This critique of departments of (mainstream) economics that promote growth in an ecological crisis was recently sent by Brian Davey to ten academics and guest lecturers at the University of Nottingham, including the head of the school.
While agreeing with Oil Change International's arguments concerning the unfeasibility of natural gas as a 'bridge' in the energy transition, Brian Davey is concerned about their apparent ignorance of the scarcity of resources required for generating and storing renewable energy, and their (related) failure to mention any need for degrowth in the transition to renewables.
"The Green New Deal, if presented as a way of investing in energy techno-fixes, could be a misleading magic formula. If seen as a start of a dialogue about a wide ranging transformation of society including communities setting up arrangements to help each other, it could be helpful", writes Brian Davey.
"Ireland’s policymakers exist in an insulated bubble; congratulating themselves on reducing the debt-GDP ratio and high employment due to the sleight of hand of low corporate tax rates, " writes Tim Clarke. He argues that Ireland is hugely vulnerable to a global financial crash triggered by net energy decline, coupled with rapidly rising extreme global debts and many other factors: "Talk of a 'Celtic Phoenix' excites dull short memories, and another property bubble is in the making."
Brian Davey draws on German research to argue that the only way that industrialised countries will be able to achieve the transition to 100% renewables is through degrowth. The transition is likely to be easier in low-income countries that use relatively little energy at present.
"Mainstream economists typically concentrate on science, technology and innovation to explain economic growth – but virtually all these new innovations are new ways to use energy and it is the energy of coal, oil and gas that does the work," writes Brian Davey.