Why the Economy Is the Key to a Post-carbon World
A new economic model might be the answer to building a post-carbon world
To be honest, I have been a little skeptical about us humans surviving the sixth mass extinction on Earth and adopting an economic model that is fair to all.
Then, I stumbled upon an author, one hopeful activist, who came up with a real, actionable plan for how to fix things. Idealist? Yes. Delusional? No. Jeremy Rifkin is an American economist, social theorist, and activist. He’s highly influential across the globe, having served as an advisor to many world leaders and published several bestsellers. Right now, he’s helping both China and the European Union transition into a green economy.
His latest book, The Green New Deal: Why the Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028, and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life on Earth, is what got me all excited. Its pages are a wake-up call for Americans. After predicting the collapse of the current fossil-fuel regime, he formulates a new economic model and guides readers in the construction of a post-carbon world. This article is based on a lecture he held in October 2019 at Sciences Po, an internationally acclaimed research university in Paris.
Climate change is real
Our species experienced a historical turning point in September 2019, as millions of Gen Zers from over 130 countries took to the streets demanding action against climate change. This is what Rifkin dubbed the first planetary revolt against the human race.
Climate change is, simply put, changes in the Earth’s hydrological cycles, i.e. water cycles. Water creates life, and our ecosystems evolved over a span of millions of years solely based on this cycle.
Our actions are placing too much of a burden on the Earth’s water cycles, and its ecosystems cannot adjust quickly. Given that ours is a watery planet, we’re in big trouble. The implications of climate change are very straightforward: for every 1˚C rise in average global temperature, 7% more water evaporates from the ground. As a result, more precipitation concentrates in the clouds, increasing the incidence of natural disasters.