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Monday, 15 December 2008

The Australian government emission targets are inadequate but is that the real problem?

The Australian government emission targets announced today are plainly inadequate but that is not the real problem.

The real difficulty lies with the fact that large elements of the business sector are operating with a fatally flawed understanding of reality that was revealed in their response that a 5% reduction was way to much because of the economic adjustment problems that it would cause.

The failure here is the models of reality that are behind such commentary. The model used is one in which we have two realms, the realm of the economy and the realm of the environment with trade-offs between the two weighted in favour of the "real world" of business.

The reality is that the "small economy" of which they speak is a sub-set of the "great economy" (to borrow the image of Wendell Berry) upon which we all depend and without which the small economy - the world of economic "growth" could not exist.

Or to put it in terms of business - the world of business and national economies is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment not the other way around.

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