[ UPDATE : For increased clarity, I have bolded a little update. ]
After I posted my report on Peak Oil :-
I e-mailed Aubrey Meyer asking for his opinion. Within the hour my telephone start vibrating annoyingly, and it was Aubrey Meyer himself on the line, the architect of the Contraction and Convergence framework, with his usual, welcome, non-stop advice and guidance about where the policymakers are at, or not. I’d only anticipated an e-mail in reply, so it was a veritable honour to get a voice-to-voice. He’s normally too busy dispatching political stupidity to call little old me.
He counselled that I should make it clear to my readership that Peak Oil is bringing an inevitable Contraction to both Economy and Energy, but that it is not upon us yet. Peak Oil Contraction is still some way away.
He also made a very relevant point about Convergence that he suggested I share. A little background from me first, though.
Many Climate Change campaigners are framing Climate Change in the language of “those poor people in the Global South, how terrible for them”. The facts are that Climate Change is hitting the poorest first, and hardest. And we need to take an ethical position on that.
But this patronising language of International Development is so clearly an emotional tactic. Some Economists even adopt this language, even that trusted adviser to the UK Government, Nicholas Stern. Some of these apparently caring, benevolent Economists are however hiding an agenda – opening up new markets in Africa to industries in the OECD.
Let’s be clear. I’m not insinuating that Nicholas Stern is a fake philanthropist. What I’m trying to point out is that emotional arguments about ethics and values are not going to get an international agreement on Climate Safety.
Aubrey Meyer makes the point that, if we do the numbers properly, that the only rational approach to Climate Change and Peak Oil is to create a framework of equitable use of the remaining Carbon Energy.
This is not an irrational position – it’s based on pure numbers.
Nicholas Stern is advocating continuing Development for the Global South on the basis of ethical reasoning. Some may guffaw and chide, but I won’t hear a word said against him as he clearly has a heart for the poor. Trouble is, international deals are not built on piety.
I support green, indigenously resourced (as far as possible) development of the poorest nations on Earth so that I can continue to have a cup of Fair Trade tea in the morning. I can’t grow tea in my back yard and so I need the continuation of globalised trade.
And for Development, the Developing need access to Energy. For now that means Carbon Energy. And the most obvious way to cut the cake is fair shares. Fair Energy. Energy Justice.
You can’t write me off as a Communist or a wishy-washy failed Revolutionary Socialist or a do-gooder meddle-minded hippy thinker. My ethics are not based on guilt, but rationality.
Without some re-balancing of resource distribution, trading systems will collapse, and then we’ll lose more than teabags. Global security relies on sharing resources, and I’d rather live in a safe World, thank you.