Is sustainable economic growth even possible?

The respected science journal Nature highlights the question on the 50th anniversary of the controversial book: The Limits to Growth

Lead author Donella Meadows wrote that the book The Limits to Growth “was written not to predict doom but to challenge people to find ways of living that are consistent with the laws of the planet”.Credit: Alamywebsite

by Editorial, 16/03/2022 in Nature

Are there limits to economic growth? It’s time to call time on a 50-year argument: Researchers must try to resolve a dispute on the best way to use and care for Earth’s resources

Featured Image: Meadows et al., 1972, The Limits to Growth: A report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. A scanned version of the complete book can be downloaded for free from The Club of Rome’s website.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Zero carbon by 2030

Imagine waking up and not being ashamed of your country!

We live with ever increasing anxiety about species extinction (possibly including our own), environmental degradation, catastrophic bushfires and floods, deaths from heat stroke and a government that fails to act on the emergency. To survive, we will probably have to actively remove and safely sequester a significant fraction of the existing greenhouse gas from the global atmosphere, and possibly also enhance Earth’s reflectivity enough to reduce the amount of heat it captures from solar radiation. These goals will be hard to achieve, but let’s begin with the comparatively easy task of completely stopping human generated greenhouse gas emissions, i.e., zero carbon emissions from human activities.

Zero carbon by 2030 is a reasonable aspiration, especially in Australia.  We have the knowledge and the resources for a technological transition.  All we need is the political will. If we can do this, then we’ll know whether we have to do the other things also, and by then we should have a government able and willing to take leadership on these jobs as well.

Big necessary decisions must be made to advance Australia’s part in the Paris Agreement, including withdrawing public money and government support from fracking the Beetaloo Basin; closing down the giant new offshore gas field of the Scarborough-Pluto LNG project in W.A. and stopping the Adani coal mine and others in the Galilee Basin in Qld.  Serious social disruption will occur without a blueprint for future industries and jobs. 

The declaration of a Climate Emergency and the contingencies that flow from this will guide an economic transformation.  Just as radical change happened with the declaration of the war economy, shifting perspectives made the impossible seem possible. We cannot imagine how fast change can happen as we are used to the spin, obfuscation, rorting, incompetence, reliance on the market to find solutions and the privatisation of government decisions via outsourcing to big donors in contemporary government.

Setting aside the debate about the necessity of the limits to growth and a whole systems approach we need to elect a new Federal Government who can work with a cross bench to shift public opinion as fast as is politically possible.

Many industries and communities are writing blueprints for the future.  One comprehensive plan that will inspire hope and creative action in people who seek election at the 2022 Federal Election is The Million Jobs Plan by Beyond Zero Emissions.

by Beyond Zero Emissions, June 2020

The Million Jobs Plan: A unique opportunity to demonstrate the growth and employment potential of investing in a low-carbon economy

Read the entire document….

The publisher, Beyond Zero Emissions is an internationally recognised energy think-tank, that shows through independent research and innovative solutions how Australia can thrive through a transition to a zero-emissions economy. The plan aims to create employment, modernise our infrastructure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It proposes nation-building, transformative projects that can upgrade the economy, modernise industry, reskill the workforce and deliver a different future – economically and socially. The Plan includes case studies for coal industry regions.  The Plan aims to make Australia more prosperous, fairer and more resilient, with local jobs that are lasting, secure, well-paid and backed by safe and fair working conditions. Their research shows that this is entirely achievable.

Some of its key points include –

  • 70% of new jobs to be created in regional areas
  • Australia wide transmission line upgrades with government and private investment
  • renewable energy industrial zones and zero carbon community initiatives
  • Australian made manufacturing creating new supply chains
  •  Building mass scale renewables to electrify industry and drive the development of zero emissions metals, green hydrogen, steel and aluminium
  • electrify public transport including regional trains and buses
  • energy efficient social housing and the creation of new standards to drive net-zero energy housing
  • technology to boost local building material production through government procurement policy to prioritise local, lower embedded emissions
  • the creation of a renewable hydrogen sector to meet emissions free ammonia for use in the production of fertilizers
  • investing in the circular economy with resource recovery and waste recycling, from raw material extraction to end-of-life
  • revegetation of 27M hectares in 5 years, replanting to achieve carbon neutrality
  • regenerative agriculture as well as wetlands regeneration and biodiversity protection
  • investing in training and upskilling the workforce
  • a green stimulus package to foster research and development and jobs in education

We applaud the many people who have put their hands up to stand for election in 2022 to collectively advance Australia’s contribution to solving the existential crisis we currently face.

For information on how to make your vote count to elect House and Senate representatives in your electorate who will put action on climate change at the top of their to do list, our Traffic Light Voting System will give you information about the various candidates and show you how to make the most of your vote.

 Finally, a comprehensive analysis of the science of the state of the planetary emergency is essential reading.

Featured Image: Climate Sentinel Editor, based on an image by Kirsten Gillibrand from her campaign as a Democratic candidate in the primaries for the US Presidential Election in 2020. Source: via Wikimedia Commons.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

WE Forum’s strategic intelligence on Climate Change

‘Strategic Intelligence’ app relating to all kinds of transformational issues, esp. Climate Change has been created by World Economic Forum

WE Forum’s Strategic Intelligence maps provide logical maps to the complex tangle of relationships among facts, risks, threats, issues, tools and actions involved in working out how to transform an existing problem area into some kind of a solution. The maps don’t claim to show you how to solve the problem, but at least they give a fair idea of where you need to look for solutions and what they might involve.

Transformation Maps can help you explore and make sense of the connections between different economies, industries and global issues. It is a dynamic way of exploring the transformational forces that relate to a topic, such as Climate Change or Artificial Intelligence, co-curated with leading universities and international organizations.

The featured image shows the major domain of interest in the middle, e.g., Future of the Environment surrounded by a wheel of grouped topics (e.g., relating to Risks) that in turn link to individual issues (e.g., Arctic) that takes you to the Arctic Domain. Note – for each domain the right side of the page explains what the current group topic or Domain is about. Registration for public access gives you a lot for free. There are also paid monthly subscriptions that allow you to use the system as your own tool for tracking complex interactions.

There is one bias in the World Economic Forum’s approach here that may concern some Climate Sentinel News followers. As stated in their video, their aim is to further sustainable development. Arguably, given the state of ecological overshoot we are in, we should be far more concerned to down-size our impacts on our limited planetary resources rather than engage in further development. Nevertheless, other than reminding all to ‘consider the source’ and recognize that it is not the last word, I would not hesitate to recommend it as a useful tool for navigating the complexity of transformation.

The video explains the concept:

WE Forum also provide access to a vast array of current documentation relating to specific areas of interest through their Discover function:

Topic areas for strategic intelligence
Try it and see:

What does this mean for Australian Voters and candidates?

What this WE Forum application shows is how complex and complicated the tasks are that we face in trying to transform the current global climate emergency into a foreseeable future extending beyond near-term mass extinction. In our Climate Sentinel blog posts I think I the evidence presented overwhelmingly documents that our current LNP Government of fossil fuel puppets, fools and knaves will not and could not cope with the complexity of interacting issues that have to be dealt with if the climate emergency is to be solved.

Puppets showing and telling wouldn't even know what strategic intelligence was.
Captain Humbug showing the parliamentary puppet troop what it is all about. ““Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you. It’s coal.” With these words Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison taunted the Opposition, attempting to ridicule its commitment to renewable energy.” – The Conversation (15-02-2017)

In the upcoming Federal Election we must take advantage of the possibility to replace this tragic comedy routines of the LNP with sensible intelligent people able and willing to put dealing with the complexities of the climate emergency at the top of their agendas if elected to Parliament. Our government needs to wake up, smell the smoke, and to have any hope of putting out the fire urgently mobilize whatever it takes to fight the emergency both locally and globally rather than working to protect the special interests feeding the fire. Even a child can see that doing anything else is rearranging the furniture as the house (our planet) is burning up.

Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019.. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand.

The type of candidates Vote Climate One hopes to see elected may actually want to use the WE Forum’s Strategic Intelligence app described here for help in working through the tangle mitigations and partial solutions that will be required to mitigate and put out the fires that are warming the globe. We have designed our Traffic Light Voting System to help you establish your preferences from first to last for the House and Senate candidates in your electorate based on how likely they are to help defeat the climate emergency. With good choices we may soon have at least an Australian government doing what it can to provide a path towards a bright future for our offspring rather than the end.

Our young ones walking an unknown future. Hopefully there will be something there for them to reach.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.