ecoglobe GDP Growth and Poverty Reduction on the PPOD
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Mail exchange with an Ambassor of an African Country
From: Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2011 08:30:42 Subject: Meeting the PPOD

Dear Ambassador,

Thank you. I do think we should arrange a friendly meeting in the near future, whilst our discussion by mail is still fresh.

The CUTS forum continues discussing the WTO in the 21st century, still 89 years till 2100, although the WTO could face its demise well before that date, simply because trade will stop on the Post Peak Oil Downslope.

Since 2005 the world is at peak oil level, i.e. the maximum production of conventional oil.
There is no equivalent replacement for oil, not in quantity nor in quality.

Electricity production has peaked. Further dams are only further destroying the environment and thus our sustenance base. Electricity cannot replace oil, and we cannot eat it.
Biofuels are a scandalous pseudo solution, growing fuel instead of food.

Peak oil also means peak economic growth. The downslope of economic contraction, i.e. diminishing industrial and food production after the end of the peak-oil period, is expected to start any time soon, possibly by 2012 or 2015. According to the US High Command, by 2015 there will be gap of 10 percent between oil supply and demand, if past trends continue.

That will also mean the rolling back of globalisation and so-called "free trade".

Our hunter and gatherer activities, and our trade with the products made from the stuff we extract from the planet, will grind to a halt when there are no resources left to hunt and gather, when our fossil energy slaves have died out, i.e. when it takes more energy to extract fossil fuels than the energy it returns (Energetic Return On Energetic Investment).

Factual environmental developments, i.e. the trends of resource depletion (such as oil, potable water, food availability, a normal climatete, soil erosion, biodiversity, deforestation) are all unbroken with no signs of effective countermeasures. These add to the dark outlook.

Therefore, from a viewpoint of environmental science, the growth for poverty reduction discussions are irrealistic.

I have tried to get these issues on the agenda of CUTS, amongst others, but in vain. The issue is too inconvenient, too much in conflict with conventional thought patterns. GDP growth is like a brain virus, unassailable by environmental logic.

It is incorrect, dear ..., to suggest that I would refuse poor people a decent standard of living. Westernised style of development, with electricity in every hut and integration in the world market is not the best way forward for African and other rural people, once environmental facts are considered.

The present hunger situation in East Africa is in part a consequence of colonialist structures and land grabbing, that destroyed traditional lifestyles which were in balance with the land. Western style development increases this trend and is not sustainable, i.e. cannot be continued, nowhere, neither in Geneva, nor in Dar es Salam, or Dodoma, or Delhi, or Beijing.

As I wrote to the CUTS list, in the period after peak oil, people in rural areas, still living without electricity, embedded in a local economy will probably be better off on the Post Peak Oil Downslope.
That's not a matter of denying these people development but an appreciation of what the near future will probably look like. Cities are bound to die, once the hinterland no longer provides the resources the live off. When? 1-1=0. Compare that to the resource depletion trends and the increasing impact because of population growth and economic expansion. Then!

Here in Geneva we will be much worse off than rural folks in Tanzania once our just-in-time deliveries start to splutter for lack of fuel. We are 85 percent dependent on imported fuels, 40 percent on imported foodstuff, and fully on the imports of virtually all minerals. A very bleak outlook indeed for the Swiss, but no topic for officialdom, living in the clouds of Hope Optimism and Technology.

The WTO headquarters in Geneva will be closed sometime on the PPOD, because no trade needs no regulation, long before 2100.

Hoping to see you soon, with kind regards ... Helmut

----Ursprüngliche Nachricht---- Von: Datum: 25.08.2011 10:32 Betreff: RE: GEN meeting Geneva 25 August 2011

Thanks Mr. Lubbers,

Regrettably I cannot attend this meeting because it coincides with another meeing at the African Union to which I was already commited. All the same I am sure we will meet sometime in the near future. Good day.

Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 16:40:49 +0200 Subject: GEN meeting Geneva 25 August 2011

[Abbreviations are explained at the bottom of the mail]


Are you participating at the meeting tomorrow at the International Environment House? See attached invitation. We might meet. At the CUTS Trade forum Pradeep stopped the discussion on poverty. But it has not finished, since poverty reduction is the most frequently heard argument to further growth on a planet that is already horribly overshot by mankind. We have horribly overshot the planet's carrying capacity. Alleviating poverty therefore can only happen ecologically sound by redistribution, not by general GDP growth. Overshoot is a fact that most leaders are not aware of or they simply don't want to know or they wrongly believe in HOT solutions.

We need to sit together and understand each other.

Hope to see you soon.

Kind regards ... Helmut Lubbers ecological economist
Ref.: IEA 2010 World Energy Outlook - The production peak was reached in 2003
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