Can we Get to the Post Carbon Economy Sooner?

Does the post carbon economy evoke fear of chaos or of hope that the planet can finally heal from the onslaught of severe resource extraction, the burning of fossil fuels, resource depletion, and among many other toxic chemicals seeping into the earth?  A trusty friend sent an article from Insurge Intelligence – Symposium Pathways to the Post-Carbon Economy.  It was written by Nafeez Ahmed on October 19, 2018, titled, “Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism’s Imminent Demise:  A climate change-fueled switch away from fossil fuels means the worldwide economy will fundamentally need to change.”  Ahmed is reporting on findings from a new scientific background paper prepared by a team of Finnish biophysicists.

It is a very important article that everyone should be reading.  One of the main findings  from the Finnish report is that easy oil is over.  It so much more expensive to extract what is in the ground.  Besides that, market economists aren’t paying attention to what is going on.  They are only looking at what can be made in the short term.  Ahmed said that the market won’t correct this either . . . it is something the government will need to implement.

Ahmed reports that, “Now we’re using more and more energy to extract smaller quantities of fossil fuels.  Which means higher production costs to produce what we need to keep the economy rolling.  The stuff is still there in the ground — billions of barrels worth to be sure, easily enough to fry the climate several times over.”

We tend to focus on the burning of those fossil fuels and the climate crisis at hand.  The climate crisis is definitely creating its own mess all over the world . . . let alone think about the transition off fossil fuels and what that will create in the form of an economic collapse.

The consumer economy is not sustainable on a finite planet.  That may be a simple statement of fact but we are so far removed from the reality of it.  Who can see the vanishing sand?  An Arctic that is melting faster than scientists predicted?  Overfished oceans?  The gunk of tar sands?  Deforestation?  Soil depletion?  Water scarcity?  As long as the shelves are stocked, people in the US are clueless.  There is no indication for the general public in the US that any of that is going on.

Here are a number of changes that need to be made:

  • Air travel and international freight will need to be curbed.
  • The food system has to be overhauled.
  • We need to grow our own food.
  • Switching to a plant based diet is also on the list.
  • Going back to wood as a main construction material instead of concrete and steel.

My friend was concerned that there is no system to replace capitalism.  That is true.  But, in my opinion, I think we need to focus on creating food security.  It is definitely on Ahmed’s list.  Next would be heat using renewable energy off grid in cold climates and water supplies off grid.  Let’s worry about the economy later.  Just get everyone fed.

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