The Sustainability Transition

to a New Green Economy

The Coming Ecological Crisis

Posted by Maggie Winslow on June 9, 2009

As our economy reels from the financial crisis, we can look back to the 1980s and 1990s and wonder why the government and banks and other financial institutions let this happen. How could we have been so blind or so willing to ignore the risks we were taking? In 2060, when the world is experiencing climate chaos, people will look back on the current decade and wonder why we did so little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The science is clear. We are playing roulette with one of nature’s most important services, climate stability. Why the complacency?

1. There are entrenched interests who stand to lose out financially with green house gas regulation.
2. It is hard to turn around an economy that has been growing based on fossil fuels for many decades.
3. Every country wants other countries to invest in controlling GHGs. A classic free-rider problem. The biggest in history.
4. Short-term thinking. Companies think about short-term profits, politicians think about reelection. Individuals are concerned about the immediate needs of their families. Therefore it is hard to motivate changes that have some costs now but tremendous benefits in the future.

Yet change we must if we plan to continue to inhabit this Earth as we have been for the past century.


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