Coincidence and Luck

I’m sitting at home suffering from what my mother has snidely referred to as ‘man-flu’, and so haven’t found the time to do a review of Marxism 2008. In the meanwhile I highly recommend Monbiot’s article from last week in which he muses on an alternative to the established principle of contraction and convergence as a solution to climate change, and his article from Tuesday on fishing and the global food crisis . What surprised me about the articles is the frank and disappointed acknowledgment that the decline in global oil supplies and the global economic downturn may accomplish more through coincidence and luck than activists have managed in over 20 years of campaigning.  He also exposes the false dichotomies that have come to characterise Gordon Brown’s statements on the matter:

Last week the prime minister’s advisers admitted to the Guardian that his renewable energy plans were “on the margins” of what people will tolerate. But these fears are based on a false assumption: that there is a cheap alternative to a green economy. Last week New Scientist reported a survey of oil industry experts, which found that most of them believe global oil supplies will peak by 2010. If they are right, the game is up. A report published by the US Department of Energy in 2005 argued that unless the world begins a crash programme of replacements 10 or 20 years before oil peaks, a crisis “unlike any yet faced by modern industrial society” is unavoidable.

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