Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Growth or Degrowth?
The forthcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December is encouraging many people to put forward their suggestions and comments. These include Nick Stern who was one of the first to write about the economics of Climate Change. He has now said that ” the current economic depression gives the world a unique, unrepeatable opportunity to tackle climate change and poverty.”
Oliver Tickell in the Guardian follows this up with “one thing we do not need is an early recovery which raises demand for fossil energy, creating new spikes in the price of oil, gas and coal, so sowing the seeds of its own destruction. For the high price of fossil fuels was surely one of the triggers that created this global depression in the first place. That is why we need to to bring about huge investments in renewable energy technologies and the associated infrastructure
Not to forget energy efficiency and conservation: making our homes, offices, industries and transport systems more frugal in their energy demands. In this way when the recovery comes, we will have the clean, green energy to supply it, and lower demand to avoid pushing up fossil fuel prices. And in the meanwhile we will have created millions of jobs in the new green industries, civil engineering and construction, putting skilled but idle hands to productive use.”
All this may sound rather academic and you find yourself asking “What can I do?” Magazines and newspapers are full of adverts encouraging us to take advantage of offers about insulating our homes. At least we should each look to see if we have brought our own properties up to scratch. Also remember that this encourages employment in the local green industries.