Myself and one of my colleagues, David Pearce, have been discussing economics related to the environment. It became apparent quite quickly that the economic paradigm which exists is both the cause and solution to environmental degradation.
The economic theory of 'growth at all costs' is without a doubt vastly responsible for some of the greatest environmental issues facing the plant. I recently read an economic assessment by Clive Hamilton on the United States reticence to sign the Kyoto Protocol. The reason George W (who conincidentally is funded by Exxon) gave for not signing was that it would "have a negative economic impact, with layoffs of workers and price increases for consumers."
Hamilton concludes that given the Bush administrations assessment come 2012 if it signed the Protocol would it cost the US economy 1% in growth - not a recessional 1% but 1% of the budgeted 40% the economy would grow anyway. As he puts it, signing the Protocol would cost the US 4 months growth! The real question is, what does it cost the planet?
That said myself and Dave are of the belief that the economics which reign the world can also save it. Free market economics mean that the market dictates what it wants - if the market demands it wants low carbon products it will mean those with reticence will have to fall into line or go bankrupt (economic failure!).
Tell me what you think.......can the market facilitate change?