A Political Response to Climate Change
Below set out is a political response to climate change. Often climate change is sold by politicians as a problem, when really it is an opportunity. Change can bring around opportunity. However, at present politicians are using a sticking plaster approach; we are placing restrictions on a system that was developed in era of carbon intensive growth, and the below considerations should be made, listed in order of importance.
1 – Swap GDP for Citizen Satisfaction Metric
The first requirement is to change the way a nation’s success is measured. At present this is represented by % GDP over a typical year. This metric would be adequate is we lived in a limitless environment, where resources and space will never run out, but we do not. We live on a spec of rock, drifting in an indifferent vacuum. We can rely on a metric that relies on constant growth.
The metric that needs to be considered in any political response to climate change is "satisfaction" of the populace. This after all is the metric used by most other entities to gauge there performance. It will also reduce our reliance on growth as a form of self-validation.
This switch from a growth based metric, to a condition based metric will free up politicians to make hundreds of choices that would damage the current growth based system:
2 - Reduce Birth Rates
Humans are the root cause of accelerated climate change. Yet world population is growing rapidly. This is policy will be the most unpleasant and difficult policy to implement. A birth control policy was implemented in China for many years, however China is not a democracy and this decision could be made without public consent. How can for example a two child policy be presented as acceptable?
It is very likely that a family with more then 2 children will be experienced to greater stresses, whether this be in terms of time allocation of financial. This need to be researched. Research should look in to negative outcomes arising from higher number of children:
• Likelihood of Parental
• DivorceLikelihood of Bankruptcy
• Likelihood of Mental Illness
There have been great strides made in stopping people from smoking by advertising its negative effects. The same principals should be adopted with an aim to forming a policy for reduced birth rates.
After data has been collected for 2 years on the above “carrot” approach a “stick” approach may be warranted where financial penalties are introduced. This will need careful research.
3 – Worker Owned Entities
There will be vast numbers of capital enterprises that will need to be undertaken in order to action required polices. The current system whereby all projects are carefully gauged on the basis of financial risk, will not be appropriate.
Works will be undertaken by worker owned cooperatives. Individuals with experience of project management should be appointed as managing members of such entities and they will undertake all normal resource management based on the current. A small group of founding individuals will face an interview and aptitude process in order to bid for government funding. Works will be undertaken between these founding individuals and the government on the basis of a standard contract template, where by pay grades are set out in advance, and all employees and directors of companies receive an equal performance based bonus.
Funding will be made available via quantitative easing. Negative impacts currently associated with this technique will be lessened owing to new metrics as explained in section 1.
These working groups could be allocated to any number of projects ranging from delivery of energy infrastructure to support roles for regulatory enforcers, to deal with additional burdens.
4 – 100% Renewables over 10 Year Period
It is imperative that we move quickly to establish a 100% renewable energy infrastructure. With full policy support this could be implemented in less than 10 years. This is massive undertaking and the opportunities for employment are also massive. Countries should move to undertake manufacture of PV panels and Turbines (Sea or Wind) domestically so as to provide employment from these new industries. Regulatory hurdles which may prevent renewables projects from coming to fruition, should be lessened but not removed as these serve as a valuable scoping tool.
Renewable Energy projects should be chosen on the basis of the carbon pay back. Shortest should proceed first, or a pass mark could be introduced such as “any project under 10 year carbon payback time”.
5 – Adequate Energy Storage over 10 Years
Owing to fluctuations in output from solar and wind renewables. It will be required that energy storage infrastructure is increased.
6 – CO2 Removal
With a 100% renewable energy infrastructure, there will be a myriad of opportunity for geo engineering. For example at present we would not consider capturing carbon from the atmosphere using mechanical means as it would not result in a carbon saving, but with 100% renewables the carbon intensity of this operation would be zero, and as such a feasible solution. This could provide long term employment.
7 – Transport
Whilst there are many options for road based transport in terms of battery powering. The largest hurdle to overcome is air travel. It may not be possible to power an aeroplane with anything other than liquid fuels. However, pending the delivery of 100% renewable, it should be possible to manufacture hydrogen fuels, which have a negligible carbon footprint.
Environmental Policy Consultants London