Frequently, when a small, incremental measure to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is proposed, environmental commentators argue that it should be rejected. Why? Because it is a "distraction," a way of enabling us to continue our horrid, depraved lifestyle, methadone for our addiction to iniquity, a sop to our corporate overlords, mere playing of games, a highly Unserious Frivolity, etc. etc. Instead, we should choose the Magical Pony Plan for a Totally and Awesomely Transformed World. That, after all, is the only real solution.

Here’s a thought for such folks: unless you also describe practical steps for how we can achieve your Magical Pony Plan — beyond merely rejecting everything that isn’t your Magical Pony Plan — then you are not, in fact, arguing on behalf of the Magical Pony Plan. You are arguing that we should reject the incremental advance in favor of doing nothing.

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Addendum: if, in the course of arguing that we should reject an incremental advance in favor of a Magical Pony Plan doing nothing, you adopt a tone of impatient moral superiority, you get extra demerits.

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