Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Saving Capitalism From Itself

While the Flat Earth Society of climate change deniers think they are defending capitalism they are not.

The real advocates for saving capitalism are those who recognize Climate Change/Global Warming is a crisis. A crisis of capitalism.

Unlike the flat earth society that believes in and advocates for an a-historical mythical free market capitalism, these hard nosed realists, the real spokespeople for real existing capitalism accept they need to do something.

But of course they have no solution to the crisis. They only focus on making money off the crisis by ameliorating capitalist excess.

Which is why Sir Nicholas Stern made his announcements about the need for Green Capitalism from the TSX and the Economic Club. Bastions of real pragmatic capitalism.

http://news.google.ca/news?imgefp=bzt61zR7XmwJ&imgurl=cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2007/02/19/n021976A.jpg "I’m not here to speak to any particular individual. I’m here to share ideas with Canadians, and the key message that was very influential, I think, in the way that Europe is moving forward," Stern told reporters Monday morning at the Toronto Stock Exchange during a joint news conference with Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. "It’s very clear to me now that you can be green and grow."

Former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern was making his first visit to Canada since last fall, when he published a 700-page report that made international headlines with its warnings that the world could face an economic catastrophe similar to the Great Depression by ignoring the threat of climate change.

"So you have your choice now," Stern said in a speech to the Economic Club of Toronto: "You can be absurd and reject the science; you can be reckless and say we can adapt to whatever happens; or you can be unethical and disregard the future, simply because it’s in the future. That’s entirely up to you."

The remarks earned praise from Clive Mather, president and CEO of Shell Canada, which co-sponsored the event.

"Growth is for sure," said Mather, who has supported the international Kyoto protocol on climate change. "The issue is: On what basis do we grow. Do we grow low-carbon, or do we carry on as usual? And I think, as Nick Stern (explained), carrying on as usual carries enormous risks."

Meanwhile, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) last week outlined a course US utilities could take to drop their emissions to 1990 levels by 2030. For the industry, that would represent a more aggressive timetable than Stern's. In the process, the EPRI report suggests tacking a surcharge onto electric bills to help fund research into carbon-dioxide-light energy sources. EPRI estimates the surcharge would amount to an extra 47 cents on the average monthly electric bill. That would bring an additional $2 billion to the $3 billion the federal government now spends on energy research. One EPRI solution is to add 50 nuclear power plants, an uncertain prospect.

Big Enviro Groups ‘Holding Back’ Anti-Warming Movement
None of [the solutions presented by mainstream groups] address the power structures. None of them address corporations. None of them address a lack of democracy.”

The heat is on environmental groups and politicians to churn out proposals for stabilizing the planet’s rising temperatures, but some environmentalists say existing plans to cool climate change are timid. Their criticism reveals a rift between two approaches: preserving the American way of life at the expense of quicker solutions, or changing the structure of US society to counter an unprecedented threat.

The dominant approach to human-induced global warming revolves around slow but dramatic reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions by mid-century. The mainstream environmental community, along with a handful of politicians and corporations, is calling for various regulations and market-based actions to reduce greenhouse-gas output by 60 to 80 percent over the next 43 years.

This goal is based on what some scientists have estimated the United States needs to do to help the world limit the rise in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The goal presupposes that some climate change is inevitable. In 2006, a government-commissioned report in the United Kingdom called the "Stern Review" said that the "worst impacts of climate change can be substantially reduced" by cutting greenhouse emissions to meet the two-degree goal.

Market-based solutions

The basic premise behind long-term plans for emissions reduction is that moving away from a fossil-fuel-based energy system will take time because market forces will take a while to make renewable technology prices competitive.

"It’s still possible that we can avoid dangerous climate change and cut emissions in half by mid-century through a process that doesn’t require an immediate shutdown of all of our coal-powered plants," said John Coequyt, Greenpeace energy policy analyst. "We can still do this in a phased – and as a result – economically beneficial manner."

“There’s no reason we can’t get there within the next five to ten years with significant funding.”

In January, Greenpeace published what it called a "blueprint for solving global warming." The plan calls for 80 percent of electricity to be produced from renewable energy, 72 percent less carbon dioxide emissions, and for the US’s oil use to be cut in half – all by 2050.

The timeline is based on removing the market barriers to green energy, while making dirty energy more expensive. It does not call for significant public funding of renewable energy or government investments in new energy infrastructure or public transportation.





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1 comment:

two_dishes said...

A friend taught me the concept of Externalities (sp?). Here is a global externality -- that makes it an internality to anyone who is living on that (this) planet I suppose. As you point out, the free market thing is a myth, not really creating the logical incentives to act in our own self interest that it claims to.