Importance of Natural Resources

Why generational pressure is the key to climate change policy | Dan Esty | Big Think


DANIEL C. ESTY: The key to progress on environment
broadly and on climate change in particular is to change values. I think this has to be understood as in some
regards an ethical issue, a moral issue. And one has to see it as a wrong to contaminate
the planet and to put at risk the future of humanity on the planet. And I think that change is coming and curiously
but perhaps not really surprisingly it is coming from young people much more from the
generation that’s currently in positions of leadership. Greta and other young people are out there
saying to the leaders in political positions of power not only in the United States but
across the world: Step up, you need to do more. And I think we have seen again and again that
transformational change is often driven by generational change. And I think it’s almost certainly going to
be true on climate change. Fifty years ago if we’d had this interview
I’d probably be smoking or maybe smoking a pipe as a professor. That’s so unacceptable now you don’t even
have to tell me that I can’t come in and light up a cigarette. Norms have changed. Values have changed. We know now that that’s completely unacceptable
and a threat to public health. And I think we’re starting to get there on
climate change. Things that might have in the past seemed
normal, acceptable, even if they seemed a little bad, a little bit of harm are increasingly
totally unacceptable. And we therefore have I think the foundation
for the kind of generational change and change in values that can really drive us more quickly
towards climate change solutions. In our Better Planet book there’s a really
beautiful essay by one of the students at Yale, one of several student essays in this
case by a guy named Paul Rink spelling out how young people in particular are starting
to drive some of these court cases where they take on both the government and the big energy
industry companies and say it’s up to you to make our future secure and you’re not doing
the job you need to do. And I do think that that risk that there will
be a change in society’s values and that the court system, the judges, the legal community
will begin to say to the energy world you do have some responsibility here. You’re not protected from liability and that
prospect might get the energy companies to become part of the solution as opposed to
leading the problem. If you want to ask me about the best path
forward it would be to get those energy companies to transform the vision of themselves from
being oil companies or worse yet coal companies and to really think of themselves as leaders
of a path to a clean energy future. And I think there is evidence that people
have done that in the past in other arenas, and I think it could be done here.


Reader Comments

  1. Our children will be so amazingly spoiled by capitalism, seeing someone who learned a trade make 60k+ a year, buying our amazing modern products, that they won't realise how high the price of 'socialism for the environment' really is, until it's too late.

  2. Disheartening to see so many dislikes. It's also sad to see so many people being misled by disinformation from big oil. Think critically and look at the facts!

  3. Using our brains will be the key to climate change. Politicians and thos who decide on policies are seldomly the experts and one problem leads to the next…time to unsubscribe

  4. So… Big Brain time. Climate change, yeah, Anyone who thinks that we, humans, have done anything to do with this increase in global temperature, has NEVER taken a course on Geographic sciences. The Earth, this blue/green marble we live on, is in a CONSTANT STATE OF CHANGE. Tectonic plates move because within the core of this planet is a substance called lava, it creates a fluid layer between the actual core of the planet and the crusty slag of a surface we call home. this slag goes through heating and cooling phases, so the planet doesn't get so hot that we become a fluid planet, nor so cold that we become a solid dead chunk of ice.

    Look throughout the earth's history, it heats up, and it cools down. then it heats up again. and then… OMG it cools back off. during the state of heating, life thrives and expands, the earth gains mass, mountains crumble, oceans recede, and landmasses grow. when it gets Too Hot, the ice caps melt, reintroducing cooling water to the world, solidifying new terra, and putting the heat in check. once the internal radiation of the planet is stabilized by the cooling waters, we see venting of the excess heat "volcanic eruptions", which chain react with earth quakes. the planet begins cooling, new mountains form as the new plates press against each other, and it continues to cool until we reach an ice age, where the core of the planet begins yet again to super heat and start all over again.

    So stop saying we can slow/stop/change the climate changes. we are but fleas on the mammoth we call earth. you want to stop climate change, you'll kill the earth when you do. climate change is merely the planet breathing.

  5. Stop trying to make Greta Happen tho.
    Its not gonna happen.
    Noone likes rich kids yelling about things they know nothing about.

  6. A nice thought, but wrong. The real key to reversing climate change is economic pressure. As technology improves, renewable energy sources will inevitably become cheaper, adn as fossil fuels become scarcer, they will inevitably become more expensive. People, regardless of social ideals or peer pressure, will always go for the cheaper option, and this will incentivise energy companies to switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources, and the reversal of climate change will be an unintended consequence of this.

  7. Think! Man made climate change??? Why do the "Gretas" not protest against that mass production of babies in Africa: every 10 days 100 000 000 new Africans. Man made! Man mad climate change!

  8. it's so easy to press first world countries on the severity of climate change. especially if the majority of those countries already are/have been reducing their carbon footprint significantly compared to their industrial/energy growth. but all these climate crisis alarmists rather point the finger and blame those that would as much as give them any semblance of a platform on which they can spout their ill informed agenda. than actually try and convince the actual culprits, who won't give them even a second of time, to fix their ways. i mean, it's far easier to berate the EU and US about this then it is to convince China, India and parts of Africa to maybe not pollute like it's the start of the industrial revolution… though then again. we won't share any up to date power plant plans for coal and/or gas with them, cause despite that being countless times better then what they currently have, we don't want to let them have any form of industrial revolution like the west has had. and god forbid we actually go nuclear. the cleanest, most abundant, most Co2 neutral form of energy currently available. "o but it's not safe!" it's the safest form of energy we currently have. even with the mayor disasters from the past.

  9. Yes and in the 1950's, the 60's, 70's……etc it was the same, Machiavellian characters rise to the top who can not see past their own egos to do anything about the situation

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