One of the UK’s leading climate policy researchers has concluded we need a planned economic contraction if we are to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. We take a look at some of the links between the credit crunch and the climate crunch with Tim Helweg-Larsen, director of the Public Interest Research Centre and co-author of the “Zero Carbon Britain” & “Climate Safety” reports. There’s also an appearance by Kevin Anderson (Research Director at the Tyndall Centre) and a live performance of the “Global Meltdown Derby” by Irish poet Grassy Noel.
- Might a planned or unplanned economic contraction be our best hope of achieving climate safety?
- What does the UK need to do right now to start leading from the front and change the game at the UN talks in Copenhagen later this year?
- Should we be focusing on demand management policies and move to a steady-state economy as soon as possible?
- If so, is carbon rationing our best tool for swift action on climate change?
- When will the UK realize that we have an offshore renewable energy goldmine just waiting for us to tap?
The Second Half of the Age of Oil now dawns … it is a devastating development because it implies that the oil-based economy is in permanent terminal decline, removing the confidence in perpetual growth on which the Financial System depends … This in turns leads to the conclusion that the World faces another Great Depression. – Colin Campbell, 2007
Could we be heading towards economic meltdown in the face of the triple challenges of the credit crunch, climate crunch and energy crunch?
A new group calling itself The Green New Deal has put forward a policy package that aims to address this triple crunch. Their inaugural report looks at how the UK and US recovered from the Great Depression of the 1930s and also draws important lessons from Britain’s Wolrd War II experience, oil-crunched Cuba in the 1990s, as well as the New Economics Foundation (nef)’s work on well-being.
Could The Green New Deal form the basis for a broad new alliance outside the traditional party structures that would bring the financial sector back under proper control, create jobs and lay the foundations of a new low carbon society?
We dedicate this week’s programme to an interview with one of the report’s authors, Andrew Simms, who is also policy director of nef.
Could doing nothing be an easier and more pleasurable way of saving the planet? We discuss this contention with author and editor of The Idler, Tom Hodgkinson.
Making the transition to a low carbon economy necessitates a fresh look at the skills we have and the jobs that we do. What activities are going to be most valuable in a world without fossil fuels? How will we organise ourselves in a world that is less wasteful, more local, and more about self-sufficiency and community resilience?
What interested me in talking to Tom Hodgkinson was the fact that the ideas he had been exploring about freedom and a life of leisure matched increasingly closely to some of the visions that are emerging of what our low carbon future will look like. In a sense, Tom has been beavering away on the development of a philosophical justification and historical precedents for environmentally-friendly lifestyles.
Check out Tom’s books – “How to be Idle” and especially “How to be Free”.
The second of two programmes comprising our coverage of the RSA’s “No Way Back?” conference on arts and ecology.
- Stewart Wallis, executive director, New Economics Foundation
- Max Andrews, editor, “Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook” (published by RSA, distributed by Cornerhouse)
When Nicholas Stern describes climate change as the biggest market failure ever, he is effectively admitting that our current economic system – which does not place a value on environmental or social costs – has been responsible for our failure to act sufficiently to combat climate change.
The New Economics Foundation has been arguing for over 20 years that our economic thinking is outdated. The strength of their arguments has grown as our present economic system reaches its limits and leads us towards collapse. NEF’s arguments are now unavoidable. Stewart Wallis explains why we need to replace GDP with Well Being as the goal of our economic system if we are to make the transition to a sustainable society.
A major new book was launched at the “No Way Back?” conference. “Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook” traces the often hidden set of diverse artistic practices that, from Land Art in the 1970s onwards, have explored themes relating to the land and the environment. We spoke to the editor of this beautifully designed, thought-provoking anthology, Max Andrews, about some of the issues it raises.
Climate Confidential looks at two topics that have a bearing on the price of oil:
We talk to award-winning journalist Greg Palast about his investigation for BBC Newsnight and Harpers magazine on the battle within the Bush Administration about what to do with Iraq’s oil. Palast uncovered a destructive tug of war between the neo-cons and Big Oil about whether or not to privatise Iraq’s oil and whether or not to break the OPEC cartel. As always he has the documents to prove it.
Secondly we have an interview with one of the leading lights of the Peak Oil debate. Colin Campbell helped found London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre after having worked as Chief Geologist for Amoco and Vice President for Fina. He tells us why he thinks we are in for a bumpy ride as we adjust to an oil era that is coming to an end.