Monday, December 19, 2022

Deutsche Bank: Green Deal Requires ‘Certain Degree Of Eco-Dictatorship’

A very clear-eyed analysis by Deutsche Bank's automotive, climate policy, energy, transportation and German manufacturing analyst, Eric Heymann.

From DB Research, Konzept, #19, "What We Must Do To Rebuild", November 10, 2020:

PP. 73

....Turning to economics, we will need to talk honestly about the costs of specific sources of energy. Fossil fuels are highly reliable and powerful, but their external costs are not adequately internalised yet. Carbon prices will need to be significantly higher than the political consensus currently allows. In the case of wind power and photovoltaics, pure electricity generation costs (which are declining) are only part of the picture. As weather-dependent sources of energy gain importance, investments in networks and power storage capacities will need to be increased. Cost-intensive network interventions will take place more frequently. Moreover, other suppliers (for example gas-fired power plants) will see their capacity utilisation decline if more electricity from wind and solar farms is fed into the grid. These system-wide costs of an increased reliance on renewable energies are often neglected. 

Nuclear energy is a good example for difficulties in terms of political acceptance. Countries such as Germany are aiming to exit from nuclear energy, which comes with very low specific carbon emissions, simply because people/politics do not accept it as a source of power. In contrast, nuclear energy remains an (important) pillar of the electricity sector in France, the US, China or Japan. These countries are also actively researching next-generation nuclear power options. The different stance on nuclear energy in Germany and France is probably one reason why the Green Deal does not mention nuclear energy at all.

Carbon capture storage and usage systems are quite unpopular in the EU, too. According to the IEA, however, we will need them for decarbonisation. The Green Deal also supports investments in this technology, even though CCS, at least, meets with considerable political resistance in countries such as Germany.

I would like to point out that these statements should not be taken as support for or rejection of any of these technologies. If, however, people are actually afraid that large parts of the planet may become uninhabitable due to climate change and if they really want to achieve climate neutrality, they should not reject technologies right away that may help to reach this goal, even if they involve certain risks. An honest debate about climate neutrality will need to include non-ideological risk assessments of different sources of energy and also an analysis of potential measures to adapt to climate change. 

A certain degree of eco-dictatorship will be necessary 

The impact of the current climate policy on people’s everyday lives is still quite abstract and acceptable for many households. Climate policy comes in the form of higher taxes and fees on energy, which make heating and mobility more expensive. Some countries have set minimum energy efficiency standards for buildings or similar rules in other areas. However, climate policy does not determine our lives. We take key consumption decisions, for example whether we travel at all, how much we travel and which means of transport we use, whether we live in a large house or a small apartment and how we heat our homes, how many electronic devices we have and how intensely we use them or how much meat and exotic fruit we eat. These decisions tend to be made on the basis of our income, not on climate considerations.

If we really want to achieve climate neutrality, we need to change our behaviour in all these areas of life. This is simply because there are no adequate cost-effective technologies yet to allow us to maintain our living standards in a carbon-neutral way. That means that carbon prices will have to rise considerably in order to nudge people to change their behaviour. Another (or perhaps supplementary) option is to tighten regulatory law considerably. I know that “eco-dictatorship” is a nasty word. But we may have to ask ourselves the question whether and to what extent we may be willing to accept some kind of eco-dictatorship (in the form of regulatory law) in order to move towards climate neutrality. Here is an example: What should we do if property owners do not want to turn their houses into zero-emission buildings; if they do not have the financial means to do so; if doing so is not possible for technical reasons or if the related investments do not pay off....

....MUCH MORE (83 page PDF) 

If this direct link does not work (it seems to be hit or miss) use the "What We Must Do To Rebuild" link above and follow the path. First rate.


We linked to the above on February 9, 2021 and I've been meaning to add some quotes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C (SR15) published 8 October 2018 that bolster the eco-dictatorship argument.

What is coming goes far beyond anything you are apt to read in non-specialist publications and especially not in the corporate media.

From Chapter 5 of the report: "Sustainable Development, Poverty Eradication and Reducing Inequalities" the meat of the matter by way of a Ctrl+F search for "societal transformation".

Result #1, pp. 448 (4 of 94 of the PDF)

Without societal transformation and rapid implementation of ambitious greenhouse gas reduction measures, pathways to limiting warming to 1.5°C and achieving sustainable development will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve (high confidence). The potential for pursuing such pathways differs between and within nations and regions, due to different development trajectories, opportunities and challenges (very high confidence). {, Figure 5.1} Limiting warming to 1.5°C would require all countries and non-state actors to strengthen their contributions without delay. This could be achieved through sharing efforts based on bolder and more committed cooperation, with support for those with the least capacity to adapt, mitigate and transform (medium evidence, high agreement). {,} Current efforts towards reconciling low-carbon trajectories and reducing inequalities, including those that avoid difficult trade-offs associated with transformation, are partially successful yet demonstrate notable obstacles (medium evidence, medium agreement). {, Box 5.3, Cross-Chapter Box 13 in this chapter}
Social justice and equity are core aspects of climate-resilient development pathways for transformational social change....

Result #2, pp. 451 (7 of 94)

Figure 5.1 | Climate-resilient development pathways (CRDPs) (green arrows) between a current world in which countries and communities exist at different levels of development (A) and future worlds that range from climate-resilient (bottom) to unsustainable (top) (D). CRDPs involve societal transformation rather than business-as-usual approaches, and all pathways involve adaptation and mitigation choices and trade-offs (B). Pathways that achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and beyond, strive for net zero emissions around mid-21st century, and stay within the global 1.5°C warming target by the end of the 21st century, while ensuring equity and well-being for all, are best positioned to achieve climate-resilient futures (C). Overshooting on the path to 1.5°C will make achieving CRDPs and other sustainable trajectories more difficult; yet, the limited literature does not allow meaningful estimates.

Result #3, pp. 475 (31 of 94)

5.6.4 Attention to Issues of Power and Inequality 

Societal transformations to limit global warming to 1.5°C and strive for equity and well-being for all are not power neutral (Section 5.5.3). Development preferences are often shaped by powerful interests that determine the direction and pace of change, anticipated benefits and beneficiaries, and acceptable and unacceptable trade-offs (Newell et al., 2014....

Result #4 pp. 475 (31 of 94) continued and Result# 5 pp. 475 (31 of 94):

....Addressing the uneven distribution of power is critical to ensure that societal transformation towards a 1.5°C warmer world does not exacerbate poverty and vulnerability or create new injustices but rather encourages equitable transformational change (Patterson et al., 2018). Equitable outcomes are enhanced when they pay attention to just outcomes for those negatively affected by change (Newell et al., 2014; Dilling et al., 2015; Naess et al., 2015; Sovacool et al., 2015; Cervigni and Morris, 2016; Keohane and Victor, 2016) and promote human rights, increase equality and reduce power asymmetries within societies (robust evidence, high agreement) (UNRISD, 2016; Robinson and Shine, 2018). 

5.6.5 Reconsidering Values 

The profound transformations that would be needed to integrate sustainable development and 1.5°C-compatible pathways call for examining the values, ethics, attitudes and behaviours that underpin societies (Hartzell-Nichols, 2017; O’Brien, 2018; Patterson et al., 2018). Infusing values that promote sustainable development (Holden et al., 2017), overcome individual economic interests and go beyond economic growth (Hackmann, 2016), encourage desirable and transformative visions (Tàbara et al., 2018), and care for the less fortunate (Howell and Allen, 2017) is part and parcel of climate-resilient and sustainable development pathways. This entails helping societies and individuals to strive for sufficiency in resource consumption within planetary boundaries alongside sustainable and equitable well-being (O’Neill et al., 2018). Navigating 1.5°C societal transformations, characterized by action from local to global, stresses the core commitment to social justice, solidarity and cooperation, particularly regarding the distribution of responsibilities, rights and mutual obligations between nations (medium evidence, high agreement) (Patterson et al., 2018; Robinson and Shine, 2018).....

What is being implemented will require an iron fist. We are not talking about changes at the margins, this is societal transformation.