A New Landscape for Tomorrow A View of a More Sustainable Society
The Green Economic Environment would be more powerful than cap-and-trade and far more comprehensive, addressing a range of issues in addition to climate change: nonrenewable resources, energy, toxic contaminant...
The GEE would restructure an economy rather than just deal with the symptoms of problems. Being revenue-neutral, the solution would essentially come free to taxpayer.
Here is a peek at the New Green Society...
See also Book II of the Waves of the Future Series
Under Henderson's structural strategy (the GEE), non-green consumer goods would become more expensive. But people would have more money to spend from paying less income and retail tax as a result of the revenue neutrality of the system.
Compared to today, services and green goods would become more affordable than unenvironmental practices and products. As a result, consumption would naturally shift to them. The Green Economic Environment would result in industries shifting their production to cleaner alternatives because of a greater demand from consumers.
Massive gains would be made for global warming and the environment. CO2 and other carbon emissions would drop from a shift to natural, clean, and renewable energies (solar, wind power, etc.), the presence of toxic chemicals in the environment would progressively decrease, domestic and industrial waste would go down, etc.
In the long term, society would progressively become greener and move towards sustainability.
The conservation of non-renewable resources is an important aspect of a structural strategy as most minerals will eventually become scarce and follow the same pattern as oil: prices increasing sharply as reserves drop. In a green economic environment, the use of non-renewable resources (metals, etc.) would go down as a result of raw materials facing revenue-neutral levies.
Industry would respond by decreasing sizes and substituting metals with alternatives such as carbon fibers, bioplastics, cellulose products, fiberglass, etc. Cars would get smaller and use a lot of bio-components. Gradually, urban transportation would shift to Single-Passenger electric Vehicles (SPVs). Public transit would become the focus of government attention.
Overall, the above would be achieved generally without new regulations, increases in total taxes, or the need for new sources of funding, subsidies, etc.
The approach is fully scalable, i.e. governments would be able to make changes as slowly or as quickly as desired.
The GEE offers a significant means to help save the environment, save the earth.
Following is a closer look at different aspects of the new landscape.
The Global Warming Aspect
Currently, consumers pay lower gasoline prices. In a green economic environment, they would spend more for fossil energy. However, they would also pay less income/retail tax in compensation (see revenue-neutral taxation).
The higher prices would promote both conservation and a shift to clean and renewable energy. The situation would be similar for other fossil fuels.
Reducing greenhouse gases under such a system would simply involve governments selecting appropriate pricing levels. There would not be the need for a new emission credit trading system and the initial and ongoing management costs it entails on the part of both, governments and the industry.
Under the cap-and-trade GHG target system, the price of fossil fuels would also go up as the sector would have to buy huge amounts of emission credits and pass the cost of those on to consumers. Because the GEE is simpler and more efficient, its overall cost to society (management costs and price increases) should be lower and benefits, greater.
In the long run, the causes of climatic change would be addressed, and global warming's effects on the planet would diminish.
The GEE would make toxic contaminants more expensive. As the system is revenue-neutral, consumers would not come up short overall (see revenue-neutral eco-taxation).
The approach would result in a reduction of harmful pollutants everywhere, not only as domestic goods (cleaners, solvents, pesticides, etc.) but also as inputs in manufacturing. A lot of the products made today may not be toxic but are made with chemicals harmful to the environment.
Greener alternatives (environment-friendly products, technologies, and industrial processes) would gradually develop in response to greater consumer demand.
The Conservation of Metals and Non-Renewable Resources
Metals are depletable and will eventually run out, just like oil. In most applications, they are not substitutable for renewable alternatives as fossil fuels are. As such, conserving them is important.
A structural strategy would increase the price of metals as inputs in the manufacturing industry in order to foster conservational designs, downsizing, and substitution.
Consumer products containing significant amounts of metals would see their price increase, but that would be offset by the lower income and retail tax rates resulting from the revenue-neutral system.
Forests and fisheries are overexploited and being harmed, sometimes permanently. We found out in the summer of 2008 that a shift to renewable energy can produce undesirable effects, for example, pressure on food prices. We also saw that the production of biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, etc.) can have a low net efficiency and not be that friendly towards the environment.
The GEE would help us prevent deforestation and the destruction of valuable heritage by creating disincentives that would reduce overexploitation. It would also help steer a clearer course through the new landscape of renewable energies.
Revenue-neutral taxation could be used to deter poor management practices in the renewable resource sector. The strategy would also help the best types of green energy (for example, those that are less carbon-intensive) to emerge and take over markets.
The Green Economic Environment would lead to significant changes in transportation.
Public transit would be improved. Car sizes would go down. Today's sedans would gradually give way to single-passenger electric vehicles (SPVs), and fossil-fuel consumption would decrease to very low levels within urban environments in conjunction with the development of smart grid technology.
As a result, cities would be much quieter, healthier, and safer. Traffic congestion would be reduced, air pollution and carbon emissions decreased, and resources conserved from smaller car sizes.