In their new book Inside the Green Economy–Promises and Pitfalls, Thomas Fatheuer, Lili Fuhr, and Barbara Unmüßig of the Heinrich Böll Foundation set out to explore the underlying assumptions, hypotheses, and propositions of the green economy and to spell out their consequences in the real world. The authors call for radical realism and the courage to recognize the complexity of the global crises. They assert that the great task will be to continue the project of modernity, embracing the latest knowledge about planetary boundaries as well as the old vision of broad democratic participation and an end to poverty and injustice.
1. The green economy is an optimistic vision of fossil-fuel phase-out in an economy assumed to become greener via technology and efficiency
In the mainstream imagination, the green economy wants to break away from our fossil-fueled business-as-usual. It’s a nice, optimistic message: the economy can continue to grow, and growth can be green. The green economy even hopes to become a driver of more growth. Yet reconciling climate change mitigation and resource conservation with economic growth in a finite and unjust world remains an illusion. With its positive associations, the term “green economy” suggests that the world as we know it can continue much as before thanks to a green growth paradigm of greater efficiency and lower resource consumption.
However, anyone making such a promise must deliberately downplay complexity and have powerful faith in hoped-for miracles of the market economy and technological innovation, while at the same time ignoring social inequality and not wanting to tackle existing economic and political power structures. The green economy is thus a matter of faith and selective blind spots.
It can only be a realistic option for the future if it recognizes planetary boundaries, overcomes social and political injustice and ensures the radical reduction and fair distribution of emissions and resource consumption.
2. Fixing the failure of the market by enlarging it: instead of rethinking business, the green economy wants to redefine nature
The green economy redefines the idea of the primacy of economics as the conclusive answer to current crises. It responds to the multiple crises with more economics. Economics has become the currency of politics, say its advocates. Consequently, they intend to correct the failure of the market economy by enlarging the market. The green economy thus wants the market to encompass things that have previously been beyond its scope by redefining the relationship between nature and economy.
The result is a new version of the concept of nature as natural capital and the economic services of ecosystems – and not a transformation of our way of doing business. Instead of rethinking business, the green economy wants to redefine nature by measuring and recording it, assigning it a value and putting it on the balance sheet – based on a global, abstract currency of carbon metrics.
This hides the many structural causes of the environmental and climate crisis from view and no longer fully takes them into account in the search for real solutions and viable pathways. The consequences of such an approach are also reflected in new market mechanisms for trading biodiversity credits. In many cases, they do not prevent the destruction of nature but merely organize it along market lines.
The green economy reduces the needed fundamental transformation to a question of economics and gives the impression that it can be implemented without major upheaval and conflict.
For the second time in as many weeks activists in Canada have occupied and shut down Line 9 Enbridge’s 300,000 barrel per day oil pipe line. This action effectively shuts down the flow of bitumen oil from the Alberta Tar Sands into into the United States.
The activists arrived at the Endbridge site just West of Sarnia, Ontario at 8AM and proceeded with closing the valve and locking themselves to the equipment.
Not necessarily a position that SCNCC supports, but some interesting points made here. "This week we take on the NGO led spectacle called the people’s climate march plus a look at Peru’s spectacular resistance against a copper mine, and the call from the east to disrupt oil extraction and infrastructure. On the music break, Ontario based hiphop group Flowtilla with Line 9. We wrap things up with an exclusive interview with Sea, an inhabitant of la ZAD, Europe’s largest post capitalist occupation."
The girls were in for what Watt-Cloutier now describes as a “brutal shock.”
They were assigned to the home of a family named Ross, headed by a man with a nasty temper. Watt-Cloutier missed her family terribly and longed to return to her “Arctic childhood of ice and snow.” Raised on seal and whale meat, she pined for “country food,” as Northern game is known, and found the fresh peas and “tumblers full” of cow’s milk at the Rosses’ to be “revolting.”
Barack Obama's *veto of Keystone XL has placed the export pipeline for Canadian tar-sands crude on its deathbed. Earlier in February, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Keystone could spur 1.37 billion tons of excess carbon emissions — providing the State Department with all the scientific evidence required to spike the project, permanently. If the news has cheered climate activists across the globe, it also underscored the folly of Canada's catastrophic quest, in recent years, to transform itself into a dirty-energy "superpower."
When Sarah Mitchell arrived at McGill in the fall of 2014, she was surprised to see Shell's logo emblazoned on the second page of her student agenda. As a student at McGill's faculty of sustainable engineering, she had assumed that her department had limited ties with extractive industries. She was surprised again when she later realized that McGill was still tied to fossil fuels through its investments. The campaign for divestment from fossil fuels at McGill had started in 2012, when Sarah was still in high school.
During a senate committee meeting on Aboriginal peoples Paul Martin was asked if he thought that if Aboriginal peoples “coalesced, could they not bring this country to a standstill?” Martin answered, “We would hope not; and that we would hope not because government will react before that happens.” Shut Down Canada, a grassroots movement calling for action on Feb. 13 plans to challenge this.
As US President Barack Obama and a Republican-led Congress spar over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a new analysis of worldwide fossil-fuel reserves suggests that most of the Alberta oil the pipeline is meant to carry would need to remain in the ground if nations are to meet the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius.
Mark Jaccard yesterday said he is "horribly let down" by Prime Minister Stephan Harper's failure to "competently" enact emissions regulations in 2007 which would have kept his Kyoto Protocol promises on track to 2020. Harper himself, Jaccard says, formally withdrew from the Kyoto processes while charging the previous Liberal government with "incompetence" in neglecting to set in motion adequate policies to reach Kyoto goals.