Nations have to be wealthy enough to make the required long term investments in

Nations have to be wealthy enough to make the

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Nations have to be wealthy enough to make the required long-term investments in R&D . In any policy choice between economic growth and more conservative, restricted lifestyles, go for growth and wealth creation supporting a culture of innovation every time. Collapse fails – makes warming worse. Dickinson 8 - Pete, “Will the downturn save the planet? – A green new deal?” Socialist Alternative, 12- 24, On the face of it, these figures seem to indicate that there is, indeed, a possibility of serious reductions in greenhouse gasses due to the economic crisis, even if it is significantly less than the extreme example of Russia. A closer look, however, reveals that it is unlikely that an economic downturn will significantly mitigate climate change effects, particularly in the medium or long term, for several reasons. Firstly, Crutzen, in addition to predicting falling emissions due to the crisis, also made the point that the downturn could result in less being spent on research , which could make global warming worse, a fear that is already being justified. Latest figures show that global investment by firms in renewable technology has slumped, even before the current deepening of the crisis, falling 24% from the second to the third quarter of this year, from $5.8 billion to $4.4 billion (Financial Times, November 11). The markets clearly see no future in green technology in the short term, either, as various indices of share values in the sector have fallen from between 50-80% over the past twelve months. Market forces are now working strongly against renewables, with the fall in the price of oil undermining profitability projections and the credit crunch cutting off access to funding for new projects. In California, a leading renewables firm, Ausra, had plans to raise money to develop a promising new type of solar energy. This is called solar thermal power, that uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays to heat water to use in turbines to generate electricity, which could turn out
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to be far cheaper than solar panels. Now, sources of finance have dried up. T he second reason not to expect the crisis to solve global warming is that production in the Soviet Union was heavily biased to highly polluting "smokestack" industries , whereas in the G7 countries, which account for most of world production, output is much more oriented to services, IT and consumer goods. For this reason, any downturn will result in much smaller reductions in emissions , since these sectors are very significantly less energy intensive. Thirdly, the scale of a downturn is extremely unlikely to approach that of the Soviet catastrophe . To get a comparison, output in the USA in the Great Depression fell by about one third – significantly less in some countries such as Britain. On a world scale, the economy in the 1930s fell by a fraction of that in the Soviet Union in the 1990s . Also, while a slump rather than a recession may still happen today, the lessons that have been learnt by the bourgeoisie since mean
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