Yeah, sure, clickbaity title.
Global warming, as the name implies, is a global problem. The actions which affect the environment don't just affect the environment locally. That's the point of the various treaties and summits and accords and whatnot: a global problem requires a global solution.
Global solutions bring up a moral quandary: is it appropriate or even possible to enforce the will of those wishing to stop global warming on the biggest contributors to the problem? If it is, then how far is too far? This is a potential extinction event if the overwhelming scientific consensus is to be believed, so the right to life outweighs the impulse to profit or to create cheap energy in theory.
Let's start by defining fascism. Wikipedia gives an alright definition: a form of radical, right-wing, ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and the economy. Let's run with that.
So how would one realistically go about countering global warming? First, let's define realism.
A realistic solution must be physically possible. A realistic solution must be economically plausible. By economically plausible, I mean a nation must be able to direct the resources of its people toward accomplishing the goal, not that "someone has to receive enough money for it." A realistic solution must be enforceable. A realistic solution must NOT require more pollution than it attempts to solve. A realistic solution must actually solve the problem.
Now let's take a look at the currently contributing factors. For the sake of simplicity, we'll say the entirety of global warming is due to greenhouse gases.
Sources according to livescience: Deforestation, livestock, fossil fuels Sources according to the EPA (which are exclusive to the United States: Transportation, electricity, industry account for more than 75%, remaining ~19% comes from residential, commercial, and agricultural use. Interestingly, half of the ghg release attributed to transportation comes from private vehicles. The other half is from commercial trucks, planes, trains, and boats. Sources according to NASA: The industrial revolution and CO2 emissions, methane release attributed to livestock and rice decomposition (!?), NOx from fertilizers, CFCs Sources according to the United Nations Environmental Programme: fossil fuels releasing CO2, deforestation, rice cultivation, fertilizer use, and domesticated animals Sources according to the British Geological Survey: CO2 release from fossil fuels The common threads are fossil fuel use, deforestation, and agriculture, in that order when an order is mentioned.
How do we stop these contributing factors? Looking at America, replacing private internal combustion engined vehicles with electric vehicles is economically inevitable. Electricity is cheaper than gas by far, and plugging in ones car will be as ubiquitous as plugging in ones phone within three decades without any external influence. However, right now the transition from a gas infrastructure to an electric infrastructure would seemingly shift the burden from one fossil fuel burning device to another. Switching to electric or hybrid vehicles isn't the whole answer, though it will help. In fact, depending on the local sources of electricity, it might be WORSE to use an electric or partial electric vehicle. (I intend to write something else on the shortcomings of modern vehicle interior design later, but that's beyond this article's scope). Perhaps more useful or immediately impactful would be a better system of public transport, however, any solution will require a radical change to the power grid.
Any solution will also require a dramatic shift in the commercial transport industry, which accounts for half of American vehicle emissions (we'll ignore private aircraft for now, and I don't think there are enough railways for personal use to mention). What sort of shift? Commercial trucking may become electrified at some point. Rail transport could certainly be changed from diesel to electric, likely at great expense but also likely for great gain (assuming the national electric grid also changes). But the big issue here is cargo ships, which produce close to 3% of global CO2 emissions according to various sources. How can that be fixed?
Some ideas around the net have included retrofitting kites to ships and using counter-rotating propellers, but a better solution would be a strong international investment in nuclear cargo ships. It would be expensive, it would seem dangerous to the uninformed public, but the rewards would far outweigh even dangers that were guaranteed to be realized: government investment in nuclear cargo ships would promote peace (nations will be much less likely to go to war with a shipping partner, and much more likely to take action to protect their ships from pirates) and be less risky to the environment (the US Navy has trained teenagers to run hundreds of nuclear powered ships with no incident, and a risk of possible contamination is more desirable than a guarantee of the slow poisoning of the environment). Such a solution could likely be accomplished entirely through subsidies, government investment, and taxation, but the government imposing the solution would have to be highly resistant to the pushback coming from people who don't want to spend more money on better ships.
Let's move on to the power grid. The current grid in many countries is not only vulnerable, but dirty, and in some cases unreliable. Again, nuclear could be a good solution. Many reactor designs are inherently resistant to catastrophic failures or leaks, among them thorium based reactors. Other solutions involve waste material recovery or just shooting the waste back to the Sun from whence it came. Solar energy is a good small-scale solution, but requires a way to shunt excess energy out of the electrical system. Battery storage is great, but battery chemicals are also highly toxic. Maybe putting the excess into the power grid is a better solution. Wind power is also a possibility in some areas, but those areas are relatively limited and the power generation is even less reliable than solar. Whatever happens, coal must be replaced with something. Natural gas should be replaced with something. And under no circumstances should either be built new in any country. This isn't particularly fascist. Countries generally manage their own energy policy. What it is is imperialist. Countries dedicated to combating climate change must be willing and able to impose the changes they desire on less willing countries in order to maximize the reduction in greenhouse emissions. The government may brook no opposition within its own borders, or without, if climate change is to be stopped in its tracks.
There can be no opposition party.
Deforestation is difficult to tackle because many countries are already trying very hard to prevent illegal logging, to little success. A harder line must be taken, likely involving capital punishment as a deterrence. Poaching animals is punished severely, why not poaching plants as well? Further, residential construction and landscaping must be regulated. Xeriscaping, natural landscaping instead of maintenance-heavy lawns, and reforestation are all ideal solutions that will make a lot of people very angry because they sure do love their lawns (or at least having lawns, they usually don't love maintaining them). This is where economic incentives start to end and the government must encroach on what previously would have been considered a reasonable freedom. Environmentally-conscious HOAs could take action right now, but eventually a government solution is desirable despite the jobs it will make unnecessary.
Agriculture is a major contributor to deforestation. Imagine the land that could be reclaimed and the insect repellent that could be abandoned by indoor farming, hydroponics, and the like. The increase in electricity could be largely offset through skylights, LEDs, and solar energy. The water consumption inherent to hydroponics is lower over the long term than the water consumption in traditional agricultural methods. But where do the nutrients come from? Something to think about, and something which seems like too deep a rabbit hole to jump down this post. Animal emissions (cow shit) are the buzzword today, thanks to vegetarians and vegans. I don't think anyone will be willing to simply forgo meat, despite contributing 13% of global emissions. Perhaps fish would be a better option than pasture raised animals.
Crop residue burning should of course be reduced, as apparently should rice cultivation and fertilizer use. This will undoubtedly result in lower farm yields, higher food prices, and other undesirable(?) outcomes. Maybe such outcomes will encourage urban farming, suburban gardening, or just more conscious consumption.
All this is for naught if one can simply import cheaper food grown without consideration for the environment. If Canada, for example, were to unilaterally require all food to be grown in an environmentally friendly fashion, the economic consequences would be catastrophic. Canadian farms would struggle to adapt, food prices would skyrocket in the short term, and smuggling in outside crops such as Mexican farm grown tomatoes or American farm grown corn would likely increase over the long term. Any solution must be either globally (and likely forcibly) implemented or supported by a dramatic increase in nationalistic trading policy if it is to be implemented effectively. But it's not impossible to demand more indoor farming. Prefab buildings, semi-transparent plastic skylights, and boxes with water running through them (far less water than typically used on a farm) are not a far-fetched solution. Rather than subsidizing specific crops, subsidize qualified methods of production.
Finally, rice, the only specific plant mentioned by name in multiple sources. Rice itself doesn't produce greenhouse gases, but microorganisms breathing in oxygen and breathing out CO2 do. Rice is a staple crop in Asia. Asia's population is rising rapidly. I won't say "let's genocide the rice-eaters" because that's just stupid. I will say "pressure Asian nations to subsidize alternative crops" because that's much less stupid, and it's something those nations could feasibly do. What happens to the rice paddies? I don't know. Maybe they're filled in, maybe they're left stagnant. Maybe they're planted with trees or something. It likely depends too strongly on the local climate and flora to say definitively anyway.
Reducing the production of greenhouse emissions is well and good, but what about the gases already in our atmosphere? Replanting areas that were previously deforested will increase tree's carbon capture. China and Algeria have both been planting trees in front of deserts since the 1970's to some success. The Great Green Wall, an African initiative to just throw trees in front of the Sahara, seems to be succeeding to at least some degree. Millions of hectares of land has been planted, but it remains to be seen how many of those will be sustainable. China's solution seems to be losing trees at a rate of 1 loss per 5 planted trees, in part due to a lack of biodiversity. European reforestation efforts have long used conifers, which are less effective than trees with broader leaves at reflecting heat back into space.
Reforestation and the creation of artificial forests should therefore be accomplished by using a variety of plants. Artificial forests are less effective than artificial habitats. Perhaps billing them as game preserves would be more palatable to the public.
Ocean acidification is a poorly understood problem, but one that must be tackled sooner rather than later. I'd rather eat fish than whatever microbes are left once the fish have all died off. Supposedly, iron fertilization (dropping iron on plankton) could reverse this process, but that's still being debated.
The degree to which I have been willing to seemingly throw cost out the window in this essay may be alarming or even self-defeating. But between the world's reliance on fiat currencies, in which money means whatever one wants it to mean, and the potential of wartime economies, I believe the problem is not insurmountable due to economic concerns, only the trappings of representative rule. A centralized, authoritarian government with little to no political opposition and even less tolerance for lawbreaking must be established to resist lobbying efforts by those who currently profit off of polluting industries. The government must implement a number of policies which will affect everyone's daily life. The government must be willing to put its national interests first and foremost, and the first national interest it must advance is survival. Survival may only be accomplished by the elimination of the current active threats, and those threats include carbon production abroad - no matter where that "abroad" may be.
Comments and thoughts on my first, poorly-edited blog? Leave a response! Constructive criticism is always appreciated. Go line by line if you like, or just mention "hey X is inaccurate according to Y, do more research."