Greenhouse gas emissions are global. It matters not where they are produced and who produced them, but that they are produced in excess, and have global impacts. We have an imaginary and minuscule remaining budget for adding to global greenhouse gases. Except that our political parties are ruled by Global Energy Oligarchs, and plainly deny the global nature of impacts.
Included in our implicatory denial scope are the the public statements of the political elite in Australia. We still have climate-morons still leading parties, such Mr Anthony Albanese, and Mr Scott Morrison. The Australian Labor Party still wishes Coal to have longer term future, to be brought about by the sheer force of saying it. To bad they cannot do the same for a renewable energy future. We have the terminal climate idiocy of the NSW state government. These are typical examples of our only good for good-times political parties. The good-times parties are over.
As for the Australian Liberal Party, it appointed Angus Taylor, a known ideological clown and coal disciple, as the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, as if the fossil-fool burning party can just keep on roaring away. Australian government is in full duplicity mode as it promotes the growth of already huge amounts of exported emissions, and fails on domestic emissions. Everyone is pretending that economic growth parties can be allowed to continue, by the lack of specific condemnation.
All and any nation states engaging in practice and policies of “economic growth”, of whatever location or history, or current GDP, wealth of capital, conditions of ill-health or unhappiness, are engaged in increasing the rate of destroying our biosphere.
That isn’t all. The biosphere is being destroyed by the continued operation of all the existing, energy using capital machinery. Fossil fuels are the main component of global production of nearly everything today. Here is the magic mystical mixer equation of economists -
Production = Fn (Capital, Labour, Raw Materials (Land)).
Raw Materials usually come from Land, and are mostly subject to depletion. For Agriculture and soil, the energy is solar, but the depletion is soil minerals. For fossil fuels, the energy is geological eras of stored solar energy, of which we have already depleted the cheapest to extract.
Of course the energy in fossil fuels is also an extraction from land, or since now we are so oil desperate, from offshore drilling platforms. So perhaps energy, from coal was first considered to be land raw material. Now it is realized that fossil fuel energy can be only used one-way. Entropy law for energy use says any reversibility is much more energy costly than that proportion of energy that was captured that did any useful work. Total energy is always conserved, but available useful energy always decreases.
Energy is an entirely different sort of beast to matter, and economics ought to take it as an independent factor of production. Matter also has a tendency to dissipation and inability to recover original high ore quality and form. So the production function for many important uses of civilisation is practically irreversible. And this is why it matters for the overall sustainability problem.
Sadly, most economists for a long time have completely left out the energy part, but assumed that Labour has an important role, probably to make the workforce feel better, even as they were demoted. Energy is the actually main ingredient. Without energy flow, the raw materials won’t be grown, extracted or transported, and the capital cannot do work, or even get made, and the outputs of labour are very limited. If you can remember this, you have just broken the national economic secrecy act.
The economic production function leaves out energy costs of transportation of Raw Materials, Capital, Labour, and transmitted or combustible mineral Energy. There is also the energy cost of redistribution of the produced goods and services. With just raw materials, capital and labour, its more of cell model of a single factory, only magic happened at the boundaries, and inside as well. But it did represent what could be captured in government statistics.
Surplus energy created our current civilisation as it is today. Clearly the size of national economies, and their colossal energy consumption, after a few centuries of exponential growth, is the main factor in the ongoing demise of our biosphere.
Labour without energy (food) are corpses, and Machines without energy are sculptures. For some reason, apparently a lack of basic physics understanding, or by assuming energy could be always taken for granted, most of the economist priesthood since the industrial revolution began, have left the role of energy out of their simple explanation of production. They also left entropy out. Things that are complicated, like complex biosphere life and happiness, are not in the abstractions of economic models. These two facts alone should indicate that all political economic statements and promises made by governments are supported by the most incomplete bunkam economic theories which are not even a half decent approximation of the real world. Economists seem more concerned with the statistics of money, for taxation, trade, marketing and spending, all very important to governments. The real world is for exploitation.
See this article by Professor Steve Keen, who is trying to make economic models more real — https://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/99764/labour-without-energy-corpse-capital-without-energy-sculpture-steve-keen-applies. Unfortunately, the image links on this no longer work. Steve keen appears to be doing his academic best to come up with a solid evidenced presentation of the truth about economics, energy and global heating.
Problem that the truths we need to see are not actually what governments have been waiting for. Like any complex perceptive filtering organism, Governments and Economists assume the known conditions and growth functions up to the present day, as a starting point, and posit functions of linear change, and are only concerned with the income totals, or GDP.
The IPPC Integrated Assessment Models — IAM, did a botch of a job.The picture below underestimates the crazy complex non-linear interactive multi-component global biosphere systems. That is just some of known feedbacks selected from that exist and are connected. The southern hemisphere “polar vortex” isn’t even shown. There exists no simple function of global GDP as a function of average global temperature rise. Economics has no business in this field at all.
This is all about changes in oceans, cryosphere, land, and biological life, and living things die, with exposures to extremes outside of their evolved reliable adapted ranges of temperature, rainfall, water acidity and climate. Evolution doesn’t work fast enough for adaptions to abrupt global heating, especially among longer lived multicellular creatures like ourselves.
Even tipping points seems a wrong term, because of all the identified parts that are changing now, and will keep changing, even if atmosphere greenhouse gases stopped increasing today. At 1.5 to 2 degrees C, rates of impact changes will become much faster.
So far, at the end of the short, but glorious Anthropocene, global GDP is the yearly production rate of our accumulated Capital and Labour, including the yearly cost of its growth and maintenance.
So our current energy consumption is proportional to all the GDP spending we have done in the past to build up our current infrastructure, population and culture. This is supported by actual evidence, and physical system modelling by Garrett. See "The Garrett Relation -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrett_relation.
Our all-time accumulated Global GDP is proportional to energy consumption, by our accumulated technology, which is directly linked to the accelerating rate of decline of our biosphere. Once we takeover a biosphere region or natural systems flow, we keep increasing its exploitation until it dies.
Hence our biosphere is being destroyed by the current combined sizes of global national economies, of which the main source of growth and continued economic support is energy supply. It seems to me that a rapid decline in energy supplied to nation states, which will starve their fossil fuel hungry capital, is the only major practical available recourse for achieving future biosphere stability and recovery, in the diminishing available time-frames left. National governments understand this, that energy flow is what they function on, and this is why they are dead keen on increasing energy supply, or trading it, by all possible unfair, devious lies, and environmentally destructive means, up to and including war. This is why they lie so loudly to each other, to their citizens, and to the world, about steps they need to take for global heating mitigation. Governments reward those who lie best, at making facts and conjecture support ongoing exploitation.
A lot of people and institutions know something about these situational predicaments, and are still hoping for a miracle, as if they believe our systems can turnaround without fundamental change, or maybe are just waiting for a final economic collapse from biosphere or energy supply collapse, the effects of which the elites will somehow be protected.
We have made for ourselves various myths of "green growth" and "better environment care wealth threshold". This is something like the original leaving of energy out from the economic production equation. Absolute energy dependence is something national governments do not want anybody to see, even themselves. It must be a matter of national security. Meanwhile we allow all the normal economic growth and expansion games to continue, and our banks bring the costs of new investment money to an all time low, to help keep the whole system running.
We have all acquiesced with or performed in the global dirty accounting tricks of moving jobs and manufacture to Asia, and pushed Asian growth to a maximum rate, to keep providing our elites of civilisation with growth in goods and services to which they are accustomed. Moral grace cannot be bought with a fig leaf of weak adherence to our non-binding, self selected targets of domestic emissions reductions. Immunity from global heating impacts, cannot be bought with indulgences of exported greenhouse gas emissions.
Our Australian Climate Council, is all too professional and polite to put our hypocrisy and delusions most plainly.
The requirements for global emissions reductions, our global climate emergency, our disappearing carbon budget, require deep and ongoing cuts to civilisation fossil fuel energy consumption, from right now. This is an absolute emergency, regardless of economic or political consequences later. Failure to heed brings on rapidly even worse consequences, as further global heating incitement promises collapse of civilisation and major mass extinctions. Extinction means permanent lose lose for all.
Our climate problems are apparent now by just the few degrees increase in average and peak temperatures. Drought in many parts of NSW, with added heating, is already turning the state into desert. This does not worry the states foreign coal and gas capitalists the very least little bit. Such a situation allows them to say, "Well, this country is already being ruined for everything else, but it is still great for mining now!", no matter how much the contributions of mining add to further ruin elsewhere. Mining corporations already know that mining is in most cases, a "last productive use" of a region, by its destructiveness. Now expand the denial of impacts to include our planets biosphere.
Global heating also doesn't matter to energy oligarchs, even as extinctions also include their own class, because the rich cannot imagine such a thing, as wealth brings psychic immunity, and has always bought an immunity from perceiving suffering of the rest of us. Meanwhile too many of us are numbed by the cheapest pleasure hits of civilisation, that do not satisfy, but induce growing psychic depression. Economic growth doesn't buy paradise, it slowly but exponentially destroys it.
The bulk of what we all should know by now, after more 3 decades of exposure to explicit global heating awareness, should make this call very clear. "No new coal mines, or gas fracking, anywhere", is required, at the very least. Otherwise, consider Australia and the rest of our global biosphere, as run by the current self-centred masters of their universe, are already write offs for a very painful future loss. Our fossil-fool oligarchs , economic growth maniacs all, need to be denied, derided, and deposed now, by any and all means possible.
Biosphere restorative action, if it is to be managed at all, to avoid immolation from our species fuse-lit global heating blast, will very soon enough depend on the rapid and permanent disabling of nearly all fossil fuel power technology, corporations and institutions. We have had growth for far too many exponential doubling periods, since the beginning of industrial coal growth of 3 centuries ago. Now our species and societies of the industrial world are fully dependent on non-renewable fossil fuels. This is our coming "bottleneck" of survival after too much growth. Some supposedly rational participants already think we have a very low chance, near zero chance, of avoiding our own extinction.
To start making a living, instead of dead biosphere, we have to start turning off nearly all of machines, for most of the time. Which fossil fuel using machines in our own nation state will we need to turn off first?