Manifesto based on “Junglenomics” for an Environment-Saving Economics Revolution (Draft)
Simon Lamb, Park, Broadwindsor, Dorset, DT8 3QT. 07785-757034
Author of “Junglenomics: Nature’s solutions to the world environment crisis: a new paradigm for the twenty-first century and beyond”
Business & Industry
- Universal Environmental Accounting. Introduce environmental accounting for all businesses and public bodies to formalize the Bloomberg/Carney “Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures” (TCFD), and to provide comprehensive national inventories of all pollutive emissions, environmentally degrading and wildlife destructive processes and practices
- Create a national database of environmental impacts. Use environmental accounting inventories to create a national database of all negative human impacts on the environment, upon which to base the following policies and initiatives. Also to facilitate a bespoke national environment advisory service for business to help fast-track a green economy, and ensure that all new businesses include potential taxation on their external costs in their profit projections
- Facilitate Clean Business Adaptation. Establish Business Environmental Adaptation Trust Funds by way of annual levies on environmentally damaging businesses, held in Trust and available for draw-down to adapt to more environmentally friendly processes, and to develop more environmentally benign products
Greenhouse Gases, Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation
- Establish the principle of ‘environmental neutrality’. Replace the concept of “carbon neutrality” with “environmental neutrality” to help focus efforts on minimising, mitigating and avoiding all external environmental costs (“emissions externality accounting”)
- Speed up the reduction of noxious emissions. Raise levies on continuing environmentally damaging emissions. Ringfence the proceeds through Environmental Adaptation Trust Funds (see 3 above) to i) subsidise benign substitutes and alternatives, and ii) develop and deploy new technology to minimise the escape of harmful substances into the environment and to pressurise businesses to depart from business as usual as rapidly as possible
- Increase business symbiosis. Incentivise, facilitate and reward businesses to develop or relocate in clusters to achieve symbiotic cost synergies and reduce environmental footprints
- Roll out widespread Carbon Capture & Storage. Fund the rapid development and deployment of CCS, carbon absorption and carbon negative processes in high emission industries (such as concrete and steel manufacture) via CCS Investment Bonds (see 22 below)
- Revise carbon offsets. Re-assess and revise carbon offset tree-planting and rewilding schemes at home and abroad to ensure that only those that create species-rich diversity or restore already depleted ecosystems with appropriate species in appropriate regions, and that are permanently protected from commercial exploitation (i.e. re-wilded in perpetuity).
- Fast-track low emission vehicle development & deployment. Close the price gap incrementally by introducing graduated vehicle purchase levies on vehicle manufacturers based on carbon/pollution and component manufacturing outputs, ring-fenced to subsidise the development and prices of new and existing clean energy vehicles
- Expand rail freight facilities. Create a national network for roll-on, roll-off container rail freight combined with distribution hubs for local delivery by electric-powered vehicles. Where viable create additional railway lines next to existing ones, and create a commission to explore the reopening of “Beeching Cut” lines to reinvigorate local economies and remove freight and passengers from roads.
- Fast-track low emissions air travel. Introduce air-fare levies based on the pollutive output per journey of flights, ring-fenced to subsidise the faster development of a new generation of low emissions aircraft and fund R&D and market entry for alternative green aero fuels (such as fuel from waste), exempting non-business fares to economies whose conservation funding and jobs depend on tourism
- Discourage unnecessary business air travel. Introduce substantial flight levies on business fares to conferences, ring-fenced for the development and operation of sophisticated and secure virtual conference platforms
- Develop freight airships. Subsidise research & development of airships for freight transportation and fast-track its deployment
- Improve shipping emissions. Substantially reduce shipping emissions by incentivising ships (which carry 90%. of world trade) to slow their speeds by 20% from 2012 levels
- End the use of bunker fuel by shipping. Introduce strong dis-incentives for ships to use low-grade bunker fuel via emissions levies ring-fenced to subsidise 14 above
- Fast-track low emissions technology for ship propulsion. Develop and deploy hybrid onboard wind propulsion, conversion to natural gas, and to install emissions scrubbers
- Enforce shore power facilities & use for shipping. Make electric shore-power mandatory for shipping at all ports to avoid auxiliary engine use
- Fast-track the evolution of green energy. Accelerate green energy substitution and battery storage technology (wind/solar/wave) by increasing subsidies funded from carbon intensive energy generation levies, while steadily and significantly reducing oil tax subsidies (currently some $6tn pa worldwide) and accelerating R&D.
- Ban CCS-free fracking, and involve local democracy in planning decisions. Abandon plans for fracking unless served by Carbon Capture and Storage facilities, and add CCS facilities to existing plants funded from CCS Bonds. Allow local democracy to control planning permissions
- Revolutionize carbon Cap-and-Trade. Introduce an annually rising carbon price floor for carbon Cap-and-Trade markets, along with a carbon tax along the lines of the proposed US scheme (which returns most proceeds to consumers to compensate for energy price rises
Bonds & Funds
- Launch Climate War Bonds. Establish Climate War Bond Funds (target 2% of GDP) with coupons funded by levies resulting from environmental accounting and carbon tax receipts to fund shore protections and relocate populations vulnerable to sea level rise
- Launch Carbon Capture & Storage investment bonds. Channel coupon Income to fund Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) through Investment Bonds, raised from carbon taxes on new and existing major greenhouse gas emitters not already served by CCS facilities
Waste and Recycling
- Recycling Centres. Establish comprehensive free-to-use recycling centres in all regions, funded by polluter pays levies
- Make manufacturers financially responsible for the recycling of their non-compostable or non-profitably recyclable packaging and products. Establish deposit return schemes and levies on all single-use containers
- White goods and electronics. Incentivise white goods markets to migrate towards lease, repair, replace and recycle contracts, rather than wasteful and inefficient private ownership
- Ban all non-essential and easily substitutable single-use plastics, such as cotton buds, plastic bags and straws, within 2 years, ensuring that their replacement materials are environmentally neutral and from sustainable sources
- Environmentally Pollutive waste. Make all previous pollutive waste (including plastics) profitable to retrieve and recycle (including ocean garbage islands), via subsidies raised from levies on its producers and/or distributors, ring-fenced to subsidise symbiotic clean- up companies. Re-use. Subsidise and fast-track re-use technologies for all waste products from polluter pays levies. Ensure that all previously escaped pollutive waste is profitable to retrieve and recycle by attaching commercial value to it
- Recycling Levies. Place recycling levies on the price of all potentially pollutive products currently not profitable to recycle, ringfenced to ensure they become profitable to re-use or recycle
- Supply chain responsibility and tariffs. Make companies responsible for determining and reporting the environmental footprint of their supply chains, and introduce tariffs based on the environmental cost of imports
- Adopt Biodiversity Offset schemes as national policy. Roll out biodiversity offset schemes to avoid, minimise or mitigate the effects of all new development on greenfield sites
- Permanently protect valuable environments. Permanently exclude all sites listed as being of high biodiversity, amenity and/or scenic value from further significant development
- Fast-track green building technology. Incentivise the development of high-tech, low cost, low energy building, including the incorporation of waste products (such as plastics), through ringfenced levies raised on new low-tech, environmentally less efficient building
- Green-up City Landscapes. Incentivise the greening of city landscapes through a ringfenced levy on residents and businesses
- Enhance Greenbelt Protection. Protect “Greenbelts” around major conurbations by requiring a mandatory 500% value-added levy on greenfield sites within them, while subsidising the ‘green’ development of brownfield sites
Agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture
- Promote Soil Conservation. Reward highest standards of soil conservation on farms, and lowest usage of artificial fertiliser, pesticides and fungicides. Reward production of “apples with spots” etc
- Advantage Nature-friendly and conservation agriculture. Roll out substantial support for Nature-friendly and conservation agriculture, paid for from levies raised on herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertiliser, and on non-conservation food products
- Include farms in biobank schemes. Encourage farmers to put up less productive areas of land to enter into high-quality bio-banks as development offsets, so that such land acquires permanent income at a rate that at least equals its potential agricultural returns
- Pay farmers for ecosystem services. Pay land managers for conserving and increasing wild areas of land that provide ecosystems services to the nation, raised from a modest annual levy on all tax-paying citizens (Costa Rica model)
- Support land-based fish-farming. Subsidise the development and mass deployment of land-based, agriculturally-symbiotic fish-farming enterprises from levies raised on the sale of depleted fish species
- Improve coastal fish-farming techniques. Greatly improve the regulation and oversight of coastal fish-farming, incentivise open sea farming from levies on inshore farms, and subsidise the use of cleaner fish for lice control through ring-fenced levies on chemical
- Ban sea-floor dredging
- Promote larval protein sources. Impose rising levies on fishmeal-based feed, ringfenced to subsidise and develop alternative feed protein sources, such as insect maggot farming
- Develop and deploy Aquaponics systems. Fast-track the development and deployment of aquaponic food production
Wilderness, Wildlife & the Natural Environment
- Set whole Ecosystem Protection as a conservation priority. Introduce measures that conserve entire ecosystems rather than just individual species
- Influence youth culture. Recruit young key-influencers (e.g. pop-stars, musicians and actors) to come together to promote a nature-friendly culture among the younger generation
- Enhance Nature education. Introduce environment and wildlife studies as a compulsory school subject
- Support ‘farming’ of threatened wild species. In select cases, subsidise the farming of endangered wild species from tourist revenues for release into the wild, and to supply markets as substitutes for wild species
- Grant Legal rights to wilderness guardians. Establish non-transferable group, and where appropriate individual, legal rights for indigenous forest and wilderness dwelling peoples over their traditional lands, tied to conservation covenants, to give them recourse through the courts against destructive trespass, and to enable them to profit from sensitive tourism and environment-friendly traditional skills and practices
Co-operative International Action
- Establish a World Environment Organisation (comprised as suggested in ‘Junglenomics’)
- Establish an International Climate Fund to finance, deploy and fast-track climate-friendly technology and behaviours around the globe
- Facilitate the sharing of green technology and medicine. Agree an international, low-tax, fast-track trading zone platform for the rapid international deployment of new environment-friendly technology and processes that mitigate carbon emissions, pollution, food production and medicine
- Agree an environmental protection treaty. Agree an international treaty to place substantial import levies on wilderness-damaging supply chains and markets (for example on primal forest, marshland, mangroves, coral reefs)
- Set new conservation standards. Agree and set international standards for wilderness conservation, rewilding, social inclusion and wilderness protection schemes to avoid locally inappropriate “carbon offset schemes”
- Establish an environmental trading standards cartel. Develop an international “green trading cartel” to impose levies or bans on goods agreed to be produced to the detriment of wilderness and wildlife, co-ordinated in order to maintain a level trade playing-field between participating nations
- Raise import levies on external costs. Charge import levies on the external environmental costs that increase prices higher than green alternatives on all goods imported from non-cartel members, ringfenced to lower the prices of environmentally benign competing products
- Environmental Services Investment Bond markets. Facilitate an international trading platform in Bonds that permanently protect wilderness and employ indigenous peoples as guardians, allowing them to carry on small scale, traditional exploitation and conservation of forest resources and sensitive tourism, whilst creating substantial Trust-held funds for new green infrastructure and housing to wilderness-rich but poor nations.
- Create new UNCLOS agreement. Initiate a new UNCLOS agreement that mandates the universal use of tracking devices and legalises and incentivises “corsairs” to counter pirate fishing on the high seas
- Agree new international standards for coastal ecosystem protection. Agree international standards for coastal and on-land fish farming to protect valuable habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves, ban all production that causes further loss or degradation of natural habitat, and impose levies on farms that have already replaced mangroves, ring-fenced to preserve and protect remaining mangrove forests
- Enhance Marine Protected Zones. Extend and maximise interconnection between Marine Protected Zones, and facilitate limited, licenced and unobtrusive exploitation of MPZs (including fishing and tourism) by indigenous peoples using traditional methods
- Expand small business loan schemes. Expand the micro-loan system in poor countries to help develop more environmentally sustainable wealth-creating enterprises
- Initiate an ambitious international program to Improve education and health in Africa. Agree and enact an international project to fast-track the building of schools and the provision of teachers, educational tools, clinics, hospitals for the most deprived areas of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, with the primary aim of reducing birth rates
Published by Ethical Corporation (http://www.ethicalcorp.com/)
Oct 18, 2019
Simon M Lamb, author of a new book called Junglenomics, argues that human survival will depend on putting ecology into economics
We hear a great deal about ethical markets, in fact it’s easy to get the impression that some kind of world revolution is going on – an ethical cavalry riding to the rescue of a declining and disappearing natural world. For example, I was talking to a partner in an upmarket fashion business the other day and she was waxing lyrical about the new ethical turn her company was taking. I was full of admiration. But I asked her “Will this put up the cost of your clothes?” “Yes,” she replied brightly, “but only about £25 on average.”
I didn’t want to pop her balloon, so I left it that and changed the subject. But it left me thinking that night about what she had really told me that she didn’t mean to. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not disparaging her company’s efforts to be greener or more socially responsible. I love that they are trying to do so. But there’s more to this than meets the eye.
This article was published in BusinessGreen 07/10/19
It feels like barely a week goes by without another dire environmental news story breaking. One day the IUCN reports that 60% of the world’s wildlife has been wiped out in the last 40 years, the next the UN warns of the potential loss of a million species. Recently that large tracts of the species-rich Amazon rainforest are burning with severe potential consequences for CO2 release and wildlife. Now we hear climate change is moving much faster than expected. In truth, these destructive processes have been going on for decades, and a large number of organisations have been campaigning and working hard to save wildernesses, protect species, control waste and cut carbon emissions and pollution since as far back as the ‘60s. But the environmental winds have changed: suddenly the public have become ultra-sensitised to such news, and all over the world they are demanding with great passion that governments do something dramatic about them. The unlikely figure of a Danish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, has taken centre stage – a modern day Joan of Arc for the environment. Equally unlikely perhaps, at the other end of the age spectrum a 90+-year-old – the revered broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough - has found himself thrust into the midst of this new fever.
Yet for those of us like me who have been following the spiral of world decline for the past 40 years or more, there is no real sense of the tide turning, of impending victory over the destructive economic forces that underlie all these problems. Why? Because although tens of thousands of highly qualified and experienced economists and ecologists have been concentrated on it, world environmental decline continues at an angle resembling the BP share price after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. There have been successes here and there, certainly, but the overall numbers tell a story of abject failure. Why is this? It is surely vital to understand, or the world will just go on throwing mud at the wall in the hopes some of it might stick, hardly a recipe for success.
The reason for this failure is that the “plan” Sir David, Greta, Extinction Rebellion and so many others are calling for simply doesn’t exist. There is still no core economic strategy to restructure the world economic order to conserve natural capital. There are innumerable excellent micro-plans and brilliant new technologies, many of which Business Green readers will be closely involved with. But no core macro-economic strategy – no master plan.
Yet I believe that this plan is all around us – in Nature. The consilience between ecology and economics has long been recognised, but never have the lessons of ecology – specifically ecosystems, been applied methodically to environmental economics. If we want to stop panic-firefighting problems one-by-one and get to grips once and for all with these humungous problems, it’s time some solid science was injected into it.
We can start with the basics: all things human that give rise to environmental decline have one thing in common - one way or the other they can be laid at the door of free markets. Markets are at the epicentre of the human world, after all. They built it; they maintain it; they continue to develop it, and we have everything to thank them for. But all too often they also degrade and destroy it. Just as happens in Nature, where creatures that overextend themselves eventually get knocked back, all the signs are that without a radical re-think, the same will likely happen to us, or rather to the children to whom we bequeath the potentially dire consequences of our inaction.
There’s a logical reason for our ostensibly suicidal exploitation of the natural world, though. An ancient and immensely powerful instinct impels all species to acquire and control resources – it’s a survival thing, and it drives the evolution of species. It’s why you find life exploiting resources everywhere from inside solid rock more than 2 miles beneath South Africa’s Tau Tona gold mine, all the way up to the cumulus clouds in the sky above. This is why we humans are doing precisely the same thing – feverishly exploring, exploiting and expanding the economic dimension - the economic ecosystem. It’s why we now have our eyes set on other planets. Looked at it this way, we can perhaps begin to understand why we strip the Earth of its resources despite the inevitable consequences – it’s in our genes.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it – far from it. While we can’t change our genes, we can, through smart economics, redirect this universal drive so that it protects the natural world instead of destroying it. How? By changing existing markets and creating new ones specifically designed to make “good” behaviour profitable, and “bad” ever more costly. In economics, as in Nature, what provides survives; what costs is lost. I yearn for the day when the Brazilian rainforests are worth more standing than burned; when clean cars are cheaper than dirty ones; when organic food is cheaper than pesticidal food; when clean energy is cheaper than pollutive energy, when tigers are worth more alive than dead. It’s crazy economics that they aren’t already when we know full well their true worth. The bottom line is that Nature doesn’t care a fig about what happens to us, but it does show us how to create the balanced economic ecosystem the world needs.
But this change won’t emerge from grass roots at anything like a sufficient scale in the narrow time window available. It demands a brand-new form of ecology-inspired, neo-Keynesian macro-economics, which means only governments can make it happen. But with vision and a renewed political will inspired, activated and energised by Greta and her supporters, the big plan that is “Ecosystem Economics” could be born the very next day.
Simon M Lamb
Author of Junglenomics: Nature’s Solutions to the world economic crisis: a new paradigm for the 21st century and beyond
The 12 Core Aims of Junglenomics
- Markets should not be free to profit to the detriment of the environment, species or human beings
- It should be profitable to conserve and enhance natural capital
- A right to “safe-to-breathe air” should be enshrined in law by 2030
- Goods and services that are less damaging to the environment should be made cheaper than more damaging competitors via ring-fenced external cost levies
- Green technology research and development should be prioritized and supported, and proven products and services fast-tracked into mass production and deployment
- That new financial markets that profit from the conservation of the natural world should be devised, initiated, underwritten, and fast-tracked
- Non-core environmentally damaging industry and business should rapidly convert to green technology and practices or be priced out of business
- Core environmentally damaging industry and business should be motivated to avoid, minimize or mitigate its environmental impact, while cleaner alternatives are supported to replace them
- No pollutive or environment-degrading materials should be permitted to escape into the environment from the economy cost free
- The collection and re-use of escaped pollutive or environmentally damaging materials should be made profitable at the cost of their manufacturers and/or distributors
- The poor in developing economies should be prioritized for inclusion in new green development
- Universal education, primarily in Africa, should be made a central priority by the international community to increase opportunity and reduce birth rates
- Saving the Planet: it’s all about Markets
Solving the world environment crisis using Nature’s ecosystems as a blueprint as explained in part 2 of this summary means treating market economies as what they are: “economic ecosystems”. The objective is to achieve natural balance within economic ecosystems so that little or nothing is wasted, and to ensure that no more pollution escapes into the environment than can be comfortably absorbed and neutralised by natural processes. Because it is a holistic approach, this “ecosystem economics” applies to every interaction involving economics and ecosystems – to pollution in air, water and land, to greenhouse gas release, wilderness destruction, species decline, over-population, poor agricultural practices, and so on. These interactions happen almost entirely within markets. Look around your home – everything you see, from the clothes you’re wearing, to your fridge and the food in it, to your furniture, the paint on your wall, even the house itself, has got to you via markets, sometimes involving many components and crossing many different regions of the world, coming together in one object. However, up to now all too many markets have been living in a misty Neverland in which profits are made with little or no regard to environmental impact, as if this were an efficient economic model. In fact, it’s highly inefficient because it is so wasteful of valuable, diminishing resources. It is only by bringing reality to these markets that we can have any real hope of rescuing the world from its spiral of environmental decline.