Wishful solutions that multiply problems later

Re: Climate change media 6 January 2009 CarbonEquity, Climate Action Centre, Melbourne To subscribe (one email per week) send blank email

David, reply 1/10/09

Interesting list of studies and alternatives!   In the same way that “clean coal” seems to never have existed except as wishful thinking, “good growth” never has either, and most of the solutions on the list depend on it.

There are a lot of other ways that some of our “solutions” multiply problems too.    It’s a major theme of what we’re dealing with.  All our increasingly insolvable problems were created by widely supported solutions of the past.

Many of today’s solutions are just not being thought through either, and are having that same highly negative effect!    The most distressing fact is that I find people never seem to disagree when I point out the particulars, but respond as if it is such a ‘radical’ idea somehow, that I can find no journal or group that wants to discuss the major cases.

One of the biggest is that efficiency and productivity are widely seen as the solution, but have always had the reverse effect on the system as a whole as they do for individuals.    For the system as a whole an increase in economic productivity serves to increase economic product much more than it reduces economic waste, and so continually multiplies our impacts.

The classic example is how efficiency has always been a primary advantage in competition, but energy use has continually grown at almost twice the rate of energy efficiency improvement.    Inside Efficiency, why efficiency multiplies consumption



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