Thanks for making clear your opposition to our systems of representative democracy & regulated capitalism
However, it is wrong to state that they can't solve our greatest ecological problems
Indeed, when it comes to climate change, they already are
CO2 emissions have been declining in developed nations for more than a decade
- Europe's emissions in 2018 were 23% below 1990 levels
- US emissions fell 15% between 2005 and 2016
- US & Britain saw emissions from electricity decline 27% & 63% (!) between 2007 & 2018
Emissions in developing nations will peak & decline, just as they did in developed nations, once they achieve similar levels of prosperity
Global emissions could thus peak and decline by 2030 or 2040
All of that's happening under our existing political & econ systems
Is this really so hard to believe? After all, the same happened with other pollutants
Thanks to the transition to nat gas, cleaner vehicles & other changes, between 1980 and 2018:
- lead pollution declined 99%
- SO2 declined 91%
- CO declined 83%
- NO2 declined 61%
What about vulnerability to extreme weather events?
Mercifully, we've become far less vulnerable:
- Deaths from natural disasters declined by 92% (decadal average) over the last century
- Deaths from disasters declined by 80%+ over the last 40 years — including in poor nations
We still have big environmental problems — that's for sure
- Over 30% of the world's fisheries are overfished
- The amount of plastic waste in our oceans is rising
- The population of wild mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian species has declined 50% between 1970 - 2010
But these problems will be solved through our existing systems:
- Advanced aquaculture allows us to eat more farmed fish & less wild fish
- Econ. growth allows poor nations to create waste management systems
- Modern ag reduces land use, leaving more of Earth for other species
Our supposedly terrible economic system has:
- Allowed for Spain, France & other rich nations to re-forest
- Reduced fires globally by 25%
- Increased the number of protected nature areas *25-fold* — an area equivalent in size to the whole of Africa
But hasn't the intensification of ag resulted in big problems like nitrogen pollution?
Yes, of course there are side effects, but they are getting smaller
Rich nations, for example, have doubled ag yields w/o increasing fertilizer use, since the 60s.
And the side effects of modern ("industrial") agriculture pale in contrast to the benefits
The total amt. of land we use to produce meat — our biggest impact — peaked 20 yrs ago
Since then, land used for livestock and pasture has *decreased* by an area 80% the size of Alaska
I suspect that this is the first time you've seen many of these statistics, and you may rightly be suspicious of them
And indeed, you shouldn't take my word for it.
We have put the source for the science and data at the bottom of each chart or graph.
In addition, I have spent the last several years researching & writing a book that separates science fact from science fiction
I wrote it so that people like you could be more informed about real world environmental trends
I hope you read it.
You can follow @ShellenbergerMD.
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