Mobilization should acknowledge international scope, not just American scene
Feedback on the document. First, immense congratulations on an incredibly detailed comprehensive document. The following comments are meant only as feedback, and not in any way meant to take away from congratulations. The document is so dense that it would likely take me months to absorb so as to do it justice (and then distract me from other ways of contributing). Thus I can scan it, but I cannot not offer critique in detail (even if I had the expertise to do so). What would be most helpful to me would be a 4-5 page summary of key points, from whence I could then refer back to the document in depth if needed (by myself or others in discussion). This summary needs to be near the beginning and easily extracted from the main body, thus available for wider distribution.
On a number of occasions, the transition from referencing the past to referencing the present is too rapid, and I was initially left in confusion. A specific example is on page 30, para 2 (past) to para 3 (present) “The President should . . .” A lead-in such as “In the current emergency response to global warming, the President should . . .” would be very helpful.
What follows is a tricky point (please remember that i am simply telling my truths so as to be honest; this is the nature of feedback, not criticism): Overall, the document is heavily orientated to America. I am a Canadian. I am very aware of how, even in Canada, there is an anti-American stance that objects to the strong tendency of Americans to language as if the only country was America. And unfortunately this document is of that ilk. For example, America did not win the war — the Allies won the war, albeit the massive industrial weight of America was a major factor.But when you say America won the war, you lose the contributions of Canada, Britain, etc. I am not being picky; there are many other examples I could give. And the last thing needed at present is to alienate other communities, especially ones who wish to applaud the work you are doing. Global warming is a world issue, not an American issue. And it is an emotional issue, not just a technological one.
If mobilization is to be effective , the mobilization must eventually be international in its scope. As a simple remedy, I would suggest adding a paragraph or two at the beginning in which you acknowledge the international scope, both of winning WWII and of global warming, and that the need is for international mobilization. You could then indicate that the current document addresses the American scene, and may provide a model for how international and other national bodies might respond in kind. Somewhere in the body of the document, you could then scope out how, for example, American and China might then interact more effectively. We need global governance. I would suggest this recent article from The Great Transition Initiative: Towards Global Political Integration. Again, thanks for all the work.
Dave MacQuarrie, West Vancouver, BC.
I very much agree with Dave that this document is way too much for the average person to digest and also too centered on the USA. I was going to initiate a comment but my thoughts fit well here.
WWII was not a global event. It was a handful of countries fighting a brutal war against a group of other countries with the rest of the world sitting out. In contrast, global warming is obviously global. If I understand the analogy, it is that the mobilization in the USA provided the leadership and support for the allies to win WWII and we can do it again. Here are my related questions. Does the USA need to take the sole leadership role? Do we expect the rest of the world to mobilize concurrently with us? Can under-developed parts of the world use these same techniques?
Mack Tilton, Kansas City, MO USA
Does the future of civilization rest on the upcoming US election? This is a very interesting document. Obviously, it is VERY United States-centric. The role of international agreements (COP21 anyone) or other national efforts are utterly lacking. In fact, if you accept the urgent tone on face value, then one could argue that the very future of civilization rests on Hillary Clinton winning the election and then her being convinced to essentially immediately pursue the emergency measures outlined in the plan (not to mention getting it through Congress!). None of the timelines presented are remotely achievable if we do not start until after the 2020 elections or later. In a similar vein, there is very little in the plan on how other nations might synergize with the US if it pursued the plan as described. If the US were to adopt these measures, will the rest of the world fall in line and head off catastrophe? The plan is pretty thin on this point.
My other major comment is that I am not convinced that the economy as currently structured is robust enough to accommodate the massive changes envisioned in a very short time. The shuttering of various industries, and the scaling up of others, as envisioned, would cause vast dislocations in labor markets. Millions will become unemployed while millions will need to be trained and re-employed. The plan envisions trillions in government spending. I’m just not sure that the economy can accommodate such massive changes and remain stable.
Finally, there is essentially no science in the document to back up the urgent timetable. There is not universal agreement that there is zero carbon budget remaining, for example. While I understand not putting the science in the plan, it will need to be part of the larger plan to convince President Clinton to pursue the program outlined. Good luck!
Yes, David, the future of civilization rests on the upcoming US election. That, and the outcome of the 100-day summit. It is a long shot to be sure, but the next 8 months are the most important in history. If we capitalize on the opportunity in front of us history will credit HRC with leading the global victory over climate change the way that FDR is credited for winning WWII and Lincoln for winning the Civil War. We know that Russell Greene is the real hero for creating this opportunity. Russell Greene is our Joshua Chamberlain. Andy Andrews is the author of the Butterfly Effect. Watch him tell Joshua Chamberlain’s story:
Thanks so much for the great feedback and apologies for the belated response.
Yes - we plan to produce an executive summary for the final version.
I think you are right that the piece is too “America First.” If you could point out to me all the places that seem inaccurate or rub you the wrong way as a Canadian I would very much appreciate it.
We are working on an international section, as well. That should be ready in the near future.