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Fighting Climate Change Inside the Economy

Podcast version

The world as it is presented to us is currently trying to fight climate change by setting targets to replace fossil fuels and reduce emissions. This method is inviting people that do not want to reduce emissions to tweak the targets, every step of the way. The most worrying aspect of this strategy is that it doesn’t even adress the problem, which is incredibly high CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere and oceans.

As a financially dependent consumer we are tied to our homes, countries and have to make the best we can trying to earn enough money to pay the bills. As such we are being incapacitated from influencing the path of attack  against this existential threat. The motivation to lock society in this delaying death spiral is that people selling fossil fuels and people in the banking system want to keep their jobs.

The first thing that is wrong with this approach is that investments in renewables need to compete with other investments, and other investments usually retain fossil fuel cashflow for banks, while investments in renewables, especially where they are consumed directly, make cashflow disappear.

The second thing wrong with the approach is that it uses fossil fuels. The manufacturing sector still uses fossil fuels a lot and so as we bring forth products that may reduce the CO2 in our atmosphere or generate renewable energy we are actually increasing the CO2 concentration.

The third thing wrong is that our economic system clearly doesn’t care about doing things that are not profitable. Profit means that whatever is grown, build or created needs to extract money from the economy to pay interest in the investment (as far as banks are concerned) and make the activity interesting for shareholders. This limits the range of activities enormously. As banks also sell or lease the land they are not about to do that for free in order to serve the attempt to balance CO2 in our atmosphere. In fact, because of the reasons mentioned before they are dead set agains that. The general instinct of banks is to make things more expensive, because that increases their cashflow and profit. A good example is the selling of ‘right of way’ along the proposed Hyperloop track between Los Angeles and San Fransisco. Everything to stop the emergence of fossil fuel free transportation.

The answer to the question “Can we fight climate change within our economy” has to be no, or at least not effectivly. The fundament of our economy is the enemy we are trying to fight. If we work with the economic system we will have to drag this enemy along all the time. Instead we should take an independent approach something that is hard to do but easy to imagine. The steps are :

  1. Create a manufacturing hub for renewable energy sources that uses only renewable energy.
  2. Use it to remove any fossil fuel involvement in the supply chain, so logistics will be electric, processing electric etc. etc.
  3. Maximize production of this manufacturing hub, accepting money for the products and alway using that cash to 1. make the hub more independent and 2. Increase production.

The resulting increase in renewable energy sources will reduce fossil fuel use at ever lower cost, and allow more regions to immitate the approach. It will also enable us to fight climate change at ever deminishing costs and while reducing CO2 emissions. This approach will put the enormous amount of renewable energy potential at our disposal much sooner than any carboneconomic strategy could.