A federal carbon cap-and-trade program is dead for the foreseeable future. So is a once promising national clean energy standard.
With climate policy paralyzed in Washington, a number of leading U.S. corporations are going it alone, squeezing big reductions of climate-changing emissions from their operations and supply chains. With stakeholder criticism and other pressures building, more and more are also releasing rigorous climate data in their financial reports and enlisting third-party firms to make sure it is accurate.
The Nature of the Beast: how economists mistook wild horses for a rocking chair.
Mainstream free-market economics fundamentally mis-identifies the nature of market economies. Its record is of retarded growth followed by disaster. It counts costs as positives instead of negatives. It is blind to how the present banking system destabilises the economy. It is relentlessly materialistic and adversarial. It ignores most of what we know about real people and the real world.
The result is pseudo-scientific gobbledygook, and the unstable, inequitable, undemocratic, destructive and unsustainable mess known as the global economy.
The Nature of the Beast draws out the real nature of market economies using modern knowledge of systems, human behaviour, ecology, biology and physics. It points the way to stable, prosperous, democratic market economies that can support people, societies and the living world into the indefinite future.
[My previous post, and many before, featured the example of Interface Carpet Inc. The founder and guiding spirit of that exemplary new-paradigm company, Ray C. Anderson, died in 2011. The world is much the richer from his bold and inspiring presence. Here, from a free download, is the foreword from his recent book Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist.]
In memory, Ray C. Anderson
As I sit down to write this foreword, I have a lot on my mind. My company, Interface, Inc., has just marked an important milestone—ten years until our target year for Mission Zero, for zero environmental footprint, a goal for which we have set 2020 as our deadline. I’m immensely proud of Interface, and encouraged about our future. At the same time, I have spent the last year dealing with cancer, thankfully holding my own—barely.
Recently we broke the glass carafe on our drip coffee maker. Yes I know it’s very last-century, but I still like drip coffee. A search on line revealed that that model was no longer manufactured, even though the basic design has been stable for decades. The carafe of a related (read “different-shaped”) model cost about $35, excluding the hassle of ordering and delivery. The local shop had a whole new coffee maker for about $40. So of course we threw away the perfectly good old model, sans carafe, and got the new one.
[This is the first of an occasional series on what we can do to make our presence on Earth tolerable to the rest of the biosphere, and mostly should do anyway, regardless of one’s view of the dangers or possible means of salvation. It will be filed under ‘Solutions’.]
Australia is one of the largest emitters per capita of greenhouse gases. We are also the world’s largest exporter of coal, which is the dirtiest fuel in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. We must therefore be the world’s worst citizens regarding global warming. However we could be rapidly cleaning up our act, and diversifying and improving our economy in the process.
Climate negotiators in Durban have agreed to a “roadmap” that would leave the world at high risk of severe or catastrophic global warming. They have belatedly agreed to discuss adopting outdated targets that would not come into force until 2020, far too late by current climate criteria.
Recent studies require greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced much faster than previously proposed, to give us even a moderate chance of keeping warming below two degrees Celsius (2°C). Meanwhile the climate science now says the threshold of “dangerous” warming is only 1°C.
[This is a draft. Over the next week or so I will be revising, adding links and making other versions to send to any news outlet that might take them.]
Here is the climate news. The real climate news.
So far the world has warmed about 0.6°C. If currently advised reductions of greenhouse gas emissions were realised there would still be a 90% chance global warming will exceed two degrees Celsius (2°C). 2°C used to be regarded as the threshold of “dangerous” climate change, but new science has shifted that threshold to only 1°C. 2°C is now regarded as the threshold of “extremely dangerous” climate change. At that level, global warming effects would be widespread and severe.
However, somewhere between about 2°C and 4°C lurks a tipping point, beyond which global warming will run beyond human control, driven by natural feedback mechanisms that drive temperatures higher, perhaps to 6°C or 8°C, no-one knows. 4°C would already be “incompatible with an organised global community”. Higher temperatures could result in the extinction half or more of the world’s species and much of the human population.
The smoke screen obscuring the real obstacles to reducing Australias greenhouse gas emissions is unlikely to be dissipated by the imminent election campaign, whatever the global warming policies the Gillard Government.