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Why you should vote for a no-deal Brexit in the second referendum

I have a new job as a tech visionary. I love this job because it exposes me to lots of views and forces me to think. As a result I've learned a lot and changed my mind on several topics. The luxury of being able to change your mind is hard won, you rarely get such freedom in any full time job, even as an academic there is much pressure to push forward the ideas you've previously supported. There is much literature to support the view that often we make our minds up and then construct reasoning to support our views. Even if the evidence we used to make our mind up is proven false, we tend not to change our minds (e.g. see https://www.psychologytoday.com/…/why-does-misinformation-c… and if you get time it's really worth reading the excellent book “Thinking Fast and Slow”). It's easy to see why this makes sense, everyone is entitled to their opinion and when you have to explain why you've decided on something you recite the reasons that support your view and create the expectation that you'll say the same again next time. The more important the topic the less likely you are to change your mind.

This can be seen in the Brexit vote. Channel 4 ran a poll claiming to show that there was a swing towards Remain (https://www.channel4.com/…/major-new-brexit-poll-shows-vote…). If you analyse what the main effects were (as they did), it turns out that most people haven't changed their position. Sure, there was a majority in favour of Remain, but it turns out that young people tend to want Remain but don't vote as much so their voice goes unheard. The Channel 4 sampling ensured that young people were proportionally represented and that was the main cause of the swing to Remain. If we assume that young people are as apathetic in the next referendum we can assume that this swing to Remain won't be as strong as in the Channel 4 result.

Thanks to my job, insomnia and running I get the time to think. One of the questions has been: What is a good reason to vote Leave? Migration is good for the economy, trade barriers are bad, we knew both at the first referendum but it didn't stop people hearing “£350 million a week to the National Health Service” and making a decision based on it. There's no reason to think that people will change their minds, indeed there's a lot of “it's fake news”, “we don't trust the experts” and “It's all Project Fear”.

But what is a more important question than Brexit? I think that Climate Change is more important. Today's news was that 2017 emissions were up after three years of being flat (https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-co2-emissions-s…) and really we have no idea how to get everyone to vote for a reduction in emissions. Look at the Trump vote to “Put America First” by being a climate change denier (https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/you-cant-put-america-first…) or the riots in Paris against fuel tax (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46411699). The reality is that we need to stop burning coal now and increase taxes on all fossil fuels, but nobody votes for that, even when wind and solar can be cheaper (https://www.independent.co.uk/…/solar-and-wind-power-cheape…).

So people won't vote for reduced emissions, but they will vote for Brexit. A no-deal Brexit will leave us all a lot worse off, that means we'll have less money to heat our houses, put petrol in our cars and buy all other consumables. We'll we forced to consume less and that will be good for emissions. The recession following the 2008 credit crunch was great for this (http://time.com/3966553/recession-emissions-decline), there's not reason to think that a no-deal Brexit won't be just as good. If we don't get serious about reducing our emissions we are looking at a great crash anyway (https://www.independent.co.uk/…/climate-change-financial-cr…).

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I have a new job as a tech visionary. I love this job because it exposes me to lots of views and forces em to think, and as a result I've learned a lot and changed my mind on several topics. The luxury of being able to change your mind is hard won, you rarely get such freedom in any full time job, even as an academic there is much pressure to push forward the ideas you've previously supported. There is much literature to support the view that often we make our minds up and then construct reasoning to support our views. Even if the evidence we used to make our mind up is proven false, we tend not to change our minds (e.g. see https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ulterior-motives/201510/why-does-misinformation-continue-affect-thinking and if you get time it's really worth reading the excellent book “Thinking Fast and Slow”). It's easy to see why this makes sense, everyone is entitled to their opinion and when you have to explain why you've decided on something you recite the reasons that support your view and create the expectation that you'll say the same again next time. The more important the topic the less likely you are to change your mind.

This can be seen in the Brexit vote. When Channel 4 ran a poll claiming to show that there was a swing towards Remain (https://www.channel4.com/news/major-new-brexit-poll-shows-voters-swinging-towards-remain) if you analyse what the main effects were it turns out that most people haven't changed their position. Sure, there was a majoring in favour of Remain, but it turns out that young people tend to want Remain but don't vote as much so their voice goes unheard. The Channel 4 sampling ensured that young people were proportionally represented and that was the main cause of the swing to Remain. If we assume that young people are as apathetic in the next referendum we can assume that this swing to Remain won't be as strong as in the Channel 4 result.

Thanks to my job, insomnia and running I get the time to think. One of the questions has been: What is a good reason to vote Leave? Migration is good for the economy, trade barriers are bad, we knew both at the first referendum but it didn't stop people hearing “£350 million a week to the National Health Service” and making a decision based on it. There's no reason to think that people will change their minds, indeed there's a lot of “it's fake news”, “we don't trust the experts” and XXX

But what is a more important question than Brexit? I think that Climate Change is more important. Today's news was that 2017 emissions were up after three years of being flat (https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-co2-emissions-set-to-rise-2-percent-in-2017-following-three-year-plateau) and really we have no idea how to get everyone to vote for a reduction in emissions. Look at the Trump vote to “Put America First” by being a climate change denier (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2018/09/13/you-cant-put-america-first-if-you-put-climate-change-last) or the riots in Paris against fuel tax (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46411699). The reality is that we need to stop burning coal now and increase taxes on all fossil fuels, but nobody votes for that, even when wind and solar can be cheaper (https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-and-wind-power-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels-for-the-first-time-a7509251.html).

So people won't vote for reduced emissions, but they will vote for Brexit. A no-deal Brexit will leave us all a lot worse off, that means we'll have less money to heat our houses, put petrol in our cars and buy all other consumables. We'll we forced to consume less and that will be good for emissions. The recession following the 2008 credit crunch was great for this (http://time.com/3966553/recession-emissions-decline), there's not reason to think that a no-deal Brexit won't be just as good. If we don't get serious about reducing our emissions we are looking at a great crash anyway (https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-financial-crisis-recession-bank-of-england-warning-paul-fisher-a7377326.html).

private/brexit_and_climate_change.txt · Last modified: 2018/12/02 22:22 by tonyr