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_ No Global Industry Is Profitable If Natural Capital Is Accounted For
_ I've visited-as-a-tourist or lived in 25 separate countries, on 46 occasions
_ Influence: mobile and more - WARC's James Aitchison
_ Message from Drought Crisis: Don't Put All Your Eggs in America's Breadbasket
_Is Sustainable Living Possible, When there are Too Many People for Too Few Jobs?
_ DM's 6 factors considered before any purchase
_ Interview with Tariq Ali, 20 Mar.2011
_ Ban Ki-moon: World's economic model is 'environmental suicide'
_ Do We Have Iran's Ahmadinejad All Wrong?
_ Lerner/Tikkun: an Israel/Palestine Peace Treaty; & State of the Spirit, 2011
_ George Monbiot predicts next 7 years, in Dec.2003; & California Models the World, LA-Times, in Jan.2004
_ Auckland Harbour Bridge Walk-cycle-way, NZ
_ Coal-Mine Rescue is not like Fire-fighting
_ Eyres, FT: Cultivate Growth Industry
_ Brayne: Drop in BBCs climate coverage
_ Renewables provide 73% of NZs total electricity
_ NZs Windflow 500kW Turbine: Success!
_ 150 earthquakes in Canterbury NZ
_ Christchurch NZ Earthquake News: RadioNZ
_ Toxic legacy: US Marines Fallujah assault
_ Suicides outnumber road deaths - NZ
_ Small Modular Nuclear Reactors? TOD
_ D & Bs Life in 32 Tweets, Ds Style
_ Totnes-UKs Energy Descent Action Plan
_ ShapeNZ Mining Survey in May 2010
_ Wake-UpCall: Worlds Bigges tOilJunkie; Nelder
_ Protests against new powers for NZ Govt agencies
_ Links for 14-Apr to 16-Apr 2010
_ URLs: furless animal found in Sichuan; Hominid Species Discovery Shows Transition Between Apes, Humans
_ Carbon-Free Britain planned by Center for Alternative Technology (CAT)
Friday, 26 April 2013
NoIndustProfitIfNatCapPaid
From:_ JStuartD1 To:_ steadystaters@googlegroups.com
Subject:_ No Global Industry Is Profitable If Natural Capital Is Accounted For
Date:_ Wed, 24 Apr 2013 15:41 -0400 (EDT) (25/04/13 07:41 NZST)
Concerned,
 
We must have all known this intuitively. 
Now we have some data to ponder.
 
In the coming decades as we try to keep the prosperity myth alive (or has it become a religion?) as well as everyone fed and employed (an impossibility) regrettably we will be forced to continue mining natural capital at increasing rates.
That is until none is left.
Sigh
Jack
 

None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use

At: http://grist.org/business-technology/none-of-the-worlds-top-industries-would-be-profitable-if-they-paid-for-the-natural-capital-they-use/

The notion of “externalities” has become familiar in environmental circles. It refers to costs imposed by businesses that are not paid for by those businesses. For instance, industrial processes can put pollutants in the air that increase public health costs, but the public, not the polluting businesses, picks up the tab. In this way, businesses privatize profits and public-ize costs.

While the notion is incredibly useful, especially in folding ecological concerns into economics, I’ve always had my reservations about it. Environmentalists these days love speaking in the language of economics — it makes them sound Serious — but I worry that wrapping this notion in a bloodless technical term tends to have a narcotizing effect. It brings to mind incrementalism: boost a few taxes here, tighten a regulation there, and the industrial juggernaut can keep right on chugging. However, if we take the idea seriously, not just as an accounting phenomenon but as a deep description of current human practices, its implications are positively revolutionary.

To see what I mean, check out a recent report [80 page PDF] done by environmental consultancy Trucost on behalf of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) program sponsored by United Nations Environmental Program.
TEEB asked Trucost to tally up the total “unpriced natural capital” consumed by the world’s top industrial sectors. (“Natural capital” refers to ecological materials and services like, say, clean water or a stable atmosphere; “unpriced” means that businesses don’t pay to consume them.)

It’s a huge task; obviously, doing it required a specific methodology that built in a series of assumptions. (Plenty of details in the report.) But it serves as an important signpost pointing the way to the truth about externalities.

Here’s how those costs break down:

The majority of unpriced natural capital costs are from greenhouse gas emissions (38%), followed by water use (25%), land use (24%), air pollution (7%), land and water pollution (5%), and waste (1%).

So how much is that costing us? Trucost’s headline results are fairly stunning.

First, the total unpriced natural capital consumed by the more than 1,000 “global primary production and primary processing region-sectors” amounts to $7.3 trillion a year — 13 percent of 2009 global GDP.

(A “region-sector” is a particular industry in a particular region — say, wheat farming in East Asia.)

Second, surprising no one, coal is the enemy of the human race. Trucost compiled rankings, both of the top environmental impacts and of the top industrial culprits.

Here are the top five biggest environmental impacts and the region-sectors responsible for them:

UNEP: top five environmental impactsUNEPClick to embiggen.

The biggest single environmental cost? Greenhouse gases from coal burning in China. The fifth biggest? Greenhouse gases from coal burning in North America. (This also shows what an unholy nightmare deforestation in South America is.)

Now, here are the top five industrial sectors ranked by total ecological damages imposed:

UNEP: top five industrial sectors by impactUNEPClick to embiggen.

It’s coal again! This time North American coal is up at number three.

Trucost’s third big finding is the coup de grace. Of the top 20 region-sectors ranked by environmental impacts, none would be profitable if environmental costs were fully integrated. Ponder that for a moment. None of the world’s top industrial sectors would be profitable if they were paying their full freight. None!

That amounts to an entire global industrial system built on sleight of hand. As legendary environmentalist Paul Hawken put it, “We are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.”

This gets back to what I was saying at the top. The notion of “externalities” is so technical, such an economist’s term. Got a few unfortunate side effects, so just move some numbers from Column A to Column B, right?

But the UNEP report makes clear that what’s going on today is more than a few accounting oversights here and there. The distance between today’s industrial systems and truly sustainable industrial systems — systems that do not spend down stored natural capital but instead integrate into current energy and material flows — is not one of degree, but one of kind. What we need is not just better accounting, it is a new global industrial system, a new way of providing for human wellbeing, a new way of relating to our planet. We need a revolution.

 



Posted by davd at 10:34 NZD
Updated: Monday, 29 April 2013 14:25 NZD
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