Cost of Default
An interesting article on the cost to Canada of not being in the Kyoto protocol. According to Cambridge University’s Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (see this link) the cost to Canada could have been a small increase in GDP and employment, compared to a no-action scenario. I referred to Canada withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol here in the second article down. The argument goes that in the medium term Canada could actually benefit from internal investment in new low carbon technologies which would boost it’s economy. Conversely doing nothing about emissions costs the domestic economy. The analysis was undertaken with the aid of an energy-environment-economy computer model that analyses economic interactions at the global level.
Oil Has Peaked?
“Climate policy: Oil’s tipping point has passed” is the title of an article in Nature magazine by James Murray & David King. They point out that global oil production appeared to hit a cap of about 75 million barrels a day in 2005. Since then, they note, small supply bumps have caused big price gyrations, yet even when prices spike above $100 a barrel, supply appears incapable of rising to meet the demand. This has implications for all of us: we live in an economy driven by the price of oil. Unemployment is on the rise across Europe and many other parts of the world. Smart governments should be pushing hard for improved public transport, reduced dependency on fossil fuels and low carbon energy supplies. The rise of the price of oil will lead to increased use of more polluting fossil fuels such as coal and tar sands with the increased risk to the climate that greater emissions of carbon dioxide will bring. “Most governments are unwilling to admit the prospect of indefinite economic stagnation due to our reliance on fossil fuels”. This will have implications for many. Vote now! Reference to the article can be viewed in this summary document.
One of the problems of sustainability is getting a definition of what is meant by the word in the first place. According to the Oxford English dictionary it is “conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources” or “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level” or “able to be upheld or defended“. The first definition is a useful one to work with when it comes to resource use and allocation, whilst the second description could be used in the context of an economy or business. Both the definitions are useful to help define a new view of operating on a number of different levels. Economics is a way of allocating scarce resources and a sustainable economy may be helped by avoiding the depletion of natural resources.
The human race is consuming resources on a scale that exceeds the global output several times over. This is one justification for have a sustainable future. People are currently set in their ways of travelling by car for long journeys to get to their place of work (if they still have a job). As mentioned above this is certainly not sustainable in the longer term with peak oil will come excessive price rises as supply falls quickly. Each and everyone can contribute to a more sustainable future but will have to make decisions to ensure that it happens. This is how it is up to many individuals to make 2012 a truly sustainable year to start to reduce climate impacts, ensure there is a future for their families and provide a resilience that we have not seen so far. Many of these principles are those of the transition movement. Sustainability is just one prong of their outlook on small-scale community based processes to make areas “stronger and happier”. The coming decade may value such contributions at the local level to a more sustainable future.