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As a new sense of urgency to act on climate change rises—through calls for climate emergencies and green new deals—it is vital that we limit pushback while encouraging action.
Worst of all, we could do nothing about our rising global emissions. But the next worst thing is to provoke popular resistance to climate action. If large swathes of people revolt against efforts to mitigate emissions, we're hardly any better off than having not acted at all. Advances must outpace setbacks.
Question - Change - Question - Emissions - Question
The question of whether to face up to climate change is, thankfully, largely won. The technical question of how to mitigate emissions is flourishing. But we must also address the political question of how to bring people along with the low-emissions transition.
To sustain public support over years and decades, care is essential. Of course, the climate crisis is itself an appalling lapse in duty of care by decision-makers, and we all increasingly face the risks of this.
Duty - Response - Decision-makers - Consequences - Climate
Still, we shouldn't overlook this duty in our response. Decision-makers can't afford to be careless about the consequences of climate action, nor uncaring towards people it affects. This should be a careful revolution, which is urgent without being reckless, bold without being cruel.
American political scientist Joan Tronto and civil rights activist Berenice Fisher once defined care as "everything we do to maintain, continue, and repair our world so that we may live in it as well as possible." They propose several steps.
Problem - Second - Care - Responsibility - Third
The first is caring about a problem. Second is taking care by assuming responsibility to act. Third is care giving where intention becomes action. And fourth is care receiving where the carer ensures that the other's needs are actually met. If not, then the cycle of care begins again, by acknowledging that the original problem is not adequately solved, or that new problems have sprung...
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