The struggle to reach an agreement between countries in Durban can be solved otherwise. Since the agreements made in Kyoto to cut emissions of CO2 carbon pollution has risen by nearly half and governments are further than ever from agreeing how to stop global warming. The suggested solution: reform world trade to protect good practice. Countries tackle emission cuts on there own and polluting countries deal with “carbon border adjustments”. It must be easier than putting trust in 194 nations to agree on one set of targets.
Carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes are intended to shift our preferences towards lower carbon use. But we don’t know exactly, or even approximately, whether our new choices do in fact mean we are reducing our carbon use.
The growth of GDP is not infinite. As limits arise and credit bubbles burst, governments have tried to ‘recover’ by buying GDP growth at the cost of added governmental debt. But GDP-numbers don’t say everything about the progress of a country, while they can easily hide social and ecological ills. We need a new metric – what we choose to measure influence what we aim for and what we value as a society.
Better family planning could be a cost-effective start to cut carbon emissions and would contribute significantly to the suggested necessary emissions reductions for the year 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change. If only we were not so afraid of state control and limits on reproductive freedom and let governments do what we expect them to do: tackle climate change.
Best Practice: public sector of North American Britisch Columbia goes carbon-neutral. Offset funds must become a source of capital for the promotion of innovative private sector projects aimed at reducing public sector emissions rather than public funds supporting industry projects, but these are just teething pains and can be overcome with policy changes.
Collaborative consumption might just be the way to sustainable consumption. It requires a shift in values but that’s not to say it can’t happen. There are several cases to mention, think of ebay but also local civil society initiatives, where people successfully reduce carbon emissions by consuming less. Global Action Plan is conducting an action-based research to identify its opportunities and obstacles.
The Emissions Trading Scheme – a rough start, but it starts to look more promising. The pitfall however lies in greenwashing practices due to the scheme. Governments should be reluctant to excessive business lobbies to ease the ETS settings. It’s time to get ambitious.
Greece’s debt crisis threatens more than the collapse of the euro and the European Union – it would also be a climate disaster. An opinion article by David Strahan, a former BBC business correspondent and author of The Last Oil Shock (John Murray, 2008).
Capitalism in its present form does not seem to produce an equitable distribution of wealth. The questions asked by the occupy movement – how to deal with the resulting issues – are the same questions that should be getting asked, and answered, by economists, in their attempt to shape a new vision on capitalism’s potential, according to Backhouse and Bateman.