GNWT and Indigenous leaders warn of rapid caribou herd decline

In a joint statement released Friday April 3rd, The Government of NWT’s (GNWT) Minister of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) together with Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief George Mackenzie, Łutsel Kʼe Dene First Nation Chief Darryl Marlowe, and other Indigenous regional leaders are strongly urging NWT residents on the need for responsible harvesting of caribou in this time of rapid herd decline.

The release says ENR officers determined that more than 80 caribou were killed illegally within the Mobile Core Bathurst Caribou Management Zone over the past two weeks. Wasted meat and parts from 12 more caribou were also discovered outside the zone last weekend.

The Bathurst caribou herd has declined by 98 per cent since 1986. Only 8,200 caribou remain. The Mobile Zone was put in place in 2015 to protect the herd. No hunting is allowed inside this zone.

ENR officers seized meat and issued tickets to hunters caught over the weekend. Prior to March 21, there had only been one case of harvesting in the mobile zone this winter.

Shane Thompson says “It is disappointing to see animals being wasted in this way. This behaviour is not only disrespectful—it is illegal.”

According to the statement hunters along the winter road were observed travelling and gathering and visiting in groups. ENR deemed this behaviour as going against the advice of the Chief Public Health Officer, who supports people going out on the land, but only with their immediate family or people they live with.

Indigenous leaders across the territory also denounced these actions expressing their concern about the health and safety of hunters in the region.

In response to these reports and in line with previous Public Health instructions that people across the Northwest Territories are to practice social distancing and avoid close contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19; Minister Thompson said,

“We understand this is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone,” said Minister Thompson. “It is up to all of us to ensure we are making good decisions to protect the health and safety of our communities and the future of our caribou. There are other animals that can be legally harvested at this time, including moose, muskox, fish, small game and other caribou herds. We encourage people to look at other options, and to harvest other animals respectfully and sustainably.”

SOURCE

RELATED:

Indigenous in Canada turn to the land to survive coronavirus

Tell Liberty Mutual to stop insuring Trans Mountain

Coast Protectors

While we’re practising physical distancing to protect our communities from Covid-19, Big Oil is lobbying hard for essential service labelling, bailouts and more support from the governments that have already subsidized them more than any other industry in Canada.

We can’t let them use the pandemic to cover for their crimes against the climate. Without being able to gather in the streets, we’re getting creative and using our digital tools to keep fighting for a just transition off fossil fuels that leaves no worker behind.

We have a big opportunity with Liberty Mutual, an insurance giant currently providing crucial coverage for the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project.

Sign now: Liberty Mutual, stop insuring Trans Mountain

Public pressure like this works: eight insurance companies have already adopted policies on tar sands. Together, we can get Liberty Mutual to follow suit and divest from the tar sands.

The annual meeting for Liberty Mutual policyholders is April 8 – we demand they live up to their promises on climate and stop insuring tar sands projects. More than 50,000 have already signed – will you add your name?

Last winter, Liberty Mutual adopted a policy limiting its business with coal, but it continues to insure the tar sands with no end in sight. In fact, they are also insuring the newly revived Keystone XL pipeline and haven’t ruled out Line 3.

All tar sands projects need one thing: insurance coverage. Without insurance, new tar sands mines, pipelines, and refineries cannot be built, and existing projects cannot continue to operate.

Demand Liberty Mutual drop insurance coverage of the Keystone XL and Trans Mountain pipelines and rule out insuring Line 3 and the entire tar sands sector.

In solidarity,

Sarah and the Coast Protectors team

PS This petition is calling for the immediate shut down of work camps in BC including Site C, CoastalGas Link and Trans Mountain. Sign now to support sending workers home to isolate with their families and stop the rotation of new workers into camps, potentially spreading the disease to local communities without the healthcare infrastructure to take care of them if they get sick.

10 ways to connect with nature without leaving your home this spring

Read on for ways to connect with wildlife and find some solace in nature during the Covid-19 outbreak

Image: Oriol Portell

We may be living under lockdown conditions during the coronavirus pandemic, but outside spring has well and truly arrived. The Wildlife Trusts, a UK movement made up of 46 wildlife charities, has compiled a list of ways to tune into the season from your home.

“Spring has arrived in splendid colour and sound,” said Kirsty Paterson from The Wildlife Trusts. “Over the past few days, hundreds of people have told us that they’ve spotted their first butterflies. These are moments of connection with nature that people find uplifting and comforting.”

Below are 10 family-friendly nature activity suggestions. (There is a downloadable activity sheet for each one – just follow the link within each section.)

“Such a great read, beautifully designed & superb ethos.”– Matt C. via TwitterSubscribe to Positive News magazine

1) Make a bird feederStir up some to-hand ingredients and plaster your feeder of choice – whether a pine or a coconut shell – with the tempting mix. Hang it from a spot where you can watch the birds tuck in without disturbing them. Find out more here.

Image: Viggo Danielsen

2) Build a hedgehog homePlywood boards – birch is ideal – can be used to create a “deluxe” hedgehog home, complete with cosy straw, grass or newspaper bedding, and soil and leaves packed around the outside. “Make sure the entrance tunnel faces south,” goes the advice. Get crafty by following the instructions here.

Image: Piotr Laskawski

3) Set up a mini nature reserveA small box, rock, log and some compost are all you need to create a mini nature reserve, according to this tip. Once everything is in place, put the box somewhere like an old bench or near a wall and wait to see who moves in. Plants will hopefully take root and creatures set up home there. (Patience may be required).

Image: Alvin Engler

4) Clean bird feedersDo your bit for the feathered visitors to your garden or green space by cleaning your bird feeders regularly, advise wildlife experts. Lockdown is a good chance for a quick spruce-up using the tips here.

Image: George Berberich

5) Make a nectar barNo matter the size of your green space, you can do plenty to help the UK’s pollinators. Pack a window box with insect-friendly plants: lavender, agrimony and rosemary are great examples, or dedicate a border of your garden to the same sweet-smelling aim. More information is here.

Image: Paul Hanaoka

6) Create a mini pondAn old bucket or other watertight container is the basis of this no-nonsense tip designed to turn us into a water feature creation nation. Line the bottom with sand, add some rocks and native pondweed and fill with rainwater. Dive into the details here.

7) Make your own compostThe list of items you can add to a home compost pile is as long as a day stuck inside with your family may sometimes feel. Strike out for the garden and create your very own heap in a shady spot where it will stay moist. Once you’re set up, fling in tea bags, raw fruit and veg peelings, grass cuttings, dead leaves, shredded paper, garden prunings and even waste cotton and wool. For more tips, including how not to rile your pile, click here.

Image: Markus Spiske

8) Try wildlife-themed yogaTurn your yoga session wild by following these wildlife-inspired poses. The starfish and even the one-legged heron might be self-explanatory, but the pine marten and adder? All is revealed at the link above.

Image: Pedro Lastra

9) Help birds to avoid windowsCut swooping bird shapes out of card and stick them in front of your windows to persuade winged visitors to avoid the glass. As well as serving as avian air traffic control, they will look nice flying in the breeze. More advice is here.

Image: Jim Summerson

10) Grow vegetables for wildlifeIt can be frustrating when we gardeners have our produce nibbled by wildlife, so why not pretend that was our intention all along? Large white and small white butterflies love cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, thrushes are chuffed to see apples and pears, while hoverflies and other insects will thank you for providing carrot flowers and fennel flowers. More tips are here.

Image: Oriol Portell

For more advice from The Wildlife Trusts on how to maintain a connection with the natural world during the coronavirus outbreak, click here.

Further perspectives on pandemics and climate change

I have recently been asked whether the present corona pandemic will have any consequence on climate change. Gavin has already discussed the coronavirus and climate here on RealClimate, and I like to follow up on his post.

Rather than emphasising analogies, I would highlight additional common denominators between the present world-wide Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

My first reaction is that the present crisis has taught us the value of knowledge and science. It is also obvious that only collaborative efforts can help us. Both these aspects are also true for climate change, a point that perhaps has been more implicit rather than explicit.

Furthermore, the science behind epidemics/pandemics as well as climate both have long histories. Meteorological services have a history that matches that of modern medicine, and many of them embraced climatology since the early days. The WHO was founded in 1948 whereas the WMO in 1950. But both were preceded by the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) that was established in 1873 and the International Sanitary Conferences in 1851.

Health and climate are also two scientific disciplines with obvious relevance to society, and I think there is no coincidence that Spiegelhalter et al (2006) used examples from both health and climate for discussing the use of infographics. Most people have seen a physician or a weather presenter, and it is fair to say that local climate can be regarded as weather statistics.

Science tells us that epidemics follow a characteristic course (a pandemic is a disease epidemic spread worldwide), with an initial emergence, rapid growth, a culmination and then a decline. Time is critical when dealing with the virus, and it is important to “flatten the curve” to avoid an overload of the health services. In other words, we need to lower the probability of transmission of the contamination to slow the process down, e.g. though “social distancing”.

Science also tells us that global warming will accelerate if we continue to emit greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. It’s just plain physics. Unlike a pandemic, however, there is no end in sight when it comes to climate change. But as with a pandemic, it is possible to take back control. One crucial difference between the two is that the virus has a life of its own while the atmospheric CO2-concentration so far does not increase by itself, but is a byproduct from our activities (there may also be some feedbacks).

Statistics is another common ground between the pandemic and climate. One example of the use of statistics is testing and false positives due to imperfect screening. The infographics presented by Spiegelhalter et al. (2006) explains that it is possible to test a person positive twice for the virus, first once and then another positive after being declared as having recovered. Similar false positives can be found in climate analyses, but in both cases they are the exceptions and a mere result of imperfect testing accuracy.

Another common ground is where land-use and biodiversity connect planetary health and climate. There is even a cryptic acronym used in the climate community to underscore this point: LULUFC which means land use land use change and forestry.

I think it’s important to consider the big picture and build resilience and capacity ahead of virus outbreaks and ahead of the emergence of natural disasters connected to climate, such as wildfires or locust swarms. It’s better to be well prepared than unprepared. For the virus, it’s a question of having a robust health care system. For climate change it may be necessary to boost firefighters’ capacity to deal with increased fire hazards and improve water infrastructure.

The pandemic has exposed our vulnerability, as our economy seems to collapse like a house of cards. Natural calamities associated with further climate change, described in many of the reports by the IPCC, are also expected to cause big disruptions. A bigger problem is when several bad things happen at the same time. In that sense, the pandemic underscores the importance of building a resilient and sustainable society. And as humans, we are bound to deal with both diseases and climate whether they are connected or not.

A turbulent oil market is another link between the Covid-19 pandemic and climate, thanks to decreased demand and the Russia – Saudi Arabia oil price war.

It seems obvious to me that strategies for dealing with both pandemics and climate change really need to take into account other countries. I don’t think we can solve the crisis without real international collaboration. Neither viruses nor weather respect the national borders, and closing the borders like North Korea does not seem to be a good option.

Scientists around the world are working around the clock to find a vaccine against the virus. When they succeed, it’s important that as many as possible of the world population get vaccinated around the world to develop ‘herd immunity’. Likewise, it’s important that climate scientists collaborate both when it comes to mitigation of climate change as well as adaptation to the changes that already are in the pipeline. Effects of local climate change affect remote countries through trade and politics.

As Gavin already has pointed out, we can also see some common ground between the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change through a reduction in the CO2-emissions as the economy takes a hit. There are also reports of reduced aerosol levels and blue skies over Chinese megacities. These changes provide an opportunity to estimate their effects on climate in new ways.

Another common trait is the occasional misrepresentation of scientists’ position in some media. We have seen anti-vaxxers and quacksalvers offering fake medicines and spreading conspiracy theories, which we also are too familiar with from the public discourse on climate change.

A big difference between the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change is how the governments and businesses respond, however. It seems as if fear really can prompt actions, a strategy communication experts suggest to avoid in climate change communication.

One explanation for the different response may be the different time scales of pandemics and climate change, and that the former involves a creepy indiscriminate contamination. The Covid-19 outbreak came as a big and sudden worldwide shock, whereas climate change comes in regional waves disguised as wildfires, floods and monster hurricanes.

In summary, the best way to deal with both pandemics and climate change must be based on science and good cooperation within and between nations. After all, we are all in the same boat. And a final word to those who have to provide home education as a result of social distancing, mathematics saves lives both in medicine and through climate research. SOURCE

References
    1. D. Spiegelhalter, M. Pearson, and I. Short, “Visualizing Uncertainty About the Future”, Science, vol. 333, pp. 1393-1400, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1191181

Unpacking Canada’s Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Their size, impacts and why they must go

Introduction

Oil, gas and coal are multi-billion-dollar industries, yet every year fossil fuel companies get billions in tax breaks and handouts that increase their profits even further. In a world that’s shifting to clean energy, Canada could get left behind if these subsidies don’t change. Fossil fuel subsidies also work against other climate change actions, incentivizing the very pollution we’re trying to stop. Canada committed to phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies 10 years ago—but even after a decade there are still large subsidies to fossil fuel production. Taxes and subsidies are a complicated topic, so we created this website to explain federal and provincial subsidies in Canada. We’ll cut through the jargon, so you can understand what’s really happening, debate it, and propose solutions for Canadians and Canada’s economy.

WHAT ARE FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES?

A subsidy is a financial benefit that the government gives, usually to a specific business, group or industry. There are debates about the difference between “subsidy” and the broader term “support,” but that’s a pretty good plain English definition. (It’s also roughly how the World Trade Organization defines the term.) This financial benefit can be a direct handout of cash or a tax break. Either way, it’s more money in the pocket of whoever receives the subsidy. Fossil fuel subsidies go to fossil fuel producers or consumers—whether it’s for extracting oil, shipping gas through a pipeline or burning fossil fuels for energy.

HOW MUCH DOES CANADA GIVE OUT IN FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES?

It’s difficult to know, because federal and provincial governments haven’t come clean about how much they really spend on fossil fuel subsidies. From what we do know, it’s in the billions of dollars. That includes measures like special tax deductions and direct cash that governments hand to fossil fuel companies. You can find a list of some of the largest subsidies below. Examples of federal subsidies include tax breaks like flow-through shares, which incentivize oil, gas and mining exploration, and research and development support programs, like those provided by Natural Resources Canada. Examples of provincial subsidies include crown royalty reductions in Alberta valued at an average of CAD 1.16 billion and deep drilling and infrastructure credits in British Columbia valued at an average of CAD 247 million from 2015 to 2018.

WHAT DO FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES COST ME?

Canada’s subsidies represent a lot of money. Let’s put it in perspective.

Wouldn’t you rather this money be spent on issues that matter to Canadians?

SO SUBSIDIES ARE EXPENSIVE AND THEY COST ME MONEY. IS THAT WHY THEY ARE A PROBLEM?

Yes, but it gets worse. Fossil fuel subsidies also undo the other climate change actions that Canada is taking. For example, the federal government recently introduced carbon pricing across Canada. By making carbon pollution more expensive, carbon pricing encourages us to pollute less. Just like Canada’s past success in stopping acid rain, putting a price on carbon pollution is a key part of the global fight against climate change. But through money and tax breaks, fossil fuel subsidies increase the same pollution that we’re trying to lower. Rather than making pollution expensive, they make it cheaper. This is like raising taxes on cigarettes to discourage smoking, while also giving tobacco companies tax breaks so they can make more cigarettes and profits. To make matters worse, fossil fuel subsidies disadvantage clean energy because they make it cheaper to produce or burn fossil energy. If even a small portion of subsidy savings were swapped to support renewable energy or energy efficiency, we could make a faster shift to an economically stable, climate-safe future. That sounds like a pretty good alternative compared to getting locked into dangerous climate change and unhealthy pollution!

IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS?

In short: a lot of talk, and some action, but not yet enough. At the provincial level, there have been very few efforts to reform subsidies. At the federal level, Canada committed to phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies way back in 2009, as part of the G20. Later, they said they’d phase them out by 2025. Canada still hasn’t taken the necessary steps to live up to these promises. The good news is that the federal government changed some of its tax policies over the past few years, which lowered some of the subsidies that fossil fuel companies can claim. They also pledged to phase out coal power by 2030. With 2025 right around the corner, we still have a lot of work to do—and fast. As part of its G20 commitment, the federal government is doing what’s called a “peer review” with Argentina. Through this process, Canada is evaluating “inefficient” federal fossil fuel subsidies. To inform the peer review, they even opened a public consultation on Canada’s non-tax subsidies. But overall, the process isn’t entirely clear, and we don’t know which subsidies will or won’t be considered “inefficient,” or even which subsidies will be reviewed. IISD is following the peer review process and will keep our readers updated as it progresses.

WHAT SHOULD CANADA DO?

To start, the federal and provincial governments should stop introducing new subsidies for fossil fuel companies. We also shouldn’t be extending the lifespan of any existing subsidies that are scheduled to expire. Second, governments should be up front with Canadians about how much money they spend on fossil fuel subsidies each year. Third, Canada should announce when it will end existing fossil fuel subsidies, to keep our G20 promise.

CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THESE SUBSIDIES?

Here are some of the largest current subsidies in Canada.

Subsidy name Who gives it? Who gets it? How much is it worth?*
LNG Canada investment** Canada LNG Canada CAD 275 million
Direct spending & budgetary transfers*** Canada Oil and gas companies CAD 318 million
Crown royalty reductions Alberta Oil and gas companies CAD 1.162 billion
Tax exemptions for certain fuels & uses in industry Alberta Industry CAD 298 million
Royalty reductions, including deep drilling and infrastructure credits British Columbia Oil and gas companies CAD 631 million
Reduced tax for aviation fuel Ontario Aviation Industry CAD 292 million
Tax exemption for coloured fuels used in agriculture Ontario Agricultural industry CAD 248 million
Fuel tax exemptions and reductions  Quebec Industry and other consumers CAD 301 million

* The exact amount changes from year to year, so unless otherwise listed, this is a yearly average based on estimates from the period 2015–2018 with specific data used for all years available and averaged. During periods of higher oil prices, royalty payments will also tend to be higher.

** The federal government announced this measure in 2019 to support liquefied natural gas development by LNG Canada in British Columbia.

***From fiscal year 2019–2020. For a full breakdown, see our most recent federal subsidy report.

†   From fiscal year 2018–2019, as listed in British Columbia’s Public Accounts.

‡ This amount is from fiscal year 2016–2017.

The IISD Global Subsidies Initiative has produced a wealth of information on subsidies to fossil fuels globally and in Canada.

You can learn more from this detailed report, which gives a full breakdown of fossil fuel subsidies by Canada’s federal government to 2019.

If you’re curious about provincial and territorial subsidies, you can check out reports we’ve done on British ColumbiaAlbertaNunavutOntario, and Quebec.

SOURCE

Experts say Canada’s COVID-19 response offers chance to shift direction of economy

A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton on Dec. 28, 2018. Downturns like the one being caused by the global pandemic routinely reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In the past, they’ve always recovered as economies rebuild. This time, analysts are looking ahead to how Canada could hasten its recovery and position itself for a low-carbon economy.

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic may be a long way off, but analysts are already looking ahead to how Canada could hasten its recovery and position itself for a low-carbon economy.

“The main thing we need to be doing right now is protecting Canadians’ health and well-being,” said Josha MacNab of the Pembina Institute.

“Within that context, we’re starting to turn our minds to what does economic recovery look like.”

Downturns like the one being caused by the global pandemic routinely reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In the past, they’ve always recovered as economies rebuild.

This time, many are asking how the economy can be restored without greenhouse gases tagging along. Open letters on the issue have already been signed by hundreds of thousands of Canadians, from academics to church groups.

Groups such as the World Resources Institute in the United States are calling for clean energy tax credits, programs to increase the energy efficiency of public buildings and a switch from diesel to electric transit buses. It notes similar measures after the 2009 crash saw 900,000 jobs supported.

Pembina has its own list: funding and training for jobs more resilient to market swings, incentives for switching to electricity, support for industries that produce lower-carbon goods.

“We see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a down payment on a resilient economy and a healthier future,” MacNab said.

Once the immediate crisis has passed, the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices wants any upcoming stimulus package to focus on making the country more resilient to climate-related shocks such as wildfires or floods.

“These are what we perceived as (remote) risks in the past,” said the group’s economist, Dave Sawyer. “Suddenly, they’re happening all the time.”

The long-term response to COVID-19 could be a chance to do things the Canadian economy will have to do anyway, he said, such as retrain workers from high-carbon industries.

“We know that some industries under this low-carbon future will shed workers,” Sawyer said.

“Where do these workers go? There has been a growing trend to think about transitions for workers.”

Not everyone thinks a post-pandemic green stimulus is appropriate.

“Maybe, to some extent,” said Mark Jaccard, an energy economist at Simon Fraser University.

He suggests the need for relief is going to be so great that governments will at first simply try to restore normalcy.

“Governments are going to pour the money in, short-term, to where workers are already skilled and to regions where they’re already working,” he said. “So it’s going to be in to fossil fuel-endowed areas.”

The real challenge, Jaccard said, will be to not let COVID-19 derail policies already planned or in place.

“It isn’t government spending that will lead to a decarbonized economy. It’s policies.”

Groups such as the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation and the federal Conservatives have already called for the planned increase in the federal carbon tax to be delayed. The increase, to $30 per tonne, has gone ahead.

Still, Keith Stewart of Greenpeace said that once the immediate dangers of the novel coronavirus have passed, the upset it will leave behind is a chance for a reset.

“It’s a shock to the system that makes things that once seemed natural and inevitable seem unnatural and avoidable.” SOURCE

COVID-19 crisis offers Canada route to low carbon economy

A flare stack lights the sky along refinery row in Edmonton Alta, on Friday, December 28, 2018. File photo by The Canadian Press/Jason Franson

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic may be a long way off, but analysts are already looking ahead to how Canada could hasten its recovery and position itself for a low-carbon economy.

“The main thing we need to be doing right now is protecting Canadians’ health and well-being,” said Josha MacNab of the Pembina Institute.

“Within that context, we’re starting to turn our minds to what does economic recovery look like.”

Downturns like the one being caused by the global pandemic routinely reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In the past, they’ve always recovered as economies rebuild.

This time, many are asking how the economy can be restored without greenhouse gases tagging along. Open letters on the issue have already been signed by hundreds of thousands of Canadians, from academics to church groups.

Groups such as the World Resources Institute in the United States are calling for clean energy tax credits, programs to increase the energy efficiency of public buildings and a switch from diesel to electric transit buses. It notes similar measures after the 2009 crash saw 900,000 jobs supported.

Pembina has its own list: funding and training for jobs more resilient to market swings, incentives for switching to electricity, support for industries that produce lower-carbon goods.

“We see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a down payment on a resilient economy and a healthier future,” MacNab said.

Once the immediate crisis has passed, the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices wants any upcoming stimulus package to focus on making the country more resilient to climate-related shocks such as wildfires or floods.

“These are what we perceived as (remote) risks in the past,” said the group’s economist, Dave Sawyer. “Suddenly, they’re happening all the time.”

The long-term response to COVID-19 could be a chance to do things the Canadian economy will have to do anyway, he said, such as retrain workers from high-carbon industries.

COVID response offers chance to shift direction of Canadian economy: experts

“We know that some industries under this low-carbon future will shed workers,” Sawyer said.

“Where do these workers go? There has been a growing trend to think about transitions for workers.”

Not everyone thinks a post-pandemic green stimulus is appropriate.

“Maybe, to some extent,” said Mark Jaccard, an energy economist at Simon Fraser University.

He suggests the need for relief is going to be so great that governments will at first simply try to restore normalcy.

“Governments are going to pour the money in, short-term, to where workers are already skilled and to regions where they’re already working,” he said. “So it’s going to be in to fossil fuel-endowed areas.”

The real challenge, Jaccard said, will be to not let COVID-19 derail policies already planned or in place.

“It isn’t government spending that will lead to a decarbonized economy. It’s policies.”

Groups such as the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation and the federal Conservatives have already called for the planned increase in the federal carbon tax to be delayed. The increase, to $30 per tonne, has gone ahead.

Still, Keith Stewart of Greenpeace said that once the immediate dangers of the novel coronavirus have passed, the upset it will leave behind is a chance for a reset.

“It’s a shock to the system that makes things that once seemed natural and inevitable seem unnatural and avoidable.”

Stewart said any money that does go to companies must be accompanied by promises of change — much as car manufacturers promised fuel efficiency improvements in accepting their 2009 bailout.

Once initial needs of public health and well-being are funded, government spending should have an eye to the future, said Stewart.

“That investment could entrench existing systems or it could be an investment in the clean-energy economy.” SOURCE

What the Coronavirus Means for Climate Change

Lockdowns and distancing won’t save the world from warming. But amid this crisis, we have a chance to build a better future.

Cristina Dura

Something strange is happening. Not just the illness and death sweeping the planet. Not just the closing of borders and bars and schools, the hoarding of wipes and sanitizer, the orders — unimaginable to most Americans weeks ago — to “shelter in place.” Something else is afoot. In China and Italy, the air is now strikingly clean. Venice’s Grand Canal, normally fouled by boat traffic, is running clear. In Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta, the fog of pollution has lifted. Even global carbon emissions have fallen.

Coronavirus has led to an astonishing shutdown of economic activity and a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels. In China, measures to contain the virus in February alone caused a drop in carbon emissions of an estimated 25 percent. The Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air estimates that this is equivalent to 200 million tons of carbon dioxide — more than half the annual emissions of Britain. In the short term, response to the pandemic seems to be having a positive effect on emissions. But in the longer term, will the virus help or harm the climate?

To be clear, the coronavirus pandemic is a tragedy — a human nightmare unspooling in overloaded hospitals and unemployment offices with unnerving speed, barreling toward a horizon darkened by economic disaster and crowded with portents of suffering to come. But this global crisis is also an inflection point for that other global crisis, the slower one with even higher stakes, which remains the backdrop against which modernity now plays out. As the United Nations’ secretary general recently noted, the threat from coronavirus is temporary whereas the threat from heat waves, floods and extreme storms resulting in the loss of human life will remain with us for years.

Our response to this health crisis will shape the climate crisis for decades to come. The efforts to revive economic activity — the stimulus plans, bailouts and back-to-work programs being developed now — will help determine the shape of our economies and our lives for the foreseeable future, and they will have effects on carbon emissions that reverberate across the planet for thousands of years.

How hopeful you feel about the direction this response is taking may depend on how long ago you refreshed your news feed. Just last week (which feels like a hundred years ago), a friend suggested that there may be a sort of Freudian transference from coronavirus to climate — that the fear and sense of urgency will be lifted from the faster-moving crisis and settle on the slower one, becoming a catalyst for much-needed action. So far, it seems any transference is working in the opposite direction: Lockdowns and social distancing are providing a litany of necessary actions ripe for the transferal of nebulous climate anxieties and fears. In this context, consumerism perversely provides some relief — you can finally go buy dry goods to prepare for the apocalypse.

But personal consumption and travel habits are, in fact, changing, which has some people wondering if this might be the beginning of a meaningful shift. Maybe, as you hunker down with cabinets full of essentials, your sense of what consumer goods you need will shrink. Maybe, even after the acute phase of the coronavirus crisis has passed, you will be more likely to telecommute. Lifestyles that include, for example, frequent long-distance travel already seem ethically questionable in light of the climate crisis, and, in an age irrevocably scarred by pandemic, these lifestyles may come to be seen as grossly irresponsible. Maybe among the relatively wealthy, jumping on a plane for a weekend away or for a destination wedding will come to seem unthinkable.

Sweeping changes in individual habits — particularly in wealthy countries with high per capita consumption — could lead to lower emissions, which would be an unequivocal good. But personal habits may matter less because of direct reductions in carbon emissions and more because of “behavioral contagion,” a term from the social sciences that refers to the way ideas and behaviors spread through a population and can, in terms of climate action, lead to changes in voting and even policy.

Which is to say, in order to be meaningful for global emissions, changes in consumption habits as a result of the virus would need to extend beyond individuals to the larger structures that shape our lives. In China, it wasn’t telecommuting or grounded planes that led to the 25 percent drop in emissions. It was the abrupt halt of industrial manufacturing. (The concept of the “personal carbon footprint” was popularized by BP in a 2005 media campaign costing over $100 million — a campaign that, research has indicated, deflected responsibility for climate change away from the corporation and onto the individual consumer.) This is not to say that personal consumption is meaningless — a significant reduction in air travel could decrease aviation emissions. But aviation accounts for only about 2.5 percent of global emissions, an amount that looks downright puny in the shadow cast by heavy industry.

If anything, the short-term positive effects on the climate that we’re seeing today serve as a dramatic reminder that changing personal consumption habits will mean very little going forward if we also fail to decarbonize the global economy.

According to the oil-trading firm Trafigura, coronavirus may lead to global oil demand seeing its biggest contraction in history, perhaps by more than 10 million barrels per day. While this may be good news for carbon emissions now, it signals a human disaster of epic proportions without any guarantee that emissions will remain low.

Yes, we could see a sustained emissions drop as economies stagnate and people struggle with the harsh daily realities of a global recession. But there were also dips in emissions during the 2008 financial crisis and the oil shocks of the 1970s, and emissions bounced back as economies recovered. The current crisis is different, to be sure, but after the acute phase passes, industrial production and carbon emissions are likely to ramp back up.

A global recession as a result of coronavirus shutdowns could also slow or stall the shift to clean energy. If capital markets lock up, it will become difficult for companies to secure financing for planned solar, wind and electric grid projects, and it could tank proposals for new projects; renewable energy projects around the world are already stumbling because of disruptions to the global supply chain. (A huge share of the world’s solar panels, wind turbines and lithium-ion batteries are produced in China.) Going forward, a shutdown of trade between China and the United States — for economic or political reasons — would also hit these projects hard. The clean energy analyst BloombergNEF has already downgraded its 2020 expectations for the solar, battery and electric-vehicle markets, signaling a slowdown in the clean energy transition when we urgently need to speed it up.

If oil prices stay low, that could be bad news for the climate, too. Falling demand has converged with skittish investors spooked by the pandemic and with an oil price and production war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Cheaper energy often leads consumers to use it less efficiently. Low prices could help depress electric-vehicle sales and make people less inclined toward projects like retrofitting homes and offices to save energy.

Coronavirus is bad for the climate even on the most macro levels. Lockdowns and social distancing have slowed climate research around the world or ground it to a halt. NASA is on mandatory telework. Research flights to the Arctic have been stopped, and fieldwork everywhere is being canceled. No one knows how much climate data will never be collected as a result, or when research might be able to start up again.

Gatherings of world leaders to address the climate crisis also have been delayed or canceled, and the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow planned for November could be next, meaning that the pandemic will very likely slow already sluggish international action. This could derail climate talks at a time when, under the Paris Agreement, countries are supposed to announce new pledges to reduce emissions. Such a derailment would make it even more likely that countries would blow past warming-limit goals. Going forward, public attention is likely to be diverted from the climate by ballooning fears over health and finances, and climate activism that depends on large public protests is being forced indoors and online.

There is a world in which stimulus measures could outweigh short-term impacts on energy and emissions, driving emissions up over the long term. This is what happened in China after the 2008 global economic crisis. Already, China is indicating that it will relax environmental supervision of companies to stimulate its economy in response to coronavirus shutdowns, which means that astonishing 25 percent cut in carbon emissions could evaporate, followed by even more emissions than before.

In the United States, we could see similarly shortsighted recovery packages aiming to ramp up the economy to pre-pandemic levels that double down on soaring carbon emissions. So far, the American government’s aid legislation has failed to address clean energy or the climate. The $2 trillion stimulus bill passed by Congress this week, the largest fiscal stimulus package in modern American history, includes direct payments to individuals, expanded and extended unemployment benefits, and $500 billion in loans to bail out affected industries. It does not include relief for renewables, such as crucial tax credit extensions for solar and wind.

This isn’t likely to be the last stimulus. Already, there is talk of the next phase of economic relief, and climate and clean energy advocates are looking to future legislation that might aim to relieve specific industries.

The two biggest wild cards for climate going forward are how policymakers respond to the threat of a global recession and how the pandemic changes political will for climate action around the world. Prime Minister Andrej Babis of the Czech Republic has already said that the European Green Deal, a new policy package that commits European Union member states to zero emissions by 2050, should be set aside so that countries can focus on fighting the pandemic.

This week has seen a chilling shift in conservative rhetoric around the virus that echoes all-too-familiar patterns of climate denialism, suggesting that a more dangerous sort of transference is taking place. As the climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe wrote on Twitter, “The six stages of climate denial are: It’s not real. It’s not us. It’s not that bad. It’s too expensive to fix. Aha, here’s a great solution (that actually does nothing). And — oh no! Now it’s too late. You really should have warned us earlier.”


There is another world in which policymakers and politicians planning for economic recovery decide to make building a carbon-neutral society a priority. Because while the new reality could easily drain political will and funding from efforts to address the climate crisis, it could also inject a sense of urgency at a time when politicians are suddenly willing to spend vast sums of money. In this world, governments would create meaningful jobs in areas such as education, medical care, housing and clean energy, with an emphasis on “shovel-ready” projects that put people to work immediately.

The U.S. government, for example, could continue to provide jobs as needed — the program would expand during recession and contract when the economy recovered and people could find work elsewhere. As Kate Aronoff writes in The New Republic, “One possible benefit to such a program is that it could provide an alternative to low-paid work bound up in carbon-intensive supply chains like those at McDonald’s and Walmart — currently the only employment on offer in many communities around the country.” This approach would address the climate crisis with the urgency it demands while also addressing the immediate needs of workers who will be laid off or have hours reduced because of shutdowns.

Rather than seeing the clean energy transition stall, such an approach could jump-start it, while also stimulating the economy. Governments drive more than 70 percent of global energy investments, and recovery plans could shift those investments as well as include new large-scale investments to turbocharge the development, deployment and integration of clean energy technologies. As Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, recently pointed out, the drop in oil prices also offers an opportunity for countries around the world to lower or remove subsidies for fossil fuel consumption, which disproportionally line the pockets of wealthy individuals and corporations with money that could go to education, health care or clean energy projects.

There are, of course, more radical policy interventions that could improve the health of the planet, our communities and our lives. Adopting a 32-hour workweek in the United States could lower emissions and vastly improve the quality of American life. It’s unlikely we will see a four-day workweek anytime soon, but the profound disruptions of the pandemic provide a rare opportunity, even in the midst of great suffering, for rewiring our sense of what is possible in American society. Maybe the rupture caused by “shelter in place” orders provides a glimpse of what work is “essential” to society — care work, education and food distribution. Maybe it offers a glimpse, distorted though it may be, of what life might be like if we all went to work a little less.

A best-case outcome might include a rethinking of the social contract that helps protect and provide for the most vulnerable members of society at a time of increasing risk. We need to ask: What does a government owe to its people? The climate crisis has already demonstrated that the way our societies and economies are organized is unsustainable on a planet of finite resources. And as people face increasing and unevenly distributed climate risk, it is reasonable to wonder what sort of support we can expect from our government. When your community is in crisis, how will your government respond? The pandemic is a gut-wrenching reality check.

The crushing blows of the coronavirus pandemic, like those of the climate crisis, will be felt hardest by our most vulnerable populations — the poor, the elderly, the homeless, the stateless, the incarcerated, and the precariously employed — while international corporations driven by the logics of profit and endless growth to seek new markets, cheap labor, and what the sociologist Jason Moore has called “cheap nature,” thereby connecting the world and helping create the conditions for crisis, will most likely remain relatively protected.

The new coronavirus spread through the activity of global markets, and it remains to be seen whether we can respond to this crisis without relying on and reinforcing the same market logics that got us into this mess. Rather, to face the profound challenges of pandemics — of which this coronavirus will not be the last — as well as the threat of climate change, to survive and even flourish on this interconnected planet, we have to learn to subordinate the needs of the market to our own needs.

It is tempting to say that humans are a pox on the Earth. That where we recede, nature rebounds. When images of dolphins and swans supposedly appearing in newly clear Venice canals popped up on social media, it was easy to believe (though it was not entirely true) that the virus had forced people indoors and “nature” had recovered in our absence. This is the wrong climate lesson to take from the pandemic.

Humans are part of nature, not separate from it, and human activity that hurts the environment also hurts us. In China, just two months of reduced pollution is likely to have saved the lives of 4,000 children under the age of 5 and 73,000 adults over the age of 70, writes Marshall Burke, an assistant professor in Stanford’s earth system science department. Perhaps the real question is not whether the virus is “good” or “bad” for climate, or whether rich people will take fewer airplane flights, but whether we can create a functioning economy that supports people without threatening life on Earth, including our own. SOURCE

A Unique Glimpse at the Lives We’re Saving

 

Chaos, scrambling in the U.S. oil patch as prices plummet

The global economic crisis caused by coronavirus has devastated the oil industry in the U.S., which pumps more crude than any other country

In this photo from Thursday, an oil rig lights up the horizon on the outskirts of Midland, Texas, after a late sunset.

NEW YORK — In Montana, a father and son running a small oil business are cutting their salaries in half. In New Mexico, an oil truck driver who supports his family just went a week without pay. And in Alaska, lawmakers have had to dip into the state’s savings as oil revenue dries up.

The global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the oil industry in the U.S., which pumps more crude than any other country. In the first quarter, the price of U.S. crude fell harder than at any point in history, plunging 66% to around $20 a barrel.

A generation ago, a drop in oil prices would have largely been celebrated in the U.S., translating into cheaper gas for consumers. But today, those depressed prices carry negative economic implications, particularly in states that have become dependent on oil to keep their budgets balanced and residents employed.

“It’s just a nightmare down here,” said Lee Levinson, owner of LPD Energy, an oil and gas producer in Tulsa, Okla. “Should these low oil prices last for any substantial period of time, it’s going to be hard for anyone to survive.”

Crude prices recovered some ground, trading at around $28 a barrel Friday, after a week in which President Donald Trump tweeted that he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia will end an oil war and dramatically cut production.

On Friday, he met with oil executives, but there were no announcements, and prices remain well below what most U.S. producers need to stay afloat.

Among the latest casualties is Whiting Petroleum, an oil producer in the Bakken shale formation with about 500 employees that filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday. Schlumberger, one of the largest oilfield services companies, slashed its capital spending by 30% and is expecting to cut staff and pay in North America. And Halliburton, another major oilfield services provider, furloughed 3,500 of its Houston employees, ordering workers into a one-week-on, one-week-off schedule.

“You will see a tremendous loss of jobs in this industry,” said Patrick Montalban, owner of Montalban Oil and Gas, based in Montana, who along with his son is slashing his salary in half and plans to cut the his remaining employees’ salaries by 25% and end their health insurance benefits.

The impact is far-reaching. In Alaska, lawmakers recently passed a budget that sharply draws down a savings account that had been built up over the years when oil prices were higher. In New Mexico, where a third of the state’s revenue comes from petroleum, the governor slashed infrastructure spending and will likely cut more in a special legislative session.

In Texas, which produces about 40% of the country’s oil and employs more than 361,000 people, the picture is especially bleak. Three weeks ago, Bobby Whitacre, vice president of Impala Transport in Plano, Texas, was looking to hire a well site supervisor for $200 a day with paid time off. Now he’s had to lay off many of his workers.

“It’s dead. It’s dead as can be,” he said. MORE


RELATED:

The Earth Is Telling Us We Must Rethink Our Growth Society

Why COVID-19 previews a larger crash. What we must do to save ourselves.

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In two centuries, human population has spiked seven-fold and consumption by 100 times. ‘The Earth will have its revenge,’ warns noted UBC systems ecologist William Rees, co-inventor of the ecological footprint concept. Photo by Joseph Stevenson via Flickr/Creative Commons.

As the pandemic builds, most people, led by government officials and policy wonks, perceive the threat solely in terms of human health and its impact on the national economy. Consistent with the prevailing vision, mainstream media call almost exclusively on physicians and epidemiologists, financiers and economists to assess the consequences of the viral outbreak.

Fair enough — rampant disease and looming recession are genuine immediate concerns; society has to cope with them.

That said, we must see and respond to the more important reality.

However horrific the COVID-19 pandemic may seem, it is merely one symptom of gross human ecological dysfunction. The prospect of economic implosion is directly connected. The overarching reality is that the human enterprise is in a state of overshoot.

We are using nature’s goods and life-support services faster than ecosystems can regenerate. There are simply too many people consuming too much stuff. Even at current global average levels of consumption (about a third of the Canadian average) the human population far exceeds the long-term carrying capacity of Earth. We’d need almost five Earth-like planets to support just the present world population indefinitely at Canadian average material standards. Gaian theory tells us that life continuously creates the conditions necessary for life. Yet humanity has gone rogue, rapidly destroying those conditions.

When will the media call on systems ecologists to explain what’s really going on? If they did, we might learn the following:

That the current pandemic is an inevitable consequence of human populations everywhere expanding into the habitats of other species with which we have had little previous contact (H. sapiens is the most invasive of “invasive species”).

That the pandemic results from sometimes desperately impoverished people eating bushmeat, the flesh of wild species carrying potentially dangerous pathogens.

That contagious disease is readily propagated because of densification and urbanization — think Wuhan or New York — but particularly (as we may soon see) because of the severe overcrowding of vulnerable people in the burgeoning slums and barrios of the developing world.

That the coronavirus thrives because three billion people still lack basic hand-washing facilities and more than four billion lack adequate sanitation services.

A population ecologist might even dare explain that, even when it comes to human numbers, whatever goes up must come down.

None of this is visible through our current economic lens that assumes a perpetually growing, globalized market economy.

Prevailing myth notwithstanding, nothing in nature can grow forever.

When, under especially favourable conditions any species’ population balloons, it is always deflated by one or several forms of negative feedback — disease, inadequate habitat, self-pollution, food shortages, resource scarcity, conflict over what’s left (war), etc. All of these various countervailing forces are triggered by excess population itself.

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Human-set fires in the Amazon: The current pandemic is an inevitable consequence of human populations everywhere expanding into the habitats of other species with which we have had little previous contact. Photo: Pixabay Creative Commons.

True, in simple ecosystems certain consuming species may exhibit regular cycles of uncontrolled expansion. We sometimes refer to these outbreaks as “plagues” — think swarms of locusts or rodents.

However, the plague phase of the cycle invariably ends in collapse as negative feedback once again gains the upper hand.

Bottom line? There are no exceptions to the first law of plague dynamics: the unconstrained expansion of any species’ population invariably destroys the conditions that enabled the expansion, thus triggering collapse.

This unprecedented outbreak is attributable to H. sapiens’ technological ingenuity, e.g., modern medicine and especially the use of fossil fuels. (The latter enabled the continuous increases in food production and provided access to all the other resources needed to expand the human enterprise.)

The problem is that Earth is a finite planet, on which the seven-fold increase in human numbers, vastly augmented by a 100-fold increase in consumption, is systematically destroying prospects for continued civilized existence. Over-harvesting is depleting non-renewable resources; land degradation, pollution, and global warming are destroying entire ecosystems; biophysical life support functions are beginning to fail.

With increasing real scarcity, growing extraction costs, and burgeoning human demand, the prices for non-renewable metal and mineral resources have been rising for 20 years (from historic lows at the turn of the century). Meanwhile, petroleum may have peaked in 2018 signalling the pending implosion of the oil industry (abetted by falling demand and prices resulting from the COVID-19 recession).

These are all signs of resurgent negative feedback. The explosion of human consumption is beginning to resemble the plague phase of what may turn out to be a one-off human population cycle. If we don’t manage a controlled contraction, chaotic collapse is inevitable.

Which brings us back to society’s restricted focus on COVID-19 and the economy.

Listen to the news, to politicians and pundits in this time of crisis. You will hear virtually no reference to climate change (remember climate change?), wildfires, biodiversity loss, ocean pollution, sea level rise, tropical deforestation, land/soil degradation, or human expansion into wildlands.

Nor is there a hint of understanding that these trends are connected to each other and to the pandemic.

Discussion in the mainstream focusses doggedly on defeating COVID-19, facilitating recovery, restoring growth and otherwise getting back to normal. After all, as Gregory Bateson has written, “That is the paradigm: Treat the symptom to make the world safe for the pathology.”

Let that sink in: “Normal” is the pathology.

But returning to “normal” guarantees a repeat performance. There will be other pandemics, potentially worse than COVID-19. (Unless, of course, some other form of negative feedback gets to us first — as noted, there is no shortage of potential candidates.)

Consider the present pandemic as yellow flagging for what nature may yet have in store. Earth will have its revenge. Unless, to avoid full-on negative feedback, we stand back and re-focus. This means consciously overriding humans’ natural myopia, thinking generations ahead and abandoning our perpetual growth narrative.

Surely the time has come to reconsider what seems to have become a “self-terminating experiment with industrialism.”

To save itself, society must adopt an eco-centric lens. This would enable us to see the human enterprise as a fully dependent subsystem of the ecosphere. We need to script a new cultural narrative consistent with this vision. We must reduce the human ecological footprint to eliminate overshoot — below is a curve that really needs flattening.

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A different curve to flatten: Let’s start with a 50-per-cent reduction in energy and material throughput, as implicit in the 2015 Paris climate accord. Provided by William Rees.

Our cultural reset cannot end there. As medical supplies and equipment run out and supply chains stretch or break, people everywhere are becoming conscious of hazards associated with today’s increasingly unsustainable entanglement of nations.

We will have much to celebrate if community self-reliance, resilience and stability are once again valued more than interdependence, efficiency and growth. Specialization, globalization and just-in-time trade in vital commodities have gone too far. COVID-19 has shown that future security may well reside more in local economic diversity. For one thing, countries under stress may begin hoarding vital commodities for domestic use. (As if on cue, on April 3, Donald Trump, president of Canada’s biggest trading partner, requested 3M to suspend exports of badly-needed respirator face masks to Canada and Latin America.) Surely we need permanent policies for the re-localization of vital economic activities through a strategic approach to import displacement.

We might also build on the better side of human nature as ironically invigorated by our collective war on COVID-19. In many places, society’s fear of disease has been leavened by a revived sense of community, solidarity, compassion, and mutual aid. Recognition that disease strikes the impoverished hardest and that the pandemic threatens to widen the income gap has renewed calls for a return to more progressive taxation and implementation of a national minimum wage.

The emergency also draws attention to the importance of the informal care economy — child rearing and elder care are often voluntary and historically subsidize our paid economy. And what about renewed public investment worldwide in girls’ education, women’s health and family planning? Certainly individual actions are not enough. We are in a collective crisis that demands collective solutions.

To those still committed to the pre-COVID-19 perpetual-growth-through-technology paradigm, economic contraction equates to unmitigated catastrophe. We can give them no hope but to accept a new reality.

Like it or not, we are at the end of growth. The pandemic will certainly induce a recession and possibly a global depression, likely reducing Gross World Product by a quarter.

There are good reasons to think that there can be no “recovery” to pre-COVID “normal” even if we were foolish enough to try. Ours has been a debt-leveraged economy. Thousands of marginal firms will be bankrupted; some will be bought up by others with deeper pockets (further concentrating wealth) but most will disappear; millions of people will be left unemployed, possibly impoverished without ongoing public support.

The oil patch is particularly hard hit. Canada’s tar sands producers who need $40 dollars a barrel to survive are being offered one tenth that, less than the price of a mug of beer. Meanwhile, oil production may have peaked and older fields upon which the world still depends are declining at a rate of six per cent per year.

This heralds a future crisis: GWP and energy consumption have historically increased in lock-step; industrial economies depend utterly on abundant cheap energy. After the current short-term demand-drop surplus dries up, it will be years (if ever) before there is adequate new supply to replicate pre-pandemic levels of global economic activity — and there are no adequate ”green’”substitutes. Much of the economy will have to be rebuilt to size in ways that reflect this emergent reality.

And herein lies the great opportunity to salvage global civilization.

Clearing skies and cleaner waters should inspire hopeful ingenuity. Indeed, if we wish to thrive on a finite planet, we have little choice but to see the COVID-19 pandemic as preview and our response as dress rehearsal for the bigger play. Again, the challenge is to engineer a safe, smooth, controlled contraction of the human enterprise. Surely it is within our collective imagination to socially construct a system of globally networked but self-reliant national economies that better serve the needs of a smaller human family.

The ultimate goal of economic planning everywhere must now turn to ensuring that humanity can thrive indefinitely and more equitably within the biophysical means of nature.  SOURCE