호주는 우리에게 지옥길을 보여준다 (정치적 반응이 우리를 더욱 두렵게 한다) (2020.01.09) /뉴욕타임즈_한글번역

Australia Shows Us the Road to Hell

The political reaction is scarier than the fires.

Paul Krugman

By Paul Krugman

Opinion Columnist

  • Jan. 9, 2020
A controlled burn along the Princess Highway in Meroo National Park, Australia.
A controlled burn along the Princess Highway in Meroo National Park, Australia.Credit…Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

In a rational world, the burning of Australia would be a historical turning point. After all, it’s exactly the kind of catastrophe climate scientists long warned us to expect if we didn’t take action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, a 2008 report commissioned by the Australian government predicted that global warming would cause the nation’s fire seasons to begin earlier, end later, and be more intense — starting around 2020.

Furthermore, though it may seem callous to say it, this disaster is unusually photogenic. You don’t need to pore over charts and statistical tables; this is a horror story told by walls of fire and terrified refugees huddled on beaches.

So this should be the moment when governments finally began urgent efforts to stave off climate catastrophe.

But the world isn’t rational. In fact, Australia’s anti-environmentalist government seems utterly unmoved as the nightmares of environmentalists become reality. And the anti-environmentalist media, the Murdoch empire in particular, has gone all-out on disinformation, trying to place the blame on arsonists and “greenies” who won’t let fire services get rid of enough trees.

These political reactions are more terrifying than the fires themselves.PAUL KRUGMAN’S NEWSLETTER Get a better understanding of the economy — and an even deeper look at what’s on Paul’s mind. Sign up here.

Climate optimists have always hoped for a broad consensus in favor of measures to save the planet. The trouble with getting action on climate, the story went, was that it was hard to get people’s attention: The issue was complex, while the damage was too gradual and too invisible. In addition, the big dangers lay too far in the future. But surely once enough people had been informed about the dangers, once the evidence for global warming became sufficiently overwhelming, climate action would cease to be a partisan issue.

The climate crisis, in other words, would eventually become the moral equivalent of war — an emergency transcending the usual political divides.

But if a nation in flames isn’t enough to produce a consensus for action — if it isn’t even enough to produce some moderation in the anti-environmentalist position — what will? The Australia experience suggests that climate denial will persist come hell or high water — that is, through devastating heat waves and catastrophic storm surges alike.

Buildings on the main street of Mogo, Australia, destroyed by fire.
Buildings on the main street of Mogo, Australia, destroyed by fire.Credit…Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

You might be tempted to dismiss Australia as a special case, but the same deepening partisan division has long been underway in the United States. As late as the 1990s, Democrats and Republicans were almost equally likely to say that the effects of global warming had already begun. Since then, however, partisan views have diverged, with Democrats increasingly likely to see climate change happening (as indeed it is), while Republicans increasingly see and hear no climate evil.

Does this divergence reflect changing party composition? After all, highly educated voters have been moving toward the Democrats, less-educated voters toward the Republicans. So is it a matter of how well informed each party’s base is?

Probably not. There’s substantial evidence that conservatives who are highly educated and well informed about politics are more likely than other conservatives to say things that aren’t true, probably because they are more likely to know what the conservative political elite wants them to believe. In particular, conservatives with high scientific literacy and numeracy are especially likely to be climate deniers.

But if climate denial and opposition to action are immovable even in the face of obvious catastrophe, what hope is there for avoiding the apocalypse? Let’s be honest with ourselves: Things are looking pretty grim. However, giving up is not an option. What’s the path forward?

The answer, pretty clearly, is that scientific persuasion is running into sharply diminishing returns. Very few of the people still denying the reality of climate change or at least opposing doing anything about it will be moved by further accumulation of evidence, or even by a proliferation of new disasters. Any action that does take place will have to do so in the face of intractable right-wing opposition.

This means, in turn, that climate action will have to offer immediate benefits to large numbers of voters, because policies that seem to require widespread sacrifice — such as policies that rely mainly on carbon taxes — would be viable only with the kind of political consensus we clearly aren’t going to get.

What might an effective political strategy look like? I’ve been rereading a 2014 speech by the eminent political scientist Robert Keohane, who suggested that one way to get past the political impasse on climate might be via “an emphasis on huge infrastructural projects that created jobs” — in other words, a Green New Deal. Such a strategy could give birth to a “large climate-industrial complex,” which would actually be a good thing in terms of political sustainability.

Can such a strategy succeed? I don’t know. But it looks like our only chance given the political reality in Australia, America, and elsewhere — namely, that powerful forces on the right are determined to keep us barreling down the road to hell.

<호주는 우리에게 지옥으로 가는 길을 보여주고 있다>

그 정치적 반응은 화재보다 더 무섭다 –

By Paul Krugman


문명 사회에서 호주의 불타는 것은 역사적인 전환점이 될 것이다. 결국, 이것은 정확히 우리가 온실 가스 배출을 제한하는 조치를 취하지 않는다면 과학자들이 오랫동안 우리에게 경고한 것과 같은 재앙적인 기후다. 사실, 호주 정부가 의뢰한 2008년 보고서는 지구 온난화가 2020년경부터 화재 시즌을 더 일찍 시작하고, 더 늦게 끝내고, 더 격렬하게 만들 것이라고 예측했다.

게다가, 이렇게 말하는 것은 냉담해 보일지 모르지만, 이 재앙은 유별나게 사진 찍기 쉽다. 당신은 도표와 통계표를 자세히 볼 필요가 없다. 이것은 불길에 휩싸인 벽과 공포에 질린 피난민들이 해변에 옹기종기 모여 있는 무서운 이야기다.

그러므로 이것은 정부가 마침내 기후 재앙을 막기 위한 긴급한 노력을 시작한 순간이다.

하지만 세상은 합리적이지 않다. 사실, 호주의 반환경주의 정부는 환경주의자들의 악몽이 현실화되면서 전혀 흔들리지 않는 것처럼 보인다. 그리고 특히 반환경주의 매체인 머독 제국(미디어 재벌 – 루퍼트 머독) 은 방화범과 소방서에서 충분한 나무를 제거하지 못하게 하는 “녹색인”에게 책임을 떠넘기면서 잘못된 정보에 전력을 기울였다.

이러한 정치적 반응은 화재 자체보다 더 무섭다. Paul KRUGMAN의 NEWSLETTER는 경제에 대해 더 잘 이해하게 될 것이다.

기후 낙관론자들은 항상 지구를 구하기 위한 조치에 찬성하는 광범위한 합의를 희망해왔다. 문제는 기후에 대한 조치를 즉시 취하는 것이 어려웠기 때문에 사람들의 관심을 끌기도 어려웠다는 것이다. 문제는 복잡했지만, 피해는 너무 점진적이고 너무 눈에 보이지 않았다. 게다가, 큰 위험들은 미래에 너무 멀리 놓여 있었다. 그러나 일단 충분한 사람들이 위험에 대해 알게 되면, 지구 온난화의 증거가 충분히 압도적이 되면, 기후 보호운동은 당파적인 문제가 되지 않을 것이다.

다시 말해서 기후 위기는 결국 보통의 정치적 분열을 초월한 비상사태인 전쟁과 같은 도덕적 동등성이 될 것이다.

그러나 만약 불길에 휩싸인 국가가 행동에 대한 공감대를 형성하기에 충분하지 않다면 – 반환경주의적 입장에 어느 정도 절제를 할 수 없다면 – 무엇을 할 것인가? 호주의 경험은 기후에 대한 무관심이 지옥이든 높은 물이든 계속 우리에게 돌아올 것임을 시사한다. 즉, 엄청난 폭염과 엄청난 폭풍우가 똑같이 몰아칠 것이다.

당신은 호주를 특별한 경우로 치부하고 싶은 유혹을 받을지도 모르지만, 같은 당파적 분열이 오랫동안 미국에서 진행되어 왔다. 1990년대 말까지만 해도 민주당과 공화당은 지구 온난화의 영향이 이미 시작되었다고 거의 똑같이 말할 가능성이 있었다. 그러나 그 이후, 민주당원들은 기후변화가 일어나는 것을 점점 더 보게 되는 반면, 공화당은 기후해악이 없다고 보고 듣는 등 당파적 견해는 엇갈렸다.

이 분열은 당 구성의 변화를 반영하는 것인가? 결국 고학력 유권자들은 민주당 쪽으로, 저학력 유권자들은 공화당 쪽으로 움직이고 있다. 그렇다면 그것은 각 당의 기반이 얼마나 잘 알려져 있느냐의 문제인가?

아마 아닐 것입니다. 고학력이고 정치에 대해 잘 아는 보수주의자들이 다른 보수주의자들보다 사실이 아닌 말을 할 가능성이 높다는 실질적인 증거가 있는데, 아마도 그들은 보수주의 정치 엘리트들이 그들이 무엇을 믿기를 원하는지 더 잘 알기 때문일 것이다. 특히 과학적으로 읽고 쓰는 능력과 수적 능력을 갖춘 보수주의자들은 기후운동 반대론자가 될 가능성이 높다.

그러나 기후 운동에 대한 부정과 행동에 대한 반대가 명백한 재앙 앞에서조차 움직이지 않는다면, 종말론을 피하는 데 무슨 희망이 있겠는가? 우리 자신에게 솔직해져 보자. 상황이 꽤 암울해 보인다. 하지만 포기는 선택이 아니다. 앞으로 나아갈 길은 무엇인가?

답은, 꽤 명백하게, 과학적 설득(기후에 대한 무관심에 대해) 이 급격히 감소하고 있다는 것이다. 극소수의 사람들만이 여전히 기후변화의 현실을 부정하거나 최소한 그것에 대해 어떤 행동을 하는 것에 반대한다 하더라도 추가적인 증거의 축적이나 심지어 새로운 재난의 확산에 의해 움직일 것이다. 어떤 행동이든 난해한 우익의 반대에도 불구하고 그렇게(기후변화에 대처) 해야 할 것이다.

이것은 결국, 기후변화에 대한 조치가 많은 유권자들에게 즉각적인 혜택을 제공해야 한다는 것을 의미하는데, 왜냐하면 탄소세에 주로 의존하는 정책들과 같이 광범위한 희생을 요구하는 것처럼 보이는 정책들은 우리가 분명하게 얻을 수 없는 정치적 합의를 통해서만 가능하기 때문이다.

효과적인 정치 전략은 어떻게 보일까? 나는 저명한 정치학자 로버트 키오헤인의 2014년 연설을 다시 읽고 있는데, 그는 기후에 대한 정치적 교착상태를 극복하는 한 가지 방법은 “일자리를 창출한 거대한 인프라 프로젝트에 대한 강조” 즉, 녹색 뉴딜을 통해서일 수도 있다고 제안했다. 이런 전략은 ‘대 기후산업단지’를 낳을 수 있는데, 이는 사실상 정치적 지속가능성 측면에서 좋은 일일 것이다.

그런 전략이 성공할 수 있을까. 나는 모른다. 그러나 호주, 미국, 그리고 다른 곳에서의 정치적 현실, 즉 오른쪽에 있는 강력한 세력들이 우리를 지옥으로 가는 길로 계속 내몰려고 작정한 것을 고려하면 그것은 우리의 유일한 기회처럼 보인다.

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