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This powerpoint presentation is a condensed outline of a lecture that I gave at Pace University during the Earth Day 2011 celebrations. I would be happy to respond to requests for further ...

This powerpoint presentation is a condensed outline of a lecture that I gave at Pace University during the Earth Day 2011 celebrations. I would be happy to respond to requests for further clarifications. I can be reached at: wp.karam@gmail.com.



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    The left forum The left forum Presentation Transcript

      A Failure
    • GhassanKaram
    • “To be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise”
      ECOLOGIST: (Leopold)
      • Leopold *Mill
      • Roegen *Malthus
      • Daly *Zizek
      • Naess *Harvey
      • Hardin *Foster
      • Bookchin *Wilson
      • Mumford *Marx
      • Ehrlich *Goodwin
      • Hansen *Lovelock
      • Diamond *Sagoff
      • Speth *Taintter
    • Total failure at all levels
      Deal with superficial only
      Emphasize symptoms
      Never go to the root
      Avoid rocking the boat
      (teach what is known to be false)
      • Net Primary Production
      • 3/9 Planetary boundaries have been breeched
      • Millennium Ecosystem assessment Study.
      • Lovelock /Hansen /Speth projections
      • Peak Oil
      • Fisheries
      • I=f(P,A,T)
      • Water Scarcity
      • Desertification
      • Ecological foot print
      Signs, concepts & indicators of ecological degradation
    • Solution is NOT in ecology itself.
      Apply principle of Specificity.
      Call for a radical change in structure that created the problem: CAPITALISM
      What to do?
    • What is it that we wish to sustain?
      Intergenerational equity
      Veil of Ignorance
      Pareto Optimality
      Free market cannot guarantee sustainability
      Allocations always favour the present
    • 2nd Law of Thermodynamics
      The more we do the less we have
      Substitutability vs Complimentarity
      Simplicity: Is it possible to revert to it?
      Entropy & Sustainability
    • Popularized by Daly
      Given rise to CASSE
      New Economics Foundation Tim Jackson
      New Economics Institute Goodwin
      Basic premise: Constant human population and constant physical output
      Steady State: A Possible Way Out
    • Competition and Tragedy of the Commons
      New Indulgances (Ex. BAU and organic)
      Greenwashing (Pretense: Climate Change)
      Three R’s (Is Recycling the only one compatable with perpetual growth?)
      Brown even wrote about a world with no need for new extracting activities lol.
      Capitalism, ecological crisis, economic and financial crisis.
      Critiques of Green Capitalism
    • Growth vs limits
      Could system be reformed ? (Not if the privileges of the global elite are maintained)
      Climate change is the product of a specific economic system and its negative effects fall primarily on those least responsible for the crisis.
      Critique cont.
    • Green Capitalist( Hawken, Brown, Cairncross, Lovin, Gore…)
      Belief to de-couple growth from carbon
      Efficiency leads to more and not less.
      De materialization is quite limited
      Green often creates new problems ( Cut the amazon to plant sugar cane for organic food stores and farm raised fish; certified wood)
      Technological solution
      • In Us energy intensity dropped but energy usage increased.
      • EV vs source for electricity
      • Priusvs Nickel
      • 60% of car pollution is in production
      • Clean Energy and base load
      Green Gone Wrong
    • Market based solutions have aggravated the problems:
      eco architecture
      bio fuels
      hybrid cars
      carbon offsets
      clean coal 
      Green Gone Wrong
    • Kyoto failed (Gr. & UK only 2 to meet target)
      Cap & Trade failed ( because of T. of Commons)
      Carbon Tax failed (They were kept too low)
      Can we decrease carbon foot print and use non conventional oil?
      Democrats and Republicans (RR, Bush Sr; Bush Jr ;Clinton and Obama oppose carbon taxes)
      Climate Change and Green Capitalists
      • His is an “unquestioned belief that the answers to every human dilemma and desire is a gizmo… the very attitude that gave us Global warming to begin with”
      • How about abolishing obscene excesses, a modicum of equitable distribution? How about asking whether we are of the same specie , members of the same family and citizens of the same community?
      • Is there a moral obligation to others?
      Gore ….
    • Daily consumption 200 million B. Equivalent
      Renewables represent 0.6%
      The above indicates that large cuts are required but not for Green Capitalists: Sternest 1% cost in UK and Krugman 1.1-3% for US. ( That does not make any sense)
      Stern targets 550ppm when Hansen speaks of 350ppm.
      550 ppm increase temp. by 3C (That’s where we were 3 million years ago)
      Green Capitalism vs Science
      • Green Capitalists are dreaming
      • View that Max. exploitation and saving the planet are compatible is a farce.
      • CEO’s max for shareholders and not the public good.
      • Green Capitalists have been trying for 30 years: Eco system is still collapsing
      • Their diagnosis is accurate but their prescription is wrong
      • Underestimate severity of eco crisis and overestimate de-materialization
      • They conveniently forget that consumerism is not dispensable.
      • This is a capitalist crisis. It is about mode of production and system architecture.
      • Capitalist system carries within it the seeds of its own destruction since growth is not sustainable.
      • Einstein:” Insanity is to do the same thing over and over againbutexpecta different outcome”
      • There is a crisis of capitalism that manifests itself in Econ. Finance and Ecological spheres.
      • Green Capitalism is for the Environment as long as it can profit from it.
      • Easterbrook: “What’s in it for me?”
      • Green Capitalism is the problem and so it cannot be the solution.
      • Capitalism cannot be reformed. (It cannot survive on a reduced level of intensity).
    • Capitalism is root cause, it is the historical roots; it is an infinite project in a finite world.
      “Only mad men and economists believe in infinite growth in a finite world.”
      Can we afford to wait for the revolution/transformation? No. That is why catastrophe IS the future if we keep our timid responses.
    • Speth:
      In the end we need to trigger a response that in historical terms will come to be seen as revolutionary. Only such a response is likely to avert huge and even catastrophic environmental losses.
      Continued II