3E Intelligence

For all the political rhetoric about the urgency to fight climate change, political and economic elites still do not seem to understand the full ramifications of our global crisis. This is illustrated once more by the revolt of six “new” EU member states (Latvia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Estonia) against the Commission’s decision to slash these countries’ carbon emission allowances for companies.

The pending court case(s?) before the European Court of Justice could jeopardise what is generally known as the “crown jewel” of EU climate change policy: the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.

At a time when a debate is raging in the US Congress about the best potential instruments to fight global warming, the challenge of the six could even have serious implications for long-term global climate change policies.

What these developments clearly prove though is that for political elites, economic competitiveness (as traditionally defined) is still more of a concern than the negative effects of changing weather patterns (such as the floods in the UK and the heat wave deaths in Eastern Europe). And this is not surprising: in the end the personal future of most politicians will depend more on growing GDP and rising employment figures than on the number of prevented climate disasters. And by the way, the clean-up operations after the floods or the forest fires are likely even to raise GDP for the countries involved.

This all leads us to one conclusion: as long as this “autistic” view of competitiveness will keep guiding our decision makers, we will stay on road for long-term economic collapse. What we urgently need is a new debate on eco-competitiveness and a new instrument to measure a society’s well-being if we are to solve the main challenges of our 21st century.

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