A report from Caroline Lucas:
The changes now underway in our climate, if unchecked, pose probably the greatest threat to Britain that we have ever faced. Our health and security, our society and way of life, our natural environment, even our coastline, are all at risk from uncontrolled natural forces – disease, drought, flood and storm. In terms of the human and financial cost in the UK and internationally, the impact over the coming decades has been compared to the world wars of the twentieth century.
Has it now? Only by someone who doesn\’t know what they\’re talking about I think.
In 1918, fully 50% of the economy was being spent on the war.
M\’Lord Stern has said that if everything goes wrong (that is, that climate sensitivity is high, that if we have a regionalised and localised capitalism powered largely by coal) that in 2100 the costs of climate change might be 20% of the vastly increased (some 7 times present) GDP of the time.
Not really the same, is it?
That’s why I commissioned this report from the leading writer and analyst Andrew Simms,
Oh God, it\’s going to be a stinker, isn\’t it?
Use of household electrical appliances dropped 82 percent. A war on waste, new social norms and rationing helped general consumption fall 16 percent (and more so at household level).
So, households were more than 16% poorer (this is indeed what a greater than 16% fall in consumption means) and this is something to be praised is it?
The nation’s health improved. After an initial upward spike at the beginning of the war mortality rates fell dramatically among both men and women as active health policy was introduced, diets changed and people become more active.6
Might be worth mentioning the rather large spike in mortality caused by bombs, guns and tanks really, no? And \”becoming more active\” is a euphemism for hard labout digging the veg patch, isn\’t it? Gosjh, how wondrous that millions got to return to the peasant lifestyle, eh?
A determination to enjoy life grew. Spending on ‘amusements’ went up 10 percent
Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die…..
Britain faces the need for a rapid economic transition in the face of climate change targets, energy insecurity and the peak and decline of global oil production. Based on recent trends, and using a cautious, conservative estimate of environmental risk, in just 71 months from January 2010, taking us to the end of 2016, the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere means that it will become ‘more rather than less likely’ that temperatures will rise by at least 2C.10 This is generally considered a critical threshold, after which environmental dominoes begin to fall more unpredictably and potentially uncontrollably. In other words we enter a world of ‘climate roulette,’ in which warming becomes possibly irreversible.
This is a calculation made by Andrew Simms to get himself a 100 piece contract from The Guardian: one a month detailing how close we\’re getting to this \”crisis point\”. There is no validity to said calculation.
Lloyds of London recently predicted that problems of supply not matching demand could see oil at $200 per barrel by 2013.
No, not $200 a barrel: that could indeed happen. But what is this drivel about supply not matching demand? You\’ve just said that the price will be $200, which will therefore be the price at which supply equals demand. For supply matches demand at a price.
Turn this around for a moment to see the stupidity of it. Solar cells: it would be really great to have a system that we can put on the roof for 50 cents. Certainly solve and awful lot of problems if we could. But we don\’t have such: systems for the roof cost £20,000 (say). So supply doesn\’t match demand at 50 cents but it does at £20,000. Complaining about oil being $200, where supply matches demand, is exactly the same as complaining that solar power systems cost £20,000, not the 50 cents we\’d rather like to pay.
The UK’s reliance on imported energy is rising and has risen steadily since 2004 when declining North Sea oil production meant we first became unable to meet our own energy needs since the North Sea’s heyday.
This international trade thing\’s pretty shit hot, isn\’t it?
Innovations like the Green Investment Bank and Green bonds and pensions to help pay for the transition will create a healthier finance system too.
Oh dearie me, that\’s the voice of Ritchie there. And they\’re still not getting it.
Green bons and pensions don\’t work: because there is no mechanism by which the social benefits (the getting rid of those externalities of climate change from emissions) can be paid to the investors. So there isn\’t actually a return that can be distributed.
Except, of course, if you manage to create a viable system of subsidies, Pigou taxes and so on which will enable a return to be made. But, and here\’s the kicker, once you have created that system you no longer need Green bonds or pensions. Because now such investments are attractive in their own right, as normal bonds and normal pensions.
So either Green bonds cannot exist, because there\’s no return to them, or Green bonds don\’t need to exist as such investments are attractive anyway.
Thirdly, moving to levels of economic equality comparable with that, say, of Denmark, would create an economic safety net to buffer the process of change.
Eh? That\’s a bit of a leap isn\’t it? That a Gini of 0.25 rather than one of 0.35 (dimly remembered numbers) is part of the solution to climate change?
There\’s just a hint of a soupcon of a suspicion that perhaps climate change is being used as an excuse to pile in the kitchen sink n\’all of Mr. Simms\’ desires, no?
Have a look at pages 16 through 18. He\’s positively frothing at the mouth at being able to run a vast propaganda campaign backed up by rationing and sumptuary taxes. I rather get the impression that Our Andrew would like to have this power over his fellow citizens, climate change or no climate change.
Also worthy of further exploration is the relative success in war-time Britain of efforts explicitly to substitute cultural activity and production – theatre, music, film, art, festivals, sport, and numerous other local entertainments – for material consumption.
All very cultural commissar isn\’t it? You will sing Kumbaya rather than play Call of Duty. Although I would certainly support Mr. Simms asking Julie Bindel to reprise the Windmill Theatre productions.
All people needed was ‘to be told precisely what to do’
Yup, he\’s positively foaming with the desire to impose rationing.
While people grumbled about rationing, and were often prepared to bend the rules or buy black market goods, it was still seen as fairer than the alternative of allowing prices to govern demand, so that goods became unaffordable to all but an elite, as in Soviet-era Russia.
Eh? Since when did Soviet Russia use prices rather than rationing? Quite barking.
Anyway, the conclusion is essentially that we\’ve got to do everything that nef has been suggesting over the past decade. From personal carbon rationing to fiorced collectivisation of \”underused\” property.
The only thing really missing is the reason why? Oh, they talk about \”climate change\” a lot but don\’t quite manage to tell us why a move to a non-cabon emitting energy system (say, thorium cycle, or solar PV plus fuel cells) wouldn\’t solve the problem rather than having to appoint froth mouthed loons like Andrew Simms to rule over us all.
And that really is the important question that has to be answered, isn\’t it?