Our statistical analysis shows that, to avoid a climate catastrophe, the future must be radically different from the past. Climate stabilization requires a fundamental disruption of hydrocarbon energy, production and transportation infrastructures, a massive upsetting of vested interests in fossil-fuel energy and industry, and large-scale public investment—and all this should be done sooner than later.
Hence, if past performance is relevant for future outcomes, our results should put to bed the complacency concerning the possibility of “green growth.” There is no decoupling of growth and consumption-based CO2 emissions – “green growth” is a chimera.
Enno Schröder and Servaas Storm, Why “Green Growth” Is an Illusion, Institute for New Economic Thinking, Dec 5, 2018.
The evidence is accumulating that rapid economic growth is becoming a thing of the past, a brief moment in human history made possible by fossil fuels. Our true earth-system energy income is the daily flow of solar power. Briefly, we were able to jack up that energy income by using fossil fuels. That time is ending. The use of fossil fuels will decline, either because we choose to slow climate change and species extinctions or because continuing to overtax the earth-system’s current life producing processes slams the world-economy against the wall of massive climate and ecosystem paybacks.
For most of human history, jobs were tied to the solar energy flows. In the affluent nations of our current world, most of our jobs are tied to fossil fuel energy income. As fossil fuel use declines, our machine worlds (the one at work and the one at home) will have to shrink. Our work lives will change and change again. Slowly or rapidly, but inevitably, a transformation of the world of work and everything else about our lives is visible on the horizon.