The explosion of Indonesia’s nickel industry shows how demand for “green” technology by wealthy urbanites triggers resource raiding in the Global South.
Since the 1990s, mainstream economists have used past weather data to forecast the future costs of climate change. This mode of econometric prediction ignores the alarming tipping points and pervasive uncertainty that characterize our warming world.
Credit rating agencies like Moody’s have amassed vast datasets about scale and distribution of climate risk. The proprietary “expertise” derived from this data increasingly guides how both governments and financial institutions respond to the crisis.
The net zero paradigm disaggregates global emissions and allows each company to design an individualized plan. This atomized approach is not just amenable to manipulation – it frustrates the kind of collective action the crisis demands.
The IRA promises to pump billions of dollars into clean energy infrastructure, primarily though tax equity financing. This approach, despite its merits, all but guarantees that our clean energy future will be dominated by incumbent private actors, namely large financial institutions and private developers, who will capture the benefits of abundant low-cost renewable electricity.
The very idea of “offsetting” emissions requires the legal creation – and exploitation – of new sacrifice zones. Predictably, this approach has been a disaster for the environment. Less noticed, however, is the extent to which offsetting has warped the entire aim of environmental law.