Jørgen Randers comments on “Industrial civilisation headed for irreversible collapse”

Jørgen Randers comments on “Industrial civilisation headed for irreversible collapse”
 This article is important because the authors have been able to express this (well-known and oft-repeated) worry about the future of (fossil based and growth obsessed) industrial society, in a way which has caught the attention of a large mainstream audience. I assume this is the effect of the funding source being NASA (much like The Limits to Growth became extra famous because it was written at MIT).

The article is useful because it makes the point that collapse does not necessarily (or historically) occur because of environmental unsustainability. Collapse also occurs because of unsustainable inequality. Furthermore, the article makes the point that excessive inequity allows the rich to continue business as usual well beyond the point where the (poor) majority experiences the beginning of environmental collapse.

The third alternative is what is predicted in the 2052 – book. Here the fossil energy users of the world live well until the accumulated climate gas emissions from their energy use create serious problems for all of humanity in the second half of the 21st century. No action is taken now, although the climate damage is already simple to see for those who want to, and is being increasingly felt by selected poor.

In order to avoid this sad future, the rich world economy must be restructured now. But restructuring of the economy will only find political support if it can be done without growing unemployment. And that gets me to my main point: The only way to avoid rising unemployment in a situation of low economic growth is through redistribution – taking from the rich and giving to the poor.