Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Window of Opportunity

Recession results in steep fall in emissions
By Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, Financial Times

Published: September 20 2009 23:30

The recession has resulted in an unparalleled fall in greenhouse gas emissions, providing a “unique opportunity” to move the world away from high-carbon growth, an International Energy Agency study has found. In the first big study of the impact of the recession on climate change, the IEA found that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels had undergone “a significant decline” this year – further than in any year in the past 40. The fall will exceed the drop in the 1981 recession that followed the oil crisis.

Falling industrial output is largely responsible for the plunge in CO2, but other factors have played a role, including the shelving of many plans for new coal-fired power stations owing to falling demand and lack of financing.The article is continued here (free signup)

This underscores an opportunity to instill a new and integrated approach to human habitation in step with natural cycles. An advocacy org for this is the Revitalization Institute (RI), an academic network and advocate for the restoration economy in which natural, built, and socio-economic assets are continuously enhanced rather than depleted or demolished. Storm Cunningham has set up a network of web sites around his books, Restoration Economy and reWealth. Restoration Economy started it all: the first time all the disciplines that are restoring our natural & built environments were revealed as a single global trend.

Of course a network of investment and funding is also set up, at Regeneration Fund and Places to Invest.

The point being that all the resistance by industry and massive corporate lobbying against adopting processes that work with natural cycles is not only counterproductive, but is a failure to capture effective production and cut future costs of waste and pollution. The Chamber of Commerce approach is strictly short-term cost-cutting that leaves industry and commerce stuck in unproductive, outmoded production models that are primarily embedded in oil as a fuel or a resource material, which is at the heart of the carbon consumption cycle. It's time to move on, and free this country from the oil industry.

It's Just Not That Hard.

Michael Klare writes about the geopolitics of this transition in his article, "The Era of Xtreme Energy" at Tomgram, and paints a rather tough picture of it. If demand for energy doesn't recede, this could be the way it plays out. But Xtreme Capitalism may be drawing to a close, as well, and this could change the picture. Efficiency and miniaturization are being brought into play, and the footprint can shrink.