"Steadily rising energy costs and decreasing net energy yields will simply not be able to fund the future economic growth and consumptive lifestyles that developed nations are depending on (and that developing nations are aspiring to). In fact, the persistent global economic weakness we’ve been experiencing over the past years is an expected symptom of the throttling constraint decreasing net energy places on growth." (Source: Peak Prosperity)
Chris Martenson’s excellent analysis of why there is not going to be enough net energy for the economic growth we want.
Scale is the ‘unreasonable challenge’ we must meet to drive forward sustainability. Simon Zadek explains how to achieve this (Source: The Guardian)
Sustainability "gurus"Simon Zadek and John Elkington highlighting the need for "breakthrough" capitalism and scaling up of sustainability at the end of a year which saw the freakiest weather ever, the expected failure or Rio and Doha, political elites’ obsession with the financial debt crises and new class wars in Southern Europe.
This is an absolute must-read commentary written by Jin Chen and James Galbraith explaining how rising energy and resource constraints have led to the extreme fraudulous financialisation of global economy and why austerity policies but also a return to Keynesianism will not work.
See on web.unbc.ca
US economic growth will be less than 1% in the next fourty years according to a new analysis by famous American investor Jeremy Grantham. The contrarian investor sees resource scarcity and higher resource prices as well as demographic factors as the main reason why our global economies will continue to struggle for new economic growth. (Source: Business Insider)
As always the gloomy predictions of Mr Grantham’s piece make a lot of sense but will be neglected by the "don’t worry, be happy" myopic political and economic elites.
“Like the Ghost of Christmas Future, the World Bank has just provided us with a frightening glimpse into our world-to-be if, unlike Scrooge, we fail to change our ways.” (Source: Huffington Post)
The new World Bank report "Turn down the heat: why a 4°C warmer world must be avoided" stands in stark contrast to all fossil-fuel friendly policies of this and other international and national governance bodies. And the silence in the media about the coming Doha summit on climate change is deafening.
"I address this subject having been convinced that the growth paradigm has no future and that some alternative vision is therefore needed as humanity begins its inevitable transition to a world beyond growth. I put forward the sufficiency economy as the most promising alternative model, although it is one that I believe may ultimately be imposed upon us whether we want it or not, for reasons that will be explained. We can go the easier way or the harder way, so to speak, depending on our attitudes and actions. " (Source: resilience.org)
Absolute must-read analysis by Samuel Alexander of the real economic alternative to the crisis.
“My point is that the sufficiency economy described above is not about turning off the lights and taking shorter showers. It is about embracing a fundamentally different way of life and a fundamentally different economy. If we do not voluntarily embrace these differences, however, and instead persist with the goal of universal affluence, then soon enough ecological and / or economic systems will collapse and we will be faced with fundamental change all the same, only with much more suffering. As I noted earlier, we can go the easier way (which will not be easy), or the harder way (which will be unspeakably tragic), depending on our attitudes and actions. We are free to choose our fate, and presently we are in the process of doing so.”
“Some 85 percent of companies have more complex supply chains as a result of globalization, and adjusted climate forecasts mean businesses should expect climate change to have an even more destructive effect than previously assumed on supply chains, assets and infrastructure, according to two reports from PricewaterhouseCoopers” (Source: Environmental Leader)
Two new remarkable reports by PricewaterhouseCoopers paint a scary 6-degrees climate future and economic turmoil for global business. High time one of the big consultancies goes beyond the usual "let’s keep it positive" approach and starts talking reality.
See also The Guardian: Business warned to prepare for catastrophic impacts .
The two PwC reports are: “Risk Ready: New approaches to environmental and social change” (Nov 2012) and “Low Carbon Economy Index 2012: too late for two degrees?” (Nov 2012).
"City leaders aspiring to transform their cities into models of sustainability must look beyond city limits and include in their calculation the global flow of goods and materials into their realm, argue researchers in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences journal Ambio." (Source: IGBP.net)
Interesting analysis: if we look at the total footprint of cities, how sustainable are they really? Is urbanisation really the key to future sustainability?
And what about the social sustainability of cities in a world of increasing inequality?
“Our problem is not lack of growth but too much of it,” Sedláček said. An economy that uses debt to grow must continue to do so by taking on more and more debt or, alternatively, face a slowdown that will lead to bankruptcy. It is like owning a car that explodes when it stops, argued Sedláček." (Source: CFA Institute)
Brilliant presentation at the Fifth Annual European Investment Conference in Prague by Czech economist Tomáš Sedláček, who was an advisor to Vaclav Havel in the past.
The full presentation which question our political obsession with economic growth is available in livestream via the Conference website.
Sedláček’s speech at the European Investment Conference is not the only sign that some of the more daring economists are waking up to the reality of a post-growth society.
Last week, the Financial Times (the Church of Economic Growth?) published an interesting article by Satyajit Das addressing the same issue. Referring to the movie “A Few Good Men”, Das says that our “politicians and policy makers seem unable to handle the truth – the prospect of little or no economic growth for a prolonged period.”
Analysing how the financialisation of the economy used debt to create demand and growth, Das claims that “expansionary fiscal and monetary policies may only provide termporary palliative relief, but cannot restore the health of the real economy”.
His conclusion is so on the money: “A return to strong growth remains an article of political and economic belief. But as philosopher Michel de Montaigne asked: “How many things we regarded yesterday as articles of faith that seem to us only fables today?”
"Degrowth recognizes that humanity’s access to the earth’s resources and services of the biosphere are constraints upon socioeconomic activity. It also holds that politics and economics cannot trump thermodynamic and ecological realities. It places the limits to growth and ecological overshoot at the center of the predicaments Homo sapiens confront. It connects to culture and political/economy through this root public policy question: How to equitably distribute a shrinking economic pie?" (Source: Health After Oil blog).
Must-read analysis by Dan Bednarz and Allana Beavis on what "the end of cheap energy and growth" means for Western health systems.