At the centre of the problem is our hydrocarbon energy driven economy, our failure to recognise the finite nature of our planet and to appreciate the debt that we are creating in terms of the climates CO2 account. It is in short the mother of all Ponzi schemes.

By definition all Ponzi schemes eventually collapse, early investors may make huge profits but then things start to look too good to be true, confidence wanes and questions are asked, but the profiteers ignore the evidence and move into a state of denial, shortly followed by arguments that it is too big to fail, until the truth finally dawns and the bubble bursts.

Right now we are at the stage where confidence is waning fast, with financial markets teetering on the edge of collapse. The evidence is there, deep down we all know we cannot go on as we are, but we carry on regardless, hoping against hope that the recession is just a dip and that everything will come back as it was before, even though science and simple logic tell us it cannot. We go on deluding ourselves that some miraculous cure will come along “it can’t really happen, someone will fix it; surely we can’t possibly have that much effect on the planet”.

A lack of confidence, even fear is residing in our collective subconscious minds. Our capacity to sense danger evolved long before we achieved higher awareness as we became human 200,000 years ago and we have now transmitted that primeval capacity it into our sophisticated financial markets. No recovery can come while we have a sense of unfolding dangers. Markets only rise in times of confidence and confidence come from having a future that we can believe in.

Increasingly frustrated scientists warn us with growing passion, that they have “very high confidence in their findings” (which in normal business speak is that they are “absolutely certain”). Big oil, coal and gas corporations will tell us that the scientist are not 100% and that they can give us more growth and they clamour to go for another big dip into the barrel of profit. But deep down, we and they know that this will precipitate runaway warming, leading to mega weather disasters and crop failure, which in turn will cause the final financial collapse. That is, unless we all call time on the Ponzi scheme now!

As with all Ponzi schemes the sooner the bubble is burst, the fraudsters unveiled and the scam is stopped, the less the damage that will be done and the lower cost of the recovery will be.

Calling time is going to hurt; countries and giant corporations have borrowed billions against the coal, oil and gas resources still in the ground or under the sea. Writing off these assets will be hard and it will take some bravery, but it is the big energy companies who are best placed to convert to renewable resources and ultimately they will do well.

The good news is that restructuring the world's energy economy based on sustainable renewable energies and taking action to prevent all major forms of land, sea and air pollution is entirely within our capability. A viable future without the awful spectre of famine, water shortages, mass migration, rising sea levels and chaotic weather, is ours for the taking if we act quickly.

The act of creating a secure sustainable energy economy will be the greatest wealth generating event ever, with it will come confidence, long term thinking and a willingness to invest in the future.

The problems already created by our hydrocarbon economy won't go away for years, the inertia of the system and the planet’s energy imbalance mean that temperatures will continue to rise, as will sea levels. Massive projects will have to be undertaken to protect or move cities, secure freshwater supplies, feed the world and remove the excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Taking on all of these tasks will regenerate economies, provide jobs and deliver profits that will far out way our short term loses of writing down the hydrocarbons that we simply have to leave in the ground.

All we need now is the courage to burst the bubble!

More posts by Nick Breeze

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