Imagining 2020 — the world will be what we make it

Hot Topic is pleased to join with Scoop and Celsias in launching a new series of articles with the theme of Imagining 2020. We want New Zealanders, as Scoop co-founder Alastair Thompson explains in this introductory post, to imagine what a low carbon future might be like:

The idea is to provide a platform for a collective long-term forecasting effort which considers the impacts of economic transformation on each sector in the NZ economy. If we start by dreaming and imagining our futures, then perhaps we can effectively gain some control over them.

Imagining 2020 will be what Al describes as “a creative commons online discussion festival in which individuals and businesses are invited write about how a low-carbon future affects their individual circumstances”. As the project progresses, we hope to get contributions from a wide spectrum of opinion in NZ, with (I hope) a focus on the positive aspects of the transformation we will inevitably have to make. This is your invitation to take part — email (address below) for details. Over to Al:

In recent months the climate change debate has all too often been framed as a matter of what level of sacrifice we as consumers and businesses are prepared to bare to save the planet. Domestically and internationally various economists have produced econometric models which show the likely negative impacts on GDP growth – extrapolated to household income – of climate change mitigation measures.

On the other side the public is berated by doomsayers who tell us the question is not what the cost of change is, but what the cost of not changing will be in the future. However as many commentators have since pointed out, the reality of climate induced economic transformation is infinitely more complicated than either these perspectives indicates.

A sacrifice approach to the issue of climate change induced economic transformation is a wrong headed – as our international trading competitors such as Japan and China have already clearly recognised. There is huge opportunity for economic growth in transformation.

Meanwhile the “fear the future” approach is a giant turn off. It is defeatist for one thing. If we are doomed anyway – say the cynics – then why not enjoy the view while the ship goes down. And while the argument may be true – until we actually start to smell the fear personally, it is hard to comprehend what threats global warming really poses to us.

Therefore a group of New Zealand websites has decided to get together and encourage discussion of the positive side to climate change mitigation. After all — how many of us really believe that the way the world is currently run is optimal – both for our personal lives as well as for the environment.

So let us think about what opportunities and benefits are present in the coming transformation to a low-carbon future for NZ and global economy. How can our lives be improved by a reorganisation of the economy? How can we use this opportunity for change to fix many of the obvious wrongs in the current consumption driven trading and economic system?

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