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#ImagineTheFuture: The Economic Realization

by Todd Edwards

We stopped thinking about solutions in silos / sectors and fully realized that the solution to climate change and a better, more sustainable/regenerative life is dynamic.

The combination of legacy analytical approaches (ie legacy databases and integrated assessment models) with new technologies such as Geographic Information Systems, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and blockchain allowed us to see the vibrant dynamism between sectors.

We understood that, just as in calculating GDP using Keynesian demand side economics, there are also sustainability multipliers. An increase in one technology was understood to have a multiplier effect across the entire system.

It was also proven that there was a new variable to the age-old GDP equation - the regenerative variable. This led to policy-makers breaking out of their antiquated belief that sustainability was a political issue, and understanding that it’s a simple, fiscally responsible way to protect and improve the lives of their constituents and their economies.

It all started in the first half of the 2020s. Prior to the discovery of the regenerative GDP variable, there were some people, businesses and governments that used to be labelled as ‘green progressives’ because their choices to invest in electric vehicles and renewable energy were assumed to go against rational economic decision-making. These early investments did pay off for the environment. Today, we know of these forerunners as the Founders of our Economic Realization.

It was proven that what we previously thought were only environmental-related decisions were also the best for our economic growth. The investments in electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy had similar effects when analyzed across their respective silos. The cost of EVs decreased as batteries became less expensive and their quality improved. The cost of renewable energy was already out-competing other forms of energy around the world.

Few, however, predicted what was to come next. As the cost of batteries decreased, there was also an influx of batteries after their useful life in vehicles - known as the secondary market. This influx of secondary-market batteries and lower marginal cost for new batteries bolstered the renewable energy market. There was finally cost-effective and scalable energy storage in the jurisdictions that comprised the so-called green progressives.

This phenomenon led to a multiplier effect, and it was not long after when the Economic Realization began.

Many more people, businesses, and governments started following the same model because they saw the economic competitiveness. At first it was just a decline in marginal electricity and transport costs, yet they all soon realized a multitude of benefits. Their air was much much cleaner. The cleaner air led to a reduction in sick days from work, fewer hospitalizations and expenditures on medications from air pollution-related illnesses.

The stock markets were soaring to record highs as the demand for EVs and renewable energy more than doubled each year as well as new industries that leveraged these developments. Within a few years in the late 2020s, in most major cities and metropolitan areas it was nearly impossible to find a home or commercial building that did not have a vehicle-to-grid system connected that further cut costs at the same time as leading to even greater returns in public health.

New studies began to emerge about the nexus between regenerative economic decisions, GDP, and quality of life. There is not a single policy-maker nowadays who is not thankful for the Founders.

Over the years since the discovery of the regenerative variable of GDP, the concept has been applied to many more dynamic relationships across the ecological-economic divide that once existed.

It was agriculture next, which is further detailed in the chapter to follow ...