"So the real trade-off, the real choice we face, is not between climate protection on one hand and economic growth on the other. It’s between planned economic contraction (with government managing the post-carbon transition through infrastructure investment and useful make-work programs) as a possible but unlikely strategy, and unplanned, unmanaged economic and environmental collapse as our default scenario." (Source: Energy Bulletin)
Richard Heinberg on why neither President Obama nor influential NGOs to tell citizens the inconvenient truth. Without that courage, the transition will be chaotic and will cost the world.
This interesting working paper written by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment concludes that "continued economic growth is feasible and desirable, although not without significant changes in its characteristics.
These changes need to involve ultimately the reduction of the rate of material output, with continued growth in value being generated by expansion in the ‘intellectual economy’." (Source: LSE)
The Achilles heel of this thought-provoking paper lies in the fact that it starts from the fallacy that the "intellectuel economy" (the knowledge economy) has little or no material and resource implications.
On this and other fallacies about growth, read this brilliant article by Herman Daly.
"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.”
“The US could become self-sufficient, while 90% of Middle Eastern oil could go to China, according to new estimates…” (Source: The Guardian)
Yes and pigs CAN fly. I would like to know how much pressure was put on Fatih Birol and his team to produce this PR report for big oil. Any investigative journalist can go after the real story behind this? And if the figures are correct, get ready for more and faster climate collapse.
Read the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2012 pages.
Critical coverage of this report can be found here (more later):
The new OECD report "Looking to 2060: long-term growth prospects for the world" predicts that in fifty years the combined GDP of China and India will surpass the entire OECD area. Growth will continue to be anemic in most Western countries and global inequality will remain high. (Source: OECD)
This pessimistic report completely neglects the issue of resource constraints to growth which was the subject of a recent IMF report. If you would add the predictions of the IMF study to the outcome of this one, it is clear that we are on track for a zero-growth world. Time to start rethinking our way of life if we want to remain relatively prosperous and have a good life.
Read also New York Times: “Slower growth seen in a graying world”
“What might a truly new economic vision for America look like? This is my answer framed as the presidential address we must prepare the way for a future president to deliver.” (Source: YesMagazine)
Re-elected President Obama would do well to read this insightful piece written by David Korten in 2011. Sure he will not, though
“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).
“So we have no historical precedents for anything greater than 1% per annum reduction in emissions. We’re saying we need nearer 10% per annum, and this is something we need to be doing today. And therefore, we can draw a very clear conclusion from this, that in the short to medium term, the way for the Annex 1, the wealthy parts of the world to meet their obligations to 2°C, is to cut back very significantly on consumption. And that would therefore mean in the short to medium term a reduction in our economic activity i.e. we could not have economic growth.” (Source: Transition Culture)
Good interview of Kevin Anderson of the UK’s Tyndall Centre. Main message: effectively tackling climate change and economic growth are NOT compatible.
"What if tools of the past no longer fit the economy of the future? Economic growth, as we have known it, is being constrained by an unprecedented slowing of growth in world oil supply. America’s path to future prosperity needs to recognize and confront this new energy reality, and adapt our economy to run on a lot less oil." (Source: The Hill)
What would you expect as long as “the American Way of Life is non-negotiable”? Americans (as well as Europeans BTW) just “can’t handle the truth”.
"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?