George Monbiot: "The pale green political consensus looks unlikely to hold"

George Monbiot talks about oil-dependent countries focusing all their powers on "growth at all costs" while the world slides into recession, over at the Guardian.

"If the world is sliding into recession, it's partly because governments believed that they could choose between economy and ecology. The price of oil is so high and it hurts so much because there has been no serious effort to reduce our dependency. Yesterday in the Guardian, Rajendra Pachauri suggested that an impending recession could force us to confront the flaws in the global economy. Sadly it seems so far to have had the opposite effect: a recent Ipsos Mori poll suggests that people are losing interest in climate change. Opportunities for energy populism abound: it cannot be long before one of the major parties abandons the pale green consensus and starts invoking an oil cornucopia it cannot possibly deliver."

Monbiot also explains why he no longer believes in contraction and convergence. Instead he puts his hopes on a global limit for carbon pollution that Oliver Tickell proposes in his book Kyoto2.

"In Kyoto2: How to Manage the Global Greenhouse, Tickell slaughters my favourite ideas. He shows that there is no logical basis for dividing up the right to pollute among nation states. It gives them too much power over this commodity, and there is no guarantee that they would pass the pollution rights on to their citizens, or use the money they raised to green the economy. Carbon rationing, he argues, requires a level of economic literacy that's far from universal in the most advanced economies, let alone in countries where most people don't have bank accounts."

Monbiot surely paints a doom and glom scenario, but well worth a read in my opinion.


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Simon Leufstedt
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