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Archive for 2. Dezember 2018

Why we stopped trusting elites

Posted by hkarner - 2. Dezember 2018

Date: 01-12-2018
Source: The Guardian By William Davies

The credibility of establishment figures has been demolished by technological change and political upheavals. But it’s too late to turn back the clock.

For hundreds of years, modern societies have depended on something that is so ubiquitous, so ordinary, that we scarcely ever stop to notice it: trust. The fact that millions of people are able to believe the same things about reality is a remarkable achievement, but one that is more fragile than is often recognised.

At times when public institutions – including the media, government departments and professions – command widespread trust, we rarely question how they achieve this. And yet at the heart of successful liberal democracies lies a remarkable collective leap of faith: that when public officials, reporters, experts and politicians share a piece of information, they are presumed to be doing so in an honest fashion.

The notion that public figures and professionals are basically trustworthy has been integral to the health of representative democracies. After all, the very core of liberal democracy is the idea that a small group of people – politicians – can represent millions of others. If this system is to work, there must be a basic modicum of trust that the small group will act on behalf of the much larger one, at least some of the time. As the past decade has made clear, nothing turns voters against liberalism more rapidly than the appearance of corruption: the suspicion, valid or otherwise, that politicians are exploiting their power for their own private interest. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why is climate change so hard to tackle?

Posted by hkarner - 2. Dezember 2018

Date: 29-11-2018
Source: The Economist

A problem of unprecedented scope and intractability, to which current responses are unequal

It is more than a quarter of a century since the leaders of the world, gathered in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, committed their countries to avoiding “dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system” by signing the un convention on climate change. The case for living up to their words has only become stronger. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere grows unremittingly. Average global temperatures have risen, too, to about 1°C above those of the pre-industrial era. The science that links the two is incontestable. Recent extreme-weather events, from floods in Hanoi to fires in California, were made more likely by the change that the climate has already undergone. Things will only get worse—perhaps catastrophically so.

In a sense the world is already equipped for the task at hand. Wind and solar power have, after huge subsidies, joined nuclear reactors and dams as affordable ways of generating gigawatts of electricity without burning fossil fuels. As our Technology Quarterly this week shows, parts of the energy system not easily electrified—some forms of transport, industrial processes like making steel and cement, heating offices and homes—could also be decarbonised with coming technologies. And policymakers have tools to bring about change, including carbon taxes, regulation, subsidies and, if they choose, command and control. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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