Monthly Archives: October 2009

Decoupling: green capitalism’s cunning plan

Baldrick: 'I've just thought of a cunning plan.'‘Decoupling’ is green capitalism’s cunning plan: break the link between ecological degradation and economic growth, and voila! The ecological crisis of capitalism is overcome.

If decoupling is achieved, growth can continue, profits can be taken, standards of living can be raised, and there will be no discernable ecological consequences.

In their recently published article “The emperor’s green clothes”, urban planning academics Petter Naess and Karl Georg Hoyer have reported on their search for signs of decoupling. Their conclusion is that the possibility of decoupling is  “not valid.”

Like many another cunning plan, decoupling is simply an empty promise.

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Filed under capitalism, David, economic analysis, sustainability

Don’t frighten the horses! Emissions trading as “regulation lite”

The advocates of ‘more markets’ and ‘minimal government’ would like us to think they know the secret to efficient and effective regulation of human behaviour. But can we really apply such neoliberal thinking to the climate change crisis? Can the application of more markets possibly fix what Nicholas Stern (2006) describes as “the greatest market failure in history”?

In 2008, Robert Baldwin, professor of law at the London School of Economics, published a working paper that examines the case for and against emissions trading as effective regulation.

What I want to look at here is Baldwin’s analysis of the regulatory philosophy which underpins the current trading approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Disturbingly, he finds an erosion of democratic accountability and reduced expectations of legitimacy; this is what he calls “regulation lite.”

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Filed under climate change, David

To deal with climate change we need social change

Your Blog Action Day post from  well sharp.

Social and Governance Dimensions of Climate Change: Implications for Policy (Policy Research Working P aper 4939) Roberto Foa, The World Bank, May 2009

This paper presents empirical evidence about some of social factors likely to be important for societies to implement effective responses to the challenges of climate change, and discusses what this suggests for policy.

The bottom line: to deal with climate change we need social change – specifically, we need a world of gender equity, with a flourishing civil society, and broad cross-cutting social ties.

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Filed under Barry, climate change, social justice