Shopping for Good (Boston Review Books)

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Some countries even achieved it. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. Make a tax-deductible donation today. Printing Note: For best printing results try turning on any options your web browser's print dialog makes available for printing backgrounds and background graphics. A Political and Literary Forum.

Menu Search Donate Shop Join. Boston Review Books. Boston Review Books Greening the Global Economy Greening the economy is not only possible but necessary: global economic growth depends on it. Robert Pollin. David Keith. James J. John Bowen. Tom Barry. Join us to support engaged discussion on critical issues. Get Started. According to the report, a transition to a zero-carbon society will not come about quickly and therefore some form of carbon dioxide removal will be necessary. BECCS entails growing biofuels, such as miscanthus and eucalyptus, and burning them in a power station where emissions can be caught and sequestered underground.


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By comparison, AR is low-tech: just plant trees. The scale IPCC imagines for carbon dioxide removal is massive. AR could take up to 0. BECCS remains an untested technology, so modelers do not foresee widespread implementation until the second half of the century, if at all.

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Indeed, some scientists doubt that the net effect of biofuel plantations would be to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, since such tracts of land would likely have to displace forests which consume carbon dioxide. By contrast, there are many possible benefits if AR is carried out by planting native flora because global biodiversity would be buttressed at the same time.

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage may not be as reckless as solar geo-engineering a controversy the IPCC sidesteps in this report , but it is still an extreme measure. It would surely spell disaster if not accompanied by a sharp decrease in demand for meat and ethanol-powered cars. Biofuels may eventually require 25 to 46 percent of arable land by Such a land grab would imperil the livelihoods of the poorest people, who would lose their land and face rising food prices.

Indeed, there is evidence that such destruction is already happening. And it is far from clear whether it is possible to safely sequester carbon dioxide underground, especially on a massive scale; while some studies have shown a low risk of asphyxiation due to leakage, groundwater contamination remains a concern. The IPCC cites estimates that only about 70 percent of stored carbon dioxide would be retained after 10, years. Twenty-first century planetary management is not so dissimilar from classical economics as it was studied two centuries ago. The second major issue that the report raises is the curtailment of economic growth.

In this way twenty-first century planetary management is not so dissimilar from classical economics as it was studied two centuries ago. It seems likely that the end of the petroleum era, scheduled by the IPCC to occur in the latter half of this century, would inaugurate a new era of natural limits.

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The end of the petroleum era, scheduled by the IPCC to occur in the latter half of this century, may inaugurate a new era of natural limits to economic growth. Such a decoupling would be thin gruel to the capitalist, but it is more likely the environmentalist who will be left hungry. More importantly, the IPCC emphasizes that governments should mandate stricter efficiency standards for appliances, building codes, and vehicles. The IPCC knows what its enemies look like. Yet, given its focus on the problem of livestock, it is surprising that the IPCC stops short of outlining how exactly demand for animal products could be constrained.

If one extends its command-and-control logic, then rationing or bans would look to be the most effective tools. Like afforestation and reforestation, restrictions on meat and dairy could be put into effect immediately, smoothing the transition to a post-carbon society. Only a few months after World War I had started, the German government set up the Eltzbacher Commission to investigate its agricultural position. Farmers, disgruntled with price controls, secretly fed grain to animals, whose flesh garnered lucrative prices on the black market.

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Technocracy was thus defeated by consumers unwilling to change their tastes and recalcitrant farmers pursuing personal profit over national food security. The Germans courted disaster because they did not want to eat dal. No matter how clever their plans, technocrats—whether IPCC scientists or the German General Staff—tend to fail because they cannot rally a mass movement to support their goals. It is necessary for grassroots leftist movements to take up technocratic blueprints, give them a radical democratic foundation, and realize them through mass mobilization.

Kriegssozialismus needs real socialists. Change will come. The question is, will humanity confront it with a plan and share the burden—or will the purse and the sword decide? Unfortunately, too often leftist thinkers claim that only a few tweaks or perhaps new technology will suffice to deal with the crescendo of environmental crises. The IPCC report makes clear that this is not enough. Ways of life will be upset; some workers must move into new industries, and yes, eat less meat.

No matter what happens, truly wrenching, painful change will come. The question is, will humanity confront it with a plan and share the burden, or will the purse and the sword decide? Climate change, like a world war, is no ordinary crisis; the stakes are as high as can be. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review.

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