Only Radical is Realistic Now: from the New Hot or Cool Institute's Think Piece Series

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Only Radical is Realistic Now: International Carbon Rationing in a Climate Emergency
2022-05-12

This first installation in the Hot or Cool Think Piece series shows that climate disruption and biodiversity collapse are but two symptoms of the environmental crisis caused by ever-growing resource consumption and it urges on radical solutions for immediate reduction.

Despite the unprecedented threat that global warming undoubtedly poses to the increasing environmental crisis, climate change is often wrongly referred to as the main warn sign of the Earth systems disruption. Instead of focusing on symptoms relief, attention should be given to the overexploitation of the Earth. As multiple environmental emergencies push our natural systems beyond critical tipping points, it’s time to call for new policy instruments addressing the ever-growing level of resource consumption. While wealthy countries register consumption levels well over their fair share, leading to social inequalities and disorders, there is no evidence of the actions needed to achieve ecological sustainability.

This think piece from Joachim H. Spangenberg is the first of a series published by Hot or Cool Institute, which informs public discussion with emerging perspectives on the sustainability transition.

In this highly warning paper, Spangenberg illustrates how the current prioritization of climate crisis solutions would have direct threatening effects on other planetary boundaries. It also demonstrates how, at the current pace, there is no room for conflicts of interest undermining joint efforts and that only radical measures are now realistic to combat social, environmental, and institutional challenges. Population growth and global production and consumption will demand a “level of resource use that is 2–6 times above the sustainable level”.

To achieve immediate reduction of consumption levels, this paper suggests sufficiency policies and carbon rationing measures to cap resource inputs at a national level, while allowing global allocation mechanisms based on justice and equity. This work dives into the concept of international carbon rationing and explores how our future would look like with such a global socio-economic transformation, much needed to avoid the collapse of the modern human civilization.

Discover the think piece here

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