18 May, 2009

Addicted to growth (part 2)

The latest in the Japanese Government's drive to get people back into the shops and spending again is a policy offering so called 'eco-points' to people who buy new energy efficient appliances. A good idea at first glance. After all, in Lester Brown's Plan B3.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization there is a full chapter dedicated to the importance of energy efficiency. But here is the part which to me screams Green-wash! The bigger the TV, the more 'Eco'- points you get ... the larger the fridge, the more 'Eco'-points you get. ...What!?

Similarly, the government is spending billions on reducing the cost of highway charges so that people will get out and travel more and hence spend more. In the same article was the governments claim that it is committed to fighting global warming. So again .... What the !!??

When environmental collapse is becoming more reality than remote possibility, the Japanese government, as with most other governments still fixated on economic growth, would do well to reflect on the words of Meadows in his 2001 article Economic Laws Clash with Planet's:
Economics says: Compete to perform efficiently. The reward for successful competition will be growth.
The Earth says: compete yes, but keep your competition in bounds. Don't annihilate. Take only what you need. You're not in a war, you're in a community.
Governments: Just forget about growth. Instead, how about committing yourselves to real policies of substance that are clearly thought through, are genuinely based on long-term goals which favour stability over growth, reward fairness rather than greed and power, and that will genuinely give the planet a chance to provide a lasting quality of life for future generations.


Shiffi Le Soy said...

Scaarey photo!

Yeh that got me too, the Japanese government's Golden Week holiday bonus - reducing road tolls so more people could drive to their destinations. Rather than, say, shinkansen discounts.

Shiffi Le Soy said...

I'm also curious how you'll react to this rather sobering speech on Energy Myths and Realities by
Keith O. Rattie.

His thesis is that global warming may or may not be a fact since computer models used to predict it are flawed and limited.

Furthermore it's absurd to imagine that our demands for energy could fall, it's going to balloon in the next 50 years.

Rattie: "Worldwide demand for energy will grow by 30-50% over the next two decades - and more than double by the time you’re my age. Simply put, America and the rest of the world will need all the energy that markets can deliver.

There are no near-term alternatives to oil, natural gas, and coal. Like it or not, the world runs on fossil fuels, and it will for decades to come."

What do you think?

Link to speech:


ifd66 said...

Hi Shiffi Le Soy
Interesting comments. With current technology ... current it is estimated that we already have the potential through efficiencies and political will etc to reduce current global energy needs by 90%!
With countries like Spain putting Governments like Japan and the US to shame - it cannot agree tht there are no alternatives to fossil fuels (Spain can currently produce 40% of its electricity from wind alone and increased its wind energy potential 20 times in only 10 years) ... political will and well tested technology.
As for no global warming .... sorry can't go these with so little time.

ifd66 said...

PS anyone skeptical about GW needs to watch this, and then try saying we shouldn't act.