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Global warming: a threat akin to Nazism?

How do you get people to pay serious attention to lowering greenhouse gas emissions? Some say we need to make reduction our national, or global, moon shot, or remake climate-change activism as a patriotic calling on par with past wartime efforts.

Time magazine’s Ecocentric blog has a piece about a (theoretical, at this point) energy rationing scheme in Britain, in which citizens would be allotted energy credits, or “tradable energy quotas” (TEQs).  Spend them on fuel or energy, and if you run out you can buy or trade them with others who’ve got extras because they’ve purchased sustainable low-emissions energy, which subtracts fewer TEQs from one’s account than high-emissions energy,  or they generally live lower on the hog, or perhaps even hogless. (Read a report on the proposal by the Lean Economy Connection on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil here.)

The last time Britain implemented a rationing program was, of course, during World War II. The piece asks, “Does the British public believe that climate change or fuel scarcity are threats akin to Nazism?” And if they did, would that be enough to get them to make sacrifices for the good of the planet? (This short piece doesn’t address the impact on the poor,  but the foundation report deals with it briefly here.) The piece ends with this: “Brits and Americans and everyone else in the rich nations may end up deciding that they would simply prefer the good life now, even if it means continuing on this absurd and relentless march into a furnace of their own creation.” Is it just me, or is this metaphor a little tasteless?


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