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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/30/09

Tax policy implications for a Sustainable, Green, Steady State Economy for the 21st Century (series: part 1 of 2)

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slow growth and relocalized monetary growth versus velocity vectorized fast growth

"Tax Policy is Economic Policy!"

(series: part 1 of 2)

Jack Lindblad, in his public comment for the Commission on the 21st Century Economy, posted under "Public Comments" - down this page, as a pdf, draws together the economic and ecological collapses' connectedness to urge a steady state economy and tax policy based on relocalization and bio-regional determinism to retire endemic deficit spending and adapt to, mitigate, and restore ecological services from climate change by reducing emissions 70% by 2015 for a less than 2 °C rise from 2000 levels to avoid escalating, horrific effects of deepening social, economic and ecological collapse.
High-carbon growth - business as usual - will by mid-century have taken greenhouse gas concentrations to a point where a major climate disaster is very likely. We risk a transformation of the planet so radical that it would involve huge population movements and widespread conflict. Put simply, high-carbon growth will choke off growth.

This sustainable growth strategy is crucial not just to end the recession but as a model for the whole world in the decades to come:

The next few years present a great opportunity to lay the foundations of a new form of growth that can transform our economies and societies. Let us grow out of this recession in a way that both reduces risks for our planet and sparks off a wave of new investment which will create a more secure, cleaner and more attractive economy for all of us. And in so doing, we shall demonstrate for all, particularly the developing world, that low-carbon growth is not only possible, but that it can also be a productive and efficient route to overcome world poverty.

from Nicholas Stern: Recession is the time to build a low-carbon future

[George Monbiot has written that even] Lord Stern made it too easy: he appears to have underestimated the costs of mitigation. As the professor of energy policy Dieter Helm has shown, Stern's assumption that our consumption can continue to grow while our emissions fall is implausible. To have any hope of making substantial cuts we have both to reduce our consumption and transfer resources to countries like China to pay for the switch to low carbon technologies. As Helm notes, "there is not much in the study of human nature -- and indeed human biology -- to give support to the optimist."

But we cannot abandon mitigation unless we have a better option. We don't. If you think our attempts to prevent emissions are futile, take a look at our efforts to adapt. Where Stern appears to be correct is in proposing that the costs of stopping climate breakdown, great as they would be, are far lower than the costs of living with it.

from If we behave as if it's too late, then our prophecy is bound to come true

from Unknown Earth: Why is Earth's climate so stable? * 24 September 2008 by Richard Lovett

The Venus Syndrome looms ahead with continuing the growth economy's "business as usual".

The changes we make to the climate by burning fossil fuels could last millions of years but, after we've gone, Earth's underlying thermostat should be able to regain control. That is not guaranteed, however. Both Venus and Mars were habitable once. Perhaps we should heed their warning and take better care of the thermostat our planet has so generously provided.
Nature adds 5% more global greenhouse gases (ghg) yearly and all of that is absorbed in the carbon cycle. Mankind adds twenty times more than Nature and the excess ghg stays in the atmosphere and increases the temperature. Science tells us that humans are forcing the natural carbon cycle by 20 times the amount that nature assimilates its own carbon dioxide contribution (5% of man-made CO2). Economic activity will be 400% higher by mid-century with those in China and India consuming on the level of the US today. Yearly economic growth is pegged at 3%.
Real wealth has no relationship with the non-productive gains realized from the financial bubble, now flattened. The global financial structure is not seen as returning anytime soon, according to George Soros and economist James K. Galbraith.

Real wealth - defined.

Real wealth is measured in a steady-state, sustainable economy based on zero carbon emissions, reset to a CO2 neutral flux, economic activity reset to much lower levels of consumption and a redefinition of the global economy into a constellation of revitalized, relocalized communities based on bio-regional determinism, watersheds, and local access to necessities of life, education, culture, health care for all.


What we need to determine is how to peg the level of economic activity to a carbon-neutral, steady-state economy - in which there is a cessation of greenhouse gas forcing beyond nature's self-regulating level - an economic level supported at 5% of current greenhouse gas production.

To approach tax policy for a steady state economy, we need qualitative metrics of economic output and growth as a function of carbon-neutral systems outcomes.

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Permission is given to reproduce in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article. An architect by education and profession, Jack Lindblad is running to win California's 18th Senate District seat in 2014, having (more...)

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