Renewables won’t be enough to save us from climate change

This was the opinion developed in The Guardian this summer and I have to say that I agree. Even if 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 – or even sooner – seems like the ultimate climate change goal, it will not be enough as the whole Capitalistic system needs an overhaul. 

The article contains this powerful statement:

The climate movement made an enormous mistake. We focused all our attention on fossil fuels, when we should have been pointing to something much deeper: the basic logic of our economic operating system. After all, we’re only using fossil fuels in the first place to fuel the broader imperative of GDP growth.

The root problem is the fact that our economic system demands ever-increasing levels of extraction, production and consumption. Our politicians tell us that we need to keep the global economy growing at more than 3% each year – the minimum necessary for large firms to make aggregate profits. That means every 20 years we need to double the size of the global economy.

But you can’t grow something indefinitely on a finite planet. The conclusion is a great food for thought :

Our focus on fossil fuels has lulled us into thinking we can continue with the status quo so long as we switch to clean energy, but this is a dangerously simplistic assumption. If we want to stave off the coming crisis, we need to confront its underlying cause.

Fossil fuels consumption is just a symptom of a much bigger issue. We focus on GDP but we do not care at all about Human Health, our Biodiversity and our Ecosystems or about Happiness. What if the GDP was complemented or even replaced by a Social Progress Index as I was writing about a few months ago ?

We need to make everyone on this planet have access to food, clean water, air and energy, shelter, health and education. This is a tall order. We might be getting there, but we are taking too much time and we might never achieve these goals if the worst of climate change occurs.

Now, please remember, I am not saying that Capitalism as a whole has to go either. No, I am Management professional working on his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). I am merely pointing to the fact that the current iteration of our economic model is wrong and has to change. Socialism or Marxism will not work either. They did not in the past over large countries and long period of times, so I don’t see them work in the future.

Perhaps the solution is to get back to the old version of Capitalism, when Henri Ford was paying his employees decent wages so that they could afford the product they were manufacturing. We need to find a way to make it work. But how can we find a way to make this work for all ? Not just for a fragment of the population but for every single human being on all continents.

I am so glad I am reading this while finishing my MBA in Sustainable Business and Energy at Presidio Graduate School. It means that I can help change our common civilization for the common good and thus, have an impact.

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