think science and markets drive policy? look at climate change

william rees

Bill Rees invented the ecological footprint concept, and in the dozen ensuing years has become one of Canada's leading public intellectuals.

Now, Rees wants to see science and markets drive climate policy, yet he's bumping up against climate denial and market hypocrisy (via themark).

Both Canada and the US are science-based and market-based societies, right? Says Rees, "if you accept this conventional wisdom, you’d be wrong on both counts."

“Public policy on climate at both the federal and provincial levels bears almost no relation to current climate science”, and “ecological dysfunction represents gross market failure.” We’re “wallowing in deep denial.”

Says Rees:

"If we truly believed in efficient markets, we would formally recognize climate change, systemic pollution and the depletion of essential ecosystems (to say nothing of their impact on human health and well-being) as unaccounted market "externalities." These problems (which are really symptoms of human ecological dysfunction) represent gross market failure. This means the market prices of manufactured goods and many services do not reflect the true social costs of production. The resultant under-pricing leads to over-consumption which, in turn, accelerates ecological decay, including climate change."

Oh, but:

"Humans are inherently short-sighted and self-interested. We deny the truth and rational long-term policies, preferring to satisfy immediate selfish wants. In short, our current unsustainable state is an inevitable consequence of humanity’s innate tendency to hypocrisy and self-delusion. There can be no solution to the sustainability conundrum until we face this inconvenient truth."

Wot he said...

Published by Ken on July 9th, 2009 tagged Climate Change, Systems Thinking

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