We can all use some positive news these days, especially on the environmental front in which science is considered evil, denial is an alternative fact and the EPA is now what I’m calling the Environmental Destruction Agency. And while I don’t want to gloss over the issues – there isn’t enough paint in the world to do that – I offer here The Distillery, a weekly (or thereabouts) selection of posts to help offset the PTSD of our current nightmare.
The posts I pick will be “real” in the sense that they aren’t pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking, as fun as those can be, but are evidence of EcoOptimism.
The theme here: good news disguised as bad news
January 4, 2018
2017’s costly climate change-fueled disasters are the ‘new normal,’ warns major reinsurer
and from The New York Times:
January 4, 2018
2017 Set a Record for Losses from Natural Disasters. It Could Get Worse
And the “Bomb Cyclone” wasn’t even in 2017, so we’re off to an inauspicious start. But there’s optimism here ….
Photo: U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker
EcoOptimism’s take: On the face of it, this doesn’t sound like an EcoOptimistic post, but it in fact emphasizes the economic incentive to mitigating and adapting to climate change. Insurance companies – especially reinsurers, the ones who insure the insurance companies – have been concerned with this for a while. The Times article references Munich Re, but Swiss Re has also studied the potential costs of covering insurance losses due to climate change and has been ringing alarm bells.
Arguably, since politicians (American, that is) aren’t onboard, it may be the business world that spurs, finally, US action. Ironically, politicians cling to the belief that environmental action is bad for business.
And if the business case for climate action doesn’t work, maybe the military case can…
February 2, 2018
Climate Impacts Nearly Half of U.S. Military Bases
Photo: Michael Lavender / U.S. Navy / Flickr
EcoOptimism’s take: The US military is a surprisingly staunch advocate for adaptation to climate change. Though Trump ridiculed Obama for saying so, climate change is a national security threat that could both create or exacerbate geopolitical and affect military readiness. This post, though, emphasizes the potential direct cost of climate change. As a military policy, it might even have Trump’s ear and bring him to his senses. But maybe that’s my EcoOptimism speaking.
China is going to stop accepting plastic for recycling, so…
January 15, 2018
America Needs a Plastics Intervention. Now’s the Time.
EcoOptimism’s take: So China’s going to stop taking the world’s plastic waste for recycling. That problem, though, creates the impetus for better recycling, plastics that are more recyclable, and/or plastics bans here and elsewhere. And, of course, to stop shipping our problems elsewhere.
A new twist to “Read My Lips” and taxes…
From Evolution News:
January 27, 2018
Would a Beef Tax Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?
Photo source: Evolution News
EcoOptimism’s take: : Taxes are bad, right? Not if they discourage consumption of things that aren’t good for us or the environment – and meat is both. Think about, for instance, taxes on cigarettes or alcohol. Or sugary drinks, as is catching on in some places. (Though NYC’s proposed tax didn’t survive a lawsuit. On the other hand, the city’s proposal for congestion pricing which, arguably, is a tax, is getting some traction after a false start.)
Now if we can only institute carbon taxes. Or if not that, maybe at least an increase in the decades old gasoline tax, which has been 18.4 cents since 1993. That means it’s actually decreased significantly due to inflation.
But taxes are bad, right?