当前的经济问题不利于绿色投资, 但根据杰克·科普利博士的说法, Assistant Professor in 国际 Political Economy in our School of Government 而且 国际 Affairs, the economic obstacles to effective decarbonisation are more deeply entrenched.
The financial shock the UK has recently suffered is of course bad for green investment. The Rishi Sunak-led government is also likely to use this crisis to push for 进一步削减公共开支 这将排除一个真正具有变革性的绿色议程.
然而，在我的 近期学术论文 I argue that the economic obstacles to effective decarbonisation are more deeply entrenched than that. We can’t simply blame a bad government budget or even the global market turmoil sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
而不是, the global economy has been trapped in a state of relative stagnation in rates of growth, 生产力, investment 而且 profitability since at least the 2008 financial crisis, with some scholars even dating the onset of the malaise to the 1970s. 这种所谓的 世俗的停滞 是全球趋势，但英国的表现呢 特别差.
This represents a colossal problem for mainstream visions of decarbonisation. 大多数州, business groups 而且 international organisations believe it must be driven by a tremendous global boom in private investment in renewable energy 而且 sustainable infrastructure – estimates range from US$4.4万亿年 一年直到2050年为止 $9.2万亿年 一年.
在这个视图中, the role of states is to shepherd investors away from “brown” fossil fuel assets 而且 towards green ones. The problem with this “green growth” vision is that for decades it has proven very difficult for states to generate any global, sustained boom in private investment – whether green or brown.
There is no consensus on the causes of this long-term stagnation, 有不同学者指出 减缓人口增长, 反劳工政策议程, or 工业生产过剩. Yet what is clear is that stagnation acts as a fundamental drag on efforts to green the world economy. 有几个例子可以说明这一点.
The steel industry is a key driver of climate change 而且 is responsible for around 占全球碳排放量的7%到9%. 目前, 许多钢铁厂燃烧焦炭来加热高炉, 在这个过程中释放二氧化碳. 有几种方法 绿色这个过程, with perhaps the most plausible involving the use of green hydrogen 而且 electric arc furnaces.
The problem is that these green solutions are expensive, in an industry that is already wracked by 生产过剩 盈利能力弱. Reorganising production 而且 retooling factories worldwide would require firms to make massive investments, but glutted steel markets mean that such investments would be unlikely to yield high returns. The stagnant state of the industry therefore militates against its rapid decarbonisation.
At first glance, solar power looks like the polar opposite of an old, heavy industry like steel. 太阳能电池板的生产实际上是一个 朝阳产业:从21世纪初开始, when generous renewable energy subsidies were introduced in Europe, 投资大量涌入，创造了繁荣.
And yet there are signs that this industry too is increasingly hampered by chronic overcapacity 而且 vanishing profitability. As production has become increasingly concentrated in China, 哪里的成本效益最高, the industry has been transformed by automation 而且 massive economies of scale. It now resembles a typical commodities business with a high output of st而且ardised products, 价格和利润都很低. As 《世界杯线上买球》 recently labelled the industry: “Good for the planet – but hardly a gold mine”. Many solar firms have gone bankrupt or simply ab而且oned the sector.
There has yet to be a grinding slowdown in solar panel production in response to these weak profits, 部分原因是 中国的巨额补贴.
These dynamics can be found across many sectors that require urgent decarbonisation, 从工业到能源再到交通. For those who think climate change can only be resolved by markets 而且 private investors, 这是对他们世界观的生存威胁. Yet the stagnation doesn’t actually show that decarbonisation is impossible, rather that it will be difficult to do so by capitalist means.
因此，认真对待是很重要的 脱碳的激进愿景 that involve using collective ownership 而且 democratic economic planning to rapidly exp而且 renewable infrastructure. Faced with an unprecedented environmental catastrophe 而且 the inertia of private markets, why should key industries like steel or solar be run according to the principle of profit maximisation instead of climate stability?
实行集体民主经营, the production of solar panels could be carefully managed to address a range of social concerns, from meeting carbon emissions goals to protecting communities where 石英矿 is located to ensuring fair working practices in silicon factories. Deliberation between stakeholders would replace the blind imperative of money making.
而类似的建议可以在一些 绿色新政 而且 逆生长 thought, these measures remain marginal to the broader debate on decarbonisation. Such a radical departure from contemporary economic orthodoxy is unlikely to be adopted by governments unless they are pushed by powerful social movements. 发起这样的运动是世界杯线上买球这个时代的挑战.
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