Provocation # 210 People climate and economy
What seems left out of most climate discussions is the impact of necessary changes on ordinary people. It is treated as though we could switch energy from fossil to wind/solar without a ripple. If it costs more the family gets a subsidy to make up the diference. That is, they can still use the same amount of energy. Since the house requires gas and the car gas they will use the same amount . The house will not magically retrofit nor the car be easily traded in for an electric).
Imagine Harry, he lives with wife Jean and two kids in a house built in the fifties in a medium sized city. His job is eight miles from home, not a bad drive but it gets tighter at rush hour.
The word comes down (the form here is obscure) that the family must us some combination of less energy and more expensive energy. How will they do that, get the children to school, keep the house warm in winter and cooler in summer, and Jean spends the day in her car doing errands and working part time at the craft fair. Oh, Harry’s job – might just be gone. Saves costs of commuting!
Imagine what would have to happen (specific scenarios please) to this family to get to the energy level needed to prevent a 2 degree rise? (Assume the plausible scenario that things have to be happening now in orde to mee the 2050 target, or the 2025 target, or the 2020 target). Economists tend to talk about the transition as though like a banana peel on butter, it can just slide from the current state to a new state without anyone noticing except what is in the news about the whole system, GDP, jobs, ppm.