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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

green growth « Previous | |Next »
June 25, 2011

Those on the political right who both deny the science that informs us that the greenhouse emissions are produced by economic activity have caused global warming, and who oppose using market mechanism to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, basically argue that saving the planet will destroy the economy.

It's a simple message or slogan, that is endlessly repeated in News Ltd's newspapers, and it overlooks, misrepresents, or refuses, to acknowledge the emergence of what the UN calls a green economy or the OECD calls green growth. This concept has moved into the mainstream of policy discourse.

As Michael Jacobs in An idea whose time has come at Inside Story observes:

these terms – green growth, low-carbon growth, the green economy, green development – are being used to convey a simple but potentially radical idea: that environmental protection and the reduction of carbon emissions need not be at the expense of economic growth but can actually contribute to it. ago ....At its most basic it derives from the recognition that a key route to protecting the environment is to use resources – energy, land, water or whatever – more efficiently. This is essentially a form of productivity improvement: getting more output for less input. So long as this is done at a relatively low cost – particularly by using market mechanisms to encourage firms and consumers to change their behaviour – it should help growth not hinder it. It’s true that the growth generated by raising resource productivity can lead to new emissions and more environmental impact, but the evidence shows that the total impact almost always remains environmentally beneficial.

The more informed business-as-usual News Ltd journalists basically argue that though green spending can stimulate growth, it just stimulates less growth than the brown alternative. Low-carbon energy is more expensive, so the costs will be higher and the returns less. More economic growth is better than less growth.

The problem here is with business-as-usual. What if there is no “business as usual”? Jacobs says that:

If – as is now widely expected, and indeed may already be happening – failure to take action on climate and the environment in practice leads to effects such as rising oil and fossil fuel prices, greater water scarcity, lower agricultural productivity, declining fish stocks, more frequent extreme weather events, and so on, then the base case against which the green growth path needs to be compared may be rather different from what has generally been assumed.

he says the modelling shows that the “green investment” scenario starts off generating slower growth than the base case. But by the second half of this decade this has reversed, as growth rates in the base case start to decline under the impact of environmental pressures. By 2030 and beyond, the “growth dividend” of the green investment scenario becomes quite marked.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:01 AM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

They always rejected Bob Brown, too.
The claques that grab power, be it Bush Cheney on the big scale, or locals like Tasmania, let alone third world locations, don't want alternatives.
They want in quickly and out quickly before people become a wake up.
Murdoch operates with such people, to drown out rational objections to given schemes and reinforce politicians and other big players in the given sting, like the true robber baron he is.

In Australia the fossil fuel lobby is aggressively promoting misinformation about the status of renewable technologies. They--gas exempted-- are opposed move to a low carbon economy. What is not often mentioned in the mainstream media is that:

(1) Germany, and Europe more widely, have consistently met renewable-energy targets years ahead of schedule.

(2) German – and Chinese – manufacturers of wind plants, solar panels, grid technology and other technologies of the energy markets of the twenty-first century are only beginning to see their best days.

(3) billions are being invested in base load solar thermal plants around the world.

It is no longer a case of "renewables versus gas"- it is "renewables plus gas". Gas guarantees the transitional baseload power whilst the renewable technologies such as wind and solar emerge.