This cut and paste from the layout of the Herald opinion pages yesterday indicates the tragedy of our times: Increasingly existential threat to society correctly identified by economics editor Ross Gittins from dangerous climate change and yet the Herald editorial proper commitment to growth of the energy sector with
"in a state that expects rapid population growth, and corresponding economic growth, in coming decades"
Talk about disjunction. It's the tragedy of our times and maybe of all time. About 12 years left if you read Gittins closely , and factor in the best scientific advice coming through the mass media, indeed breaking through the market based ecnomic filters.
A market failure which is the tragedy of our time, and probabaly of 4 billion plus years of evolutionary ecology:
Earlier today we wrote here:
Rally for public power assets in public hands
This is a real mind bending situation - no doubt about it. One thing capitalism does well is creative destruction of a sunset sector tearing down assets ..... no doubt about that. But in the case of restructure of a major major major profitable natural monopoly I strongly suspect the capitalist free market model won't work to achieve this renewable energy outcome that all thinking people unionists, and greenies want.
That is a high employing solar and wind and geothermal and wave etc energy sector.
The reason is the ability to make money from dirty energy via abundant coal is just too easy with huge momentum right now. Why close a big coal power station with all that huge private profit? There just is no financial incentive, rather there is every incentive to just run it into the ground cutting safety, and higher mechanisation and less jobs and ramp up production until it busts in terms of equipment or government carbon regulation.
That's a recipe for ultra production of dirty energy. What we need is a hypothecated restructure where the profit centres in the business, namely the retail side (not the negative high maintenance poles and wires which they couldn't sell if they tried), into those renewable energy agendas. That is publicly subsidised transfer and restructure. That's far better done with public control just as JK Galbraith exercised control during the crisis of WW2 for the US Govt (winning two US presidential medals of freedom as a giant of the political economy).
This sell off agenda ever since 1997 has been a naked attempt at hiving off the profitable section to big business mates just like profitable 380 bus route with a private heavy rail link to Bondi, socialise the costs by closing the 380 down, and all the other bus routes cross funded by the 380.
To think such big big big restructure can follow without sufficient ownership control is just a little too wishful given corporate ability to cook political policy with money politics - they will use that dough to sabotage and delay the scale down and replacement - saying China and India aren't doing it so we ought not, we will have blackouts, we need more not less power for the growing economy etc. In other words no renewable energy switch at all. All that grubby money, all that cheap coal.
A public interest centrally planned economy is in fact a good model for big big big public interest problems, where the profit motive is way secondary like a time of war itself. Ross Gittins/Herald article yesterday when you read it carefully is shocking. And totally contrary to the editorial same day in direction really. He is saying we have about 12 years until the end of the world and the human project way over 450 ppb of CO2 equivalents. In short we are fucked without massive massive intervention into the market and that means walking away from corporate hegemonic control of our economy with its growth fetish.
In other words fuck off private equity etc corporations including in the energy sector, we prefer the planet and a future to the money. And yes it does mean loss of easy short term funding. It is a big sacrifice with alot less lolly money. But it is also crtiical to a sustainable future for a publicly driven economic restructure. Even the Catholic Bishop of Parramatta seems to have added his voice. Incredible really.