climate). My advice when it comes to the media and climate change? Turn off the radio, turn off the television, put down the book Bill McKibben or Sean Hannity wrote and please instead devote time to the science. Mainstream media is not for news, it is for entertainment — sadly.

Then come the calls for government interventionism. Whenever climate change is in the limelight, liberals tend to champion the need for our great government institutions to once again save human civilization. Conservatives and other skeptics advocate that these same government institutions should save big business from the liberals. Both arguments are absurd.

Modern liberal visions of empowering the state to combat climate change are short-sighted to say the least. Empowering bureaucracy to combat something as urgent as climate change will only exacerbate our environmental problems. Bureaucracy is slow, un-democratic and ripe with special interests. Any hope of changing power structures so they act with benevolence will fall flat. In the face of complex wicked problems facing our entire biosphere we should act in ways that make our institutions unnecessary — to work around hierarchy and build a new society free of institutional supremacy.

Which brings me to my other point: On the other side of the very same bureaucracy we have modern conservatives advocating that “junk science” should not foster policy and any attempts to do so are just outright attacks on good ole American capitalism. In reality, what we often find is government supporting big industry. For just one example, liberal champion and US President Barack Obama is stomping around the country advocating natural gas as a clean burning “bridge fuel” — the answer to the climate problem. The administration has ignored methane emissions (by touting that they are less than projected as if that means there are no emissions), groundwater contamination and other environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Government institutions go out of their way to protect and support the economic ruling class. Big business has no better friend than big government.

In the face of our environmental crisis, however, we are witness to emerging orders.

The greatest of biological phenomenons — Spontaneous Order – is already at work solving the problems we face today. We see this in emerging ideas of food production in the form of local permaculture farms and the urban food movement. We see it in the emerging philosophy of Adaptive Collaborative Management (note 3) in regards to the utilization of natural resources. We see social movements dedicated to preserving cultural and natural heritage. There is work being done that is changing our institutions to give communities democratic energy (note 4) in the form of micro-generation and solidarity economies. There are many more examples of grassroots movements working to protect our ecology.

Climate change presents a great challenge to civilization. Where there is labor to be done, we will do it. Expect us.

Center for a Stateless Society » Climate Change, Institutions and Emerging Orders 


1) The Stigmergic Revolution: Kevin Carson | November 12th, 2011
   It was long believed that the queen played a central role in the complex social order of an ant colony, through the exercise of direct command and control over her subjects. Not so.  Biologist Pierre-Paul Grasse coined the term “stigmergy” for the anthill’s social organization. There is no central coordination, no hierarchy, no administrative mechanism.  

2) Expert credibility in climate change: April 9, 2010: Abstract
William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider
   Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. 
   Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

3) Adaptive collaboration is a more democratic approach to natural resource conflict resolution, as opposed to the traditional top down, bureaucratic approach...
   On the other hand, failure to reach collaboration on natural resource management practices will result in prolonged harmful effects to the environment and halt sustainable community development...
   I believe resource utility will become community based microgeneration.

4) Libertarianism – An Ecological Consideration:  | August 13th, 2013
   In the vast arid lands of the Arckaringa Basin in Australia a major shale oil discovery has been made... Oil is a highly sought after commodity, and rightly so, as it currently fuels much of the developed worlds economy – along with other fossil resources such as coal...
   The immensity of this discovery is sure to plunge Australia into the latest energy boom: shale energy. Spreading wildly across the United States and Canada, giant shale reserves have been exploited, increasing domestic energy production and causing economic booms across the region. Where there are booms, however, the business cycle shows us that a bust is sure to follow – especially when heavy government subsidies are needed to maintain the boom. Artificial bubbles always burst. For this reason a number of people have began to protest shale energy speculation...
    For if we lived in a truly freed market system, without state intervention, the modern, centralized fossil fuel industries would surely crumble under their enormous cost. Without federal involvement in energy markets, fossil energy firms (among the largest corporations on the planet) would instead focus on the creation of new energy models and internal risk-pooling to examine alternatives to high-risk projects...
   Without state collusion, in other words, what would develop is an ecosystem service approach to natural resource management, with adaptive collaboration and a reliance on the resources of local communities...
   From Wall Street to Capitol Hill everyone is involved in green washing. Financiers, advertisers and regulators offer their answer to our energy and environmental crisis in the form of “green capitalism.” The big government push for electric cars, for just one example, pushes fuel economy and emissions while ignoring that these cars will be plugged into the grid and fueled from coal...
   Thinking of these connections, it would be prudent to address a large backlash against the environmental movement, or rather more direct environmental “extremism.” I have written before about the government crackdown on green groups in the age of the surveillance state and in other posts I have championed the direct actions of folks protesting the construction of Keystone XLhydraulic fracturingcoal surface miningrate hikes and a number of other environmental issues. These views have come under some scrutiny by other libertarians but this is where I feel the libertarian left takes the higher ground...
   Human dimensions are growing ever more important to the resource management process as power redistribution from resource agencies to the communities they serve is already a growing trend...
   Technology is of course very beneficial, a product of creative labor and will absolutely assist sustainability. On the other hand though, seeing technological development applied to the entire planet (most extreme case – geo-engineering of the climate), the human race (NSA leaks) and to all living things shows an absolute anthropocentric dominance over ecological systems. Technology also encourages an oversimplified view of the world – it is insulting to human nature. Technology also tends to centralize power, especially as it is the privileged intelligentsia that mainly moves innovation in this field forward. 
   The real solution to the energy/environmental crisis is social empowerment instead of faith in centralized, dominate institutions. This will not put us back in centuries past, but move us, via transition economies to democratic technology. Democratic energy is a large worry of the state, because once it is realized, state power and influence over us all will subside. There is no reason for us to be on a centralized grid, dependent on a few corporations for our lifestyle – democratic energy will allow people to move off the grid and allow individuals and communities to power themselves with the resources available to them. From smart grids, to new solar technology, small scale wind,  geo-thermal, and micro-generation as well as community gardens, urban farms, emergent local economies and so on – we can begin to disassociate from large institutions.
   The first step in this transition is going after a low hanging fruit – energy efficiency. Efficiency is a cost-effective means to move us into a post fossil dominated world. It is also incredibly democratic. Simply by weatherizing and upgrading our homes and business’s property owners, whether private or public, will be able to keep more of their money in their pockets. Energy efficiency work in our households and places of labor will make us less dependent on centralized forms of energy production. Simply put, the more money in our pockets is less money in the hands of utility monopolies (TVA or Duke/Progress Energy) which makes it harder for business interests to argue for rate hikes, integrated resource plans, and construction work in progress. As the fossil industry has been increasingly dependent on mechanization for corporate “efficiency,” weatherization and community efficiency programs will create jobs for all education/income levels – so people who have lost their jobs to machines will have meaningful work. As the over all economy transitions, as research and development is freed from the interests of the corporation state, other technologies are sure to follow, but energy efficiency is our first step towards energy liberation.

See also: Futures Forum: Climate Change: the film
Futures Forum: "...trying to use Typhoon Haiyan as an excuse to justify more concerted global action to 'combat climate change'... "
Futures Forum: "... a reckless use of public money at a time when people are very concerned about energy costs.”
Futures Forum: The Center for Climatic Research in Madison, Wisconsin... and climate change
Futures Forum: The national press and the IPCC report........................ and Climate Change


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