[diggers350] Downing Street petition on UKERC report

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at gn.apc.org
Wed Oct 28 10:08:22 GMT 2009

Hash: SHA1

On Tuesday 27 October 2009 10:58:47 Michael Macpherson wrote:
> If a petition like this could lead to a referendum then it could produce
> real change. As things are, it will be ignored by the powers that be.

I think not; you're looking at the process, not the reasoning behind it.

Right now the political economic system (and for that matter, the media in 
general) will not accept the issue of ecological limits to growth -- and 
unless they can internalise that idea then any referendum would be based upon 
a question that would be as misleading to the public as the politicians own 
theoretical internal dialogue today.

Getting Brown to reply to the UKERC report -- which was drafted by some of the 
best British academics on this issue -- forces him to either accept that there 
are limits to growth, or to bluff and spin the idea that we can "innovate" our 
way out of the problem. I believe that the latter of these two will be the 
option he will go for, which is precisely what we need him to do in order to 
demonstrate that, in the face of clear evidence, modern society and the 
economic principles on which it is based are meaningless -- and by implication 
don't represent the best interests of the public (which if anything would 
reinforce your call for more direct decision making).

The lead author of the report, Steve Sorrell, gave a presentation (only 1 MP 
present!!) at Westminster last night, and through the reserved academic tone, 
he left the room in no doubt that we face an economic catastrophe; peak oil 
affects not just transport, it's everything, especially the security of our 
present food supply. He made the point that things could have been less 
dramatic if the political world had been active on this much earlier, but that 
can't happen whilst the global political institutions (e.g. IEA) keep 
reinforcing the message of "business as usual" with their excessively 
optimistic forecasts (recently, to the point where their assumptions defy 
rational explanation). Getting Brown to respond on the content of the report 
forces the issue, because if he restates the "business as usual" position then 
evidentially he wrong, but if he accept there's a problem then by implication 
the house of cards must fall because peak oil is the end of "business as 
usual" (to even fudge the response would be significant, since that would 
represent doubt where, in terms of economic theory, none should exist).

In polarising these positions, between evident reality and the delusions of 
political theory, we can make the case as to why the political elite (of all 
parties) are not fit to make policy in relation to climate, or social need, 
etc. People have to understand that solving the resource and ecological limits 
on future society isn't a matter of altruism or green consumption, it's going 
to happen whether they like it or not because that's the way the universe 
operates; and so if we don't plan for drastic change then it will be enforced 
by an ecological crash in the human species ('Limits to Growth' coming true, 
right on cue -- http://www.csiro.au/files/files/plje.pdf). Its in giving up our 
present delusions of power and supremacy over the environment, and believing 
that somehow these limits don't apply to us, that people will find the 
motivation to see a different 'way of being'.

I agree with you that more public participation in national decision making is 
essential/necessary. But in the absence of any framework for discussion that 
recognises the real and highly disruptive influences that ecological limits 
will have on society in the near future (climate, energy supply, food 
production, water, population, etc.) any process would be as false and 
misleading as the present closed-off political dialogue -- and hence no better.


- -- 

"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burroughs, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see http://www.fraw.org.uk/ebo/

Read my message board, "Ecolonomics", at:

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
email - mobbsey at gn.apc.org
website - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/index.shtml

Version: GnuPG v2.0.9 (GNU/Linux)


More information about the Diggers350 mailing list