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100 Top Economists Call for End of Carbon Economy to Usher in 'Greener' and More Just World

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/04/100-top-economists-call-end-carbon-economy-usher-greener-and-more-just-world

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Certainly we need to “end the carbon economy.” Certainly we are decades late in starting.

But we need to do MUCH MORE than that. We need to end the industrial assault on life.

We need to end the looting economy, and end the looting class.

Free carbon fuel from coal oil and gas has been the greatest boon ever for the looters, but the economy constructed with free carbon energy to serve the looting class, is quite literally destroying the ecology, in multiple massive ways, of which climate disruption by atmospheric carbon is only one.

We have to recognize the actual problem, and the actual source of the problem. The actual problem is the human industrial assault on the ecology, on the Earth, on nature, on life. The actual source of the problem is “the economy,” not just “the carbon economy,” and we need a total restructure of the economy to END looting (colonizing, capitalism, neoliberalism) as the basis for economic activity.

The limited-liability investor-owned corporation is the basic tool for empowering colonizers, looters, capitalists, and it must be abolished as we restructure the economy to prioritize ecology, nature, life, the Earth, over the propaganda terminology of the looting class: “economic growth,” “human resources,” “profit maximization,” “externalization of costs,” etc.

Ultimately this brings us face to face with the entire propaganda terminology of the Euro-centric Western colonization of everything under the rubric of the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, and Liberalism, and the operating principles of patriarchy, colonization, the Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, and white supremacy. Human Supremacism and the rampant narcissistic human ego have got to be faced, challenged, and dis-empowered. We have to live in the context in which we actually live, which is ecological and cosmological, not under the illusion that “I think, therefore I am,” and that “We create our own reality,” and that the looters are “The smartest people in the room” and “The Masters of the Universe.”

We need a political revolution, an economic revolution, a revolution of consciousness and a revolution of values, and we need to clearly recognize that the looters and the looting class have to be dis-empowered.

So sure, end the carbon economy, and fast. Just don’t think you are remotely close to “solving the problem.”

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The carbon economy is indeed a symptom of wealth and income inequality that has existed in most parts of the world forever, and existed in the US until FDR’s New Deal in 1935, re-emerging in the 1970s when the Powell memo accelerated the fascist takeover of murka launched by Robert Taft, Joseph McCarthy, Roy Cohn, and the Dulles brothers a quarter century earlier.

You will not get rid of the carbon economy, racism, and other symptoms until the ever widening wealth and income gap reverses trajectory.

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Yes you said it so well ,an evolution revolution a raising of conciousness and understanding seeing life as one and a system for the highest good of all.

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~https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/feb/18/worlds-top-firms-environmental-damage
~https://www.democracynow.org/2004/11/9/confessions_of_an_economic_hit_man
~https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-RnnEFWUM4

The problem is far more fundamental than that.There is no economy, even a so-called “green” one, that isn’t ultimately a looting economy. Power, property, money - things that we deal with costantly, and rule our every day lives - these are at the root of any human economy, and are at the root of our estrangement to (and domination of) the natural world. And it is these things that must/will be destroyed to bring about a re-balancing of the biosphere.

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Couldn’t agree more.

Paul Solman, a reporter for PBS based in Boston, reported on 7/30/20 that there’s no longer any financial reason for anyone to research and develop new antibacterial drugs. The world might be desperate for getting these drugs to market, enormous numbers of people shall be doomed to die of preventable infections, and yet there’s no profit to be made right now, and so no one at all is performing the critical R&D. The largest Pharma companies have kicked around the idea of establishing a $2 billion dollar fund to get the work done. We’ve also recently learned the hard way from the covid-19 pandemic that most individual states will do almost anything to avoid thinking about impending societal disasters until the point when societal pain is too great for them to bear.

The climate catastrophe now has exactly the same economic fail. We face mass species extinction, we face the extinction of nearly all existing forests because trees can neither migrate 1000 miles north nor adapt to the new climate, and we possibly face mass starvation on earth. Nevertheless, our marketplace is horribly rigged so that there’s too rarely an economic incentive for any individual or for any small group to re-invent anything. Patenting anything is a legal and financial nightmare. Small product manufacturers tend to be squashed by enormous competitors. A promising new solar invention can be sold for maximum profit to Exxon, which will then lock the patent in their safe to maximize their near-term fossil fuel profits.

If a nation or a planet needs tasks to be done, that nation should pay people money in exchange for doing the needed work. Pay for work is a fundamental economic principle. Work contributed for nothing as a charitable giveaway is always theoretically possible, but human beings then have to find ways to pay their own room and board, afford their own workbenches and equipment, and probably suffer through utter lack of any recognition or respect in their lifetimes.

So, we’re missing our best chance to not kill off almost every last tree on the planet and not a few of us primates too. Why not change it. It’s sort of like asking, why not think about quitting smoking like maybe soon, not at some theoretical time in the future which might come just after the doc shows you your freaking chest x-rays and tells you to get your affairs in order.

Optimally I would want to see a national engineering R&D board with regular meetings. We could use a climate crisis version of Dr. Fauci (or much better), someone with training as an engineer, who has worked on the front lines and who can’t abide political lying when lives are at stake. We’re not going to have any such government recognition under the Trump administration, so the next best thing would be finding a foundation to sponsor the board. I want the following focus for the engineering board:

  1. With covid-19 as well as with the climate emergency, all of our best potential tools and our obstacles need to be named as they appear. Then our engineering projects need to be prioritized.

  2. Engineering solutions take time, money and people. Most solutions will usually have second order engineering issues that want to be solved if possible. The adults in the room will ask us to identify and then solve these engineering side issues as soon as feasible.

  3. Shading the truth for political advantage is unhelpful when lives are at stake.


As I noted, I’m a prolific solar and climate change inventor. I’m going to lay out some climate R&D goals that I expect can be rather quickly and affordably accomplished because I already have critical inventions sketched out to meet these goals. If somebody else should come along with an even better gizmo, these climate goals will have still been checked off as successes. Achieving each of these goals is mission-critical for inhibiting climate change.

Now for the climate targets:

  1. We need almost all buildings to almost completely heat and cool themselves. I have an off-grid solar greenhouse with two winters of experience at ~http://klinkmansolar.com/greenhouses.htm, patent #8408199, and my first building retrofit prototype is at ~http://klinkmansolar.com/solarheat.htm .

I need partners right now to enter a one million euro contest by September to heat the City of Helsinki, Finland, a city of about 1 million people. I plan to create a multiyear ground heat sink using lots of heliostats, using mirrored tubes to transfer 100x sun to the heat sink from closer locations and using well-insulated molten salt pipes for longer distance solar heat transfers. Legally, to enter I need to be a team. I can enter alone with my wife’s name on the entry, but to be more valid I will need a businessperson-type and a genuine engineer (my MS is in computer science, which is always of importance these days). Know of anybody?

  1. We need nearly 100% renewable electricity and fast. I have three separate inventions for after-sunset electricity plus some auxiliary gadgets. First, the ground heat sink described above can act as a geothermal field for tertiary electricity generation, filling in whenever solar farms and wind farms fail.

  2. I want to build a robotic ski lift that can efficiently store and return 1000 horsepower times 72 hours at a storage cost of perhaps 3 cents per kwh. It stores energy like hydropumping except it uses rocks and clean fill instead of water. Inexpensive power plus inexpensive storage means that natural gas can’t compete that well.

  3. The most complex generating invention (so far) is at ~http://klinkmansolar.com/mountain.htm, patent #8823197. It inherently desalinates water. It can extract electricity from low-heat geothermal sources of water or from the waste steam from invention #2 above.

  4. For transit we need about 300 mpg equivalent. This means replacing freeways with above-grade microtransit. My target is an outrageously low-cost 3 cents per passenger-mile with excellent covid-19 social distancing for a transit system, ADA compliance, roughly zero rush hour traffic problems and much more. ~http://klinkmansolar.com/teleport.htm

6 We need to reverse the Arctic meltdown before an estimated 1.4 teratons of greenhouse gases are released from the tundra. The most ecologically benign way to restore the Arctic Ocean’s ice pack and to prevent the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is at ~http://klinkmansolar.com/arctic.htm

  1. We need wind-powered artificial snow making equipment to enhance snow cover, not just on the Arctic tundra to prevent tundra fires, but all the way down into New England too. The loss of traditional snow cover causes a loss of carbon in New England soils.

  2. We need farmers, woodlot managers and scrub land managers to all sequester more carbon per acre. Sometimes the answer is as simple as paying a woodlot manager to leave the local beaver colony in place, because peat bogs absorb carbon and beavers leave their heavy chewed branches lying on the bottoms of beaver ponds. We still need optimum plans researched and legislation crafted.

  3. My fog pond adds fog to an arid region’s late night air, hopefully restoring and over-restoring the local ecology for improved agricultural carbon capture or for local crop growth. It’s fairly easy to construct worldwide. Fog ponds can run on seawater pumped up by wind/solar pumps. If the saline waste is completely dried out, sea salt is a salable product.

There’s more, of course, but that should get us going.

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The Daimler electric freight truck battery pack of 550kwh will need recycling every 2 years or 100,000 miles. Passenger car EV battery packs last about 10 years or 150,000 miles. The battery resource distributes like this:
“1” BEV Daimler freight truck.
“30” Tesla ‘S’ sport sedans.
“170” Chevy Volt plug-in hybrids (rated 150+mpg).
“500” Prius plug-in hybrids (rated 110+mpg).

In other words, BEV tech should be dedicated to small electric vehicles. Not only should PHEV capture a larger share of the EV market for freight trucks, utility vans, SUVs and passenger cars, PHEV tech can run on renewable bio-fuels including combustible hydrogen more practical lower pressure than in a Toyota Fuel Cell EV. The chant “Leave it in the ground” does not make sense. Most economists on this list of signatories no doubt believe “all-battery” BEVs is the ONLY way to reduce fuel/energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Those who think so are wrong.

The most fundamental action we can take to halt global warming is a direct tax on carbon. (DTOC)
If you want to stop the use of something; make it more expensive. The Paris Summit, in 2015, failed to commit to this principle. They wimped out!

With over 70% of Americans wanting action on global warming; why are the politicians not touting this as one of their fundamental campaign positions? Bought-off maybe? The DTOC question defines their commitment to saving our planet for future generations. We cannot allow those seeking office to evade this defining issue. The continuing existence of humankind on this planet is at stake.

A DOTC is a win-win proposition. Clearly, clean energy is an industry of the future and one we
must as a matter of industrial policy embrace and protect for future national wealth creation. i.e. Jobs.

The fossil fuel industry knows that a DTOC will unleash a clean carbon industry, as it should. They will use their monetary influence with Congress to the max to slow the shift to clean methods of energy production.

We could be off fossil fuels in eight years with present technology, to say nothing of what future advancements will bring. We went to the moon in eight years and had to develop new technology to do it. To think we cannot do the same with clean energy is to believe BP’s and Exon’s propaganda.

To not have public discussion on the viability of a DTOC is to not have a serious discussion on global warming. A DTOC is the necessary first statement for action.

A carbon tax makes sense to me. In my previous post, I make the case for plug-in hybrid PHEV tech. Even burning somewhat cleaner bio-fuels at 150mpg is an upfront reduction of combustion by about 60%. PHEVs gain that fantastic mileage only by driving less than 20-50 miles daily, in part a solution to insane traffic and car dependency. The gas tax could triple, yet motorists would not pay that much more and still they’d complain about that tax. “To reduce fuel consumption, we must learn to use fuel/energy sparingly.”