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mhornberger t1_j72t3mw wrote

I don't think we had to persuade anyone else to want to be rich. People seem to like wealth, comfort, status goods, travel, etc.

No one blames China for dragging their people out of poverty. Conservatives are just using China as an excuse for the US to not invest more in clean energy. They aren't speaking in good faith, and never were. No one advocates for China to have remained poor, just as no one wants India to stay poor.

China's emissions will drop. Right now their emissions are increasing because their electricity demand is increasing faster than they can install renewables. But that won't continue forever, because energy demand doesn't keep going up forever. They're still in the process of pulling their people out of poverty.


strvgglecity t1_j7335w0 wrote

Yep. All true. Have to disagree with the implied optimism though. American culture is excess, not even just comfort anymore. Our economy operates on excess consumption. Capitalism requires excess, which causes obvious major environmental harm. It's not just energy, it's what we do with it. Never has a new utility been provided that people didn't use up and then require larger systems to provide. I'm confident that even if we solarized 100%of our energy needs, the very next day we would need more be a use we always use maximum capacity (which includes enormous amounts of waste at all levels).

I believe reducing individual consumption and desireto consume must be a goal. Otherwise we're just living on a finite planet pretending we have infinite resources.


mhornberger t1_j734m38 wrote

What is "excess"? Are you just devaluing people's wants as not being authentic, just because you don't think they should want them? People in Dubai, Tokyo, Beijing etc who are buying status or luxury goods are not "acting American." People just like that stuff.

Sumptuary laws have a long history, long predating capitalism. People have always passed judgment on desires of the rabble for luxury, status goods, and the like. So much that they sometimes passed laws trying to regulate it.

Regarding 'optimism,' I wasn't speculating about the future. I was pointing out something that has already happened in many rich countries. There's no reason that China would be exempt from this longstanding trend.

I think it's astounding that the US is using almost 20% less energy per person than when I was born. With BEVs and ongoing greening of the grid, that will improve yet further.

>Otherwise we're just living on a finite planet pretending we have infinite resources.

Resource use was never going to scale to infinity. Energy use plateaus. No one buys infinite blue jeans or eats infinite steaks. People like wealth, yes, but consumption does not keep spiraling upward forever. No one was under the impression that we were going to have infinite people using infinite energy per person, no more than we were going to be eating infinite gyros or infinite M&Ms.

Humans won't even last for infinite years. The sun and all the stars in the galaxy will not last for infinite years. "We can't scale x to infinity" is a given, but also not a rebuttal of anything anyone actually believes. Plus it's generally just a proxy for degrowth now, which is a different argument altogether. You don't forego building a house now just because of the truism that we can't build infinite houses.