Richard Branson (and me): fossil fuel is fuelling the recession
Sir Richard Branson said something very interesting this week. Speaking at the Slowlife Symposium in the Maldives (above, and no, I wasn’t there, unfortunately), he said:
“If we don’t have alternative fuels we are going to have the mother of all recessions.”
This is music to my ears as a. I believe our unsustainability is a major contributing factor to the ongoing global economic slump and b. many, many more people will listen to SRB than me.
In my view, the modern economic system was built on cheap debt and cheap energy – both of which have come to a rather sudden end. The first is much debated in the press, mainly because it was the debt bubble bursting that triggered the current situation. However, despite much arm waving from the prestigious International Energy Agency and others, few people are talking about the second.
The economy has stalled because of lack of demand. Look at the pressures on households – yes many have sadly lost their jobs – but everyone is being hit by rocketing domestic energy prices, road fuel prices, food prices – and we wonder why people are not spending? We need to cut those bills to get the economy going again which will mean improving efficiency and finding alternative energy sources to replace expensive oil.
Flipping into positive thinking mode, we might be able to kill two birds with one stone. By going hard on renewable energy and energy efficiency we can mitigate those rising energy prices and generate new jobs and green business opportunities. As Branson said, it’s the “biggest entrepreneurial opportunity of our lifetime.”
There has been much debate about whether we can decouple economic growth and carbon emissions, but I’m increasingly convinced we will be forced to do so one way or another. Let’s make it the good way.
Photo and Branson quotes courtesy of thisismission.com