Anyone catch Lester Brown and Co.’s Plan B, on PBS last night ? Here, via Mother Earth News, is the heart of the message. Instead of “business as usual,” that is Plan A, Brown, (from the US Department of Agriculture, now at the Earth Policy Institute) and fellow-travelers advocate a radical restructuring of the world’s economy to get to close to carbon free energy by 2020, not to get there part way by 2050 as the US and others are currently staged to do.
In the PBS pitch, Lester Brown teams up with Paul Krugman, Tom Friedman, Tom Lovejoy, Bruce Babbitt and others to make the case for radical restructuring. They advocate for political movements/action on a scale unheard of (at least since World War Two, when President Roosevelt halted the production of automobiles in the US for several years to mobilize for armament production to battle Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito).
Plan B includes four tightly integrated components:
- Cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020
- Stabilize population at no more than 8 billion
- Eradicate poverty
- Restore the Earth’s natural systems—including forests, soils, grasslands, aquifers, and fisheries
All four components are tightly integrated and all four must move forward at the same time to be effective. There were many familiar themes presented in Plan B. But one that I was glad to see was that they advocate for a carbon tax, instead of some foolish carbon trading scheme. I have argued similarly on my Ecology and Economics blog. Plan B’s components reminded me generally of topics we used to talk about regularly in the Forest Service when I was bombarding people via email, particularly in the early 90s, on Eco-Watch.
[Update]: To make this relevant, which I agree with reader Brian that it is “questionable”, let’s add an inquiry question: Where between the lines of science and advocacy does Brown and Co.’s this rather strident polemic fit?”
How does this, and similar earlier “apocalyptic warnings” either inform forestry debates, else detract therefrom? We already know that there are both disciples and detractors re: global warming and the human-causation factor. We also know that when we attempt to either develop forest policy or apply said policy as forest practice we will encounter both cheerleaders and jeer-leaders. Short of “adaptive governance” political engagement, how are we to deal with any of this?