The Age of Global Sustainability

At the occasion of an Institute of Science & Technology Lecture at Raiffeisen Hall in Gugging, Austria Prof. Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University reasoned the historic culmination to the Carbon Crunch. Economic output has multiplied over 240 times since the steam engine had been invented 200 years ago, while world population had more than 6-folded, whereas the speed of output growth more than doubled in the last 100 years. To some extent John Maynard Keynes already foresaw such pick-up of pace in economic growth in the early 1930s, but the uneven spread and antidromic participation in world product output of different regions had desensitized leading nations’ awareness of planetary boundaries. With the Asian region reversing its declining share in world trade over the first 150 years into unprecedented increase of contribution to world output for the last 50 years, no politician wanted to take stewardship of preventing our civilization to hit planetary boundaries.
Due to unevenly spread economic prosperity overconsuming industrial and service economies didn’t want to forgo anything while developing and emerging economies claimed for proportionate allocation of shares in the planet’s capacities to them. So although 25 years ago global cooperation for climate actions had been institutionalized by Climate Summits in Stockholm 1992, very little progress could be assessed 20 years later at the Rio+20 summit, chaired by my personal acquaintance Hon. Sha Zukang, long term high Chinese UN diplomat and head of Economic and Social Affairs there from 2007 to 2012. Since 1995 he had been Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs and Deputy Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations. And he still advises his government on security issues, which I interpret as testimonial for Chinese politics to consider Sustainability a security issue. Security in terms of social peace, energy security and sufficient resource availability, right after nutrition. And interestingly enough, Chinese representatives showing interest for our Carbon Circularity model by physical catalytic Carbon Capture for re-Use Technology are all in charge of such kind of National Security issues in the first place inclusive of cultural foreign relations.
This of course is a totally different approach than Western democratic governance, hallmarked by entrenched interests often reinforced by private capture trying to secure itself via nationalistic neoliberalism and anti-expert populism. As Gregor Gysi calls it, an economy system built by corporate groups and banks relying for many years on opacity of uneven wealth distribution keeping differences in social issues growing even further by one-way Free Trade Agreements, dependence on Gene Manipulated emblements, agricultural dumping and exploitation of southern hemisphere fish stocks. But digitalization brought transparency and the attempt to oblige emerging and developing economies to indebt themselves for “Green Technologies” by indulgence based PPP models stealing from the poor to give to the rich was parried. The so called 3rd world demurred that first world should pay to compensate for prior excess use of planetary capacities. It was the do-gooder Green business models of some European countries provoking President Trump, backed by fossil “More of the Same” interest groups, to refuse the Paris COP21 Agreement.
Sustainability must strip its price premiums. Which it could in Carbon Circular economies. Instead we are made pay for burning Terrestrial Carbon for scanty energy recovery worth 10-20% of destroyed Carbon’s re-Use value. Because for every tonne CO₂ we buy in 2.5 barrel oil or 500m³ Gas fossil Carbon replenishment. Just because closed loop value adding chain partners are not brave enough to defy fossil stakeholder interests vested in their current Carbon related businesses. Yet it remains to be seen, how recent visions released by the EU commission will overcome its CO₂ neutrality deadlock on Terrestrial Carbon squandering.

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