People who want to do nothing about climate change, often ask how many jobs leftists are prepared to sacrificed to fight climate change. They are presumably trying to imply that fighting climate change will produce even more unemployment and misery amongst working people.
A true and accurate answer is difficult, as it is hard to predict the results of actions in a complex system. However, we can guess that the loss of jobs fighting climate change, is likely to be considerably less than neoliberals worried about during the great neoliberal revolution, or the birth of the computer age, or whatever.
This is because most lefists talk about something called ‘just transition’, in which displaced people like coal miners are helped to find new work, or set up new businesses, and are not left in poverty or whatever, as usually happens when the coal company moves out because they have dug up the coal and destroyed the fields and want to move somewhere more profitable.
People on the left also suspect there may be more jobs in renewables than in fossil fuels, particularly during the layout period, and especially if fossil fuels are brought in from overseas, or if automation continues to increase in mining. So far installing rooftop solar requires people and care, and I don’t see that being ended soon.
It would be nice to see people on the right worried about jobs lost through automation in mining, or automation in offices, through the expansion of decision making programs, or even through their anti-renewable legislation and activities. It might be nice to see them worry about money lost to the workers because people find it hard to negotiate good wages without unions. The proportion of GDP going to the population in general is declining, but that is apparently not a problem.
We might also wonder, how many lives are rightists prepared to sacrifice to preserve fossil fuel company profits? How much displacement of people from their homes will they tolerate through changes in environment or produced by mining? How many deaths would they like through pollution, and poisoning?
It is hard to predict how many people will die from climate change, but it won’t be none, and almost certainly will not be trivial, assuming that you don’t mind some people dying to preserve profits.
Not doing anything, is surely going to create massive misery amongst ordinary people, and may even destroy the economy that we rely on. So, while it is probable that if we do try and solve the problem we won’t develop any worse paid, and more precarious, jobs than most people have now, it is highly probable that people will be much worse off if we do nothing.
Doing nothing is a greater danger than doing something.
The weird thing is that most leftists have some faith in the capacity of capitalism to thrive through creative destruction, and in its ability to adapt to new circumstances, while most rightists just seem to want to preserve established profits, or have massive fear of change…. In general, people on the right don’t even propose solutions to the problem, just hope that it is not real or that it won’t be that bad, and we can keep on destroying things forever to make our money. Sad news, but the Earth is finite, and we are sure not ready to get into the space business yet.