Discover more from Douglass’s Newsletter
Oxford debate on growth vs de-growth (and what is missing)
An Oxford discussion
Two speakers moderated by Kate Raworth of Donut Economics. Quotes are close but paarphrases, my thoughts in (…)
The introducer from Oxford, Joy, said "Build a better world." (This is saying that the response to climate change should create a better society than the current regime. What if survival means a less good society?)
"Not doom and gloom. Not end of word but what comes next. How we can purposefully design a better world." (The implication is we can get from where we are to a better world without having to go through some major collapse. This might be a major limitation on our imagination about paths to explore and she , along with the two speakers, and most of us, are limiting the range of possible paths - always remember that something will happen)
Sam Fankhauser asks for "climate compatible growth" we can do better with education, health, higher wages for reducing poverty. We can increase wages, profits, taxes. These increases are necessary to get the income to be able to invest in green energy projects. Ability to deal with climate improves with increasing income. If you have more income some problems are easier to solve. (solving problems with more income means efforts that require energy). In the very long term we run up against planetary boundaries. (but we are already there with some factors).
Ozone holes an example that we can solve problems. ( easier, like space travel, without crossing many boundaries in other assets and regulations). We can maintain, even increase prosperity. This is necessary for politics The amount of energy can be dramatically reduced. Renewable energy, EVs, moving to Hydrogen can radically reduce carbon per unit of energy.
(But he does not work out the cost of these. Shifting to hydrogen requires more electricity than we have to produce burnable hydrogen and, with its small molecules, leakage is a major problem in the management of hydrogen fuel systems.)
For degrowth Hicks wants it to be economically productive with less energy (degrowth) use which means repurposing the regime we have to use less energy and less output. But imagine how we cut our transportation in half (the goal is cutting co2 in half by 2030), our food in half, (Yes it can be done but it is a very costly process. Imagine how you get your house to use half the energy. Wall off parts? Re locate heating ducts? Serious insulation. Expensive and energy using. And sure, savings from insulation, but who makes the insulating materials, where do they come from, mining, transportation, manufacturing, distribution and installation, all energy using. Degrowth that maintains a thriving economy is really expensive because it requires repurposing what we have which means reengineering and reconfiguration. All very energy intense. Note that hoping for new tech to provide the energy foes not seem plausible for 2030, seven years.)
(The speakers, and most people involved in climate discussions, seem to not be aware of the costs of what they propose. They look at the cost once you reach the end state: we have a 100% EV fleet, Insulation is in place, Electricity is sufficient for ell energy uses. Why is s this?