Climate Conscious
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Climate Conscious

Climate Solutions from Ministry for the Future: The Market

Real-world ideas stitched into story

  1. Government
  2. Market
  3. Military
  4. Collective
  1. …resulting in the proliferation of technologies for reducing greenhouse gases.

Manipulating the Market

Kim Stanley Robinson leverages the efficiency of the market in proliferating climate solutions, with manipulation from governments to internalize greenhouse gas emissions. Central to his approach is extending the “stick”-based approaches popular today (e.g., carbon taxes, cap-and-trade) to include rewards as well.

Modern Monetary Theory

What’s the idea? Since the market incentivizes companies to reduce labor costs, governments must also create jobs to achieve full employment in a society. One approach, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), seeks to guarantee jobs and print money (i.e., quantitative easing) to pay for them. Critics claim this will cause inflation, but proponents say this is only the case at full employment and point to the US’ response to the 2008 financial crisis as a successful example of quantitative easing.

Blockchain Fiat Currency

What’s the idea? Making national currencies digital using blockchain would increase transparency, making transaction history visible to all. This could allow governments to crack down on tax havens, increasing their tax revenue to pay for social and environmental programs.

Carbon Quantitative Easing

What’s the idea? Combining MMT and blockchain fiat currency, carbon quantitative easing would issue money in exchange for drawdown of greenhouse gases or avoidance of emissions. Its new currency would be issued with a guaranteed price floor, underwritten by a consortium of central banks, and tradable for other fiat currencies.

Carbon Taxes

What’s the idea? Putting a price on greenhouse gases seeks to internalize emissions within the scope of the market. One method is to tax it, incentivizing companies to reduce emissions.

Temporal Discounting

What’s the idea? Temporal discounting assesses the relative value of investing resources in future vs. current generations. It is used in budgeting to adjust the value of a social investment with a return sometime in the future. Understanding relative temporal weighting can help evaluate the economics of climate change mitigation.

Debt Relief

What’s the idea? Since the 1950s international creditors have engaged in debt-trap diplomacy: intentionally extending excessive credit to debtor countries, which cannot be repaid, so that debtors need to make concessions to the creditors. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and, more recently, China have been accused of this practice. Developing countries have been forced to extract natural resources and privatize government services for the benefit of creditors, exacerbating climate change. Debt relief forgives some or all of their debts.

Technology for Reducing Greenhouse Gases

With the right incentives in place, The Ministry almost magically sees a proliferation of technologies and practices for reducing global greenhouse gas concentrations. Many of these technologies exist today, some see boosts in efficiency, and others are envisioned reclamations of the past.

Carbon-Free Energy

What’s the idea? Reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations requires stemming anthropogenic emissions. Switching electricity production from fossil fuels to carbon-free sources and electrifying other systems will reduce these emissions.

Regenerative Agriculture

What’s the idea? A quarter of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions comes from agriculture and land use. Traditional industrial agriculture focuses on maximizing yield of monocultures through tilling and application of fertilizers and pesticides, which degrade soils and cause them to release carbon. Regenerative agriculture seeks to nurture soil health and biodiversity, converting land from a carbon source to a carbon sink.

Direct Air Capture

What’s the idea? Direct air capture seeks to extract CO₂ from the atmosphere. The extracted carbon may be stored in bedrock or sold to third-party organizations as a manufacturing input.

Airships

What’s the idea? Aviation accounts for 2–5% of anthropogenic carbon emissions, but it could increase to 25% by 2050 as air travel increases and other sectors decarbonize more easily. Carbon-free aviation would reduce the impact of a sector that is responsible for significant emissions in high-income countries and difficult to decarbonize.

  1. Government
  2. Market
  3. Military
  4. Collective

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Steve Daniels

I serve a vision for the more-than-human world grounded in interdependence. You can subscribe to my newsletter at https://stevedaniels.space