Several memes that are popular “so what?” responses of those who push back against the idea that there is any serious Ecological Crisis going on.
1. It hurts the poor
2. New technologies will make it all better.
3. The U.S. is doing better than other nations.
4. Addressing the Ecological Crisis will harm the economy.
1. What Industrialized nations have done, in contributing so much to this Ecological Crisis, is to destroy lands and radically shift Climates that the indigenous populations of the world have depended upon for their very existence and thriving. They never asked to “join the global economy”. They were living lives of independence from that, and doing quite well as far as they were concerned. But for our technologies, to invade their lands and extract their resources, is destroying the former livelihoods that have fed their families and villages for generations. And where they haven’t experienced invasion and commandeering of their resources and farmland , the CO2 pumped into the atmosphere has radically altered the Climate, most often in the very places where many of the now poor live. ( I say “now poor” , because prior to all this, when they were living on land where their families had been living for centuries, and living in harmony and in complimentary fashion with the earth, they were not at all poor, but living abundantly. Climate Change affects most acutely those who depend upon the land and a stable climate that they have seen for thousands of years. )
2. New technologies of the past 300 years have been largely responsible for the Ecological mess we now have. Humankind has traversed ecological limits many times over. We do have technological knowledge that CAN help to address these man-made problems (clearly caused by the Industrial Revolution). One is a rapid and urgent shift to renewable energy to replace fossil fuels. It is also cheaper than fossil fuels to run on solar, wind, and battery storage. The time spent stalling the full growth and development of these technologies has cost us dearly.
3.What “other nations” are doing is not something that should have any bearing on our own responsibilities. The U.S. has one of the highest per capita carbon emissions footprints in the world. So naturally there is a lot of improvement room, and some in the U.S have begun to impact that footprint. But many of our fellow “Developed countries” have replaced much more of their energy production with renewables than we have.
4.The Economic “harm” argument is nonsense. Ecological instability is massively expensive, through impacts such as increased intensities of storms, warming, (and yes, even cold snaps produced by exagerrated reaches of “altered” patterns of the polar vortex). IN addition, renewables are cheaper to build, to run, and to maintain than fossil fuel driven production, even before we factor in the most important part: they don’t keep piling in the CO2 concentrations, which actually increased in the US in 2017, despite what your figures** say (which I expect come from the same sources as these 4 arguments).
** “your figures” being the ones used, if any, to claim that the U.S. has decreased emissions (and even if so, not nearly enough. We still have left plenty of “conversion room” from fossil fuel to renewables.