It is the conflict between growth and climate policy that is the elephant in the room and that is blocking climate action. Without growth, you and I would have less money in your wallet. It is thus political suicide to implement a climate policy that makes a real difference.
There is an elephant in the room that no responsible politician wants to address: the conflict between growth and climate policy.
Growth presupposes consumption. The most common and most harmful consumption is that where finite resources are used in production, and where the product poisons our air, soil and water, and also contributes to global warming.
Such consumption must, of course, cease, or at least be greatly reduced. But still, we do not see any sharp action from politicians. Why? Because such measures are not popular with a majority of voters. So in a way you can say that the lack of action from the decision-makers is yours and mine.
Unpopular measures have been implemented before such as smoking bans in restaurants that are in effect today in many countries.
The lesson one can learn from previous unpopular measures is that the resistance was strong but short-lived. Above all, it was before the implementation that the waves went high, afterwards they ebbed out quickly.
Today, we see these measures as completely natural and necessary. It has become a habit to not smoke in a restaurant.
Politicians know about this. Unpopular measures are implemented at the beginning of a term of office. Before the next election campaign, hardly anyone remembers what all the fuss was about.
Still, they do not want to limit car traffic, raise petrol prices to a level that corresponds to the real cost of the climate. The same with air travel, meat-eating and consumption of goods. Deforestation and bottom trawling, they even do not pretend to know.
What is so special about this time, that our elected representatives do not dare to implement the changes required for us to achieve the climate goals?
It is growth that is blocking climate action. Without the growth of 2-3 percent every year, you and I would get less money in our wallets. It is political suicide to implement a climate policy that really makes a difference.
Therefore, the action programs stop at talks instead of taking action. But let’s say that we should see the right action from politicians. Growth, as it stands today, would be hampered.
There is a lot of talk about green, sustainable growth. I believe that, but it is not yet in place to make a real difference, as little as the technical solutions are not in place. We do not have time to wait for them. We have to cut back today. Now!
“Take from the rich and give to the poor”
These changes would primarily affect people who are already in financial difficulties. But it is easy to fix. “Take from the rich and give to the poor” That is, a tax reform that gives 90 percent of the population more money in the wallet and is paid for by increased taxes on capital.
It should pay to work for real.
But just as today’s politicians do not dare to implement the necessary climate measures, nor do they dare to challenge the financial market and its lobby organizations.
That is why a new kind of politician is needed, politicians who dare to challenge and who dare to implement unpopular decisions.