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by Daniel Gloade on September 24, 2012

I borrowed a library book entitled “How to Stop the Planet From Burning” by George Monbiot.  I believe that this is an excellent book because the author critically assesses how we can reduce our carbon footprint.  In general, the personal automobile and air travel will decline.  Retail stores, especially grocery stores, will also be eliminated. People will order their items desired items from the internet so that they will be delivered directly to his or her homes.  I assume that people will also use a laundry service, eliminating the need for personal washers and dryers.

Mr. Monbiot suggests that homes will have to be constructed to a much more stringent building code.  New homes and new renovations will have to be built pursuant to this new code and older homes would have to be retrofitted if the ownership changes.  He also suggests that all appliances will have to be high efficiency.  This would include all appliances that will have to be on all the time because it either has a remote control or it has a digital clock.

Concrete would have to be made with “air concrete”, which needs less carbon when manufactured.

With energy production, Mr. Monbiot suggests that about half of our energy should come from renewables.  The other half of energy production will come from petro-chemical and nuclear power.  Those industries will need to deeply bury its waste (subterranean carbon capture, correct disposal of nuclear waste).

I believe that the biggest obstacle of our reducing is carbon footprint is not technological but economic.  What will people do for a living without an automobile or retail industry?

There is some comfort in that Canada has radically changed its economy before.  Canada’s manufacturing sector declined from 29% GDP in 1944 to 15% in 2005.  Canada’s service industry now accounts for 78% of GDP (12% of our G.D.P. is the retail sector, unfortunately).  The agriculture industry has declined but our energy industries are now booming.

I suggest that the following industries will grow as a result of climate change:

  • Waste management: There will be a focus on dealing with carbon capture, nuclear storage, recycling and waste management;
  • Agriculture:  As the climate changes, more arable land will either be arid or underwater.  Canada’s more stable climate will mean that Canada should devote a greater amount of land and other resources to exporting food.
  • Research and development:  We are moving from an information age to a knowledge age.  We must invest in R&D if we are going to compete with other countries;
  • Culture and entertainment:  People will have more leisure time to enjoy programming custom tailored to his or her desires.  Canada can create the content for these specialty channels;
  • Logistics:  We will need to move a large volume of people and resources quickly and efficiently:  I predict that train and ship transport will look more attractive as time goes on.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.  Thanks for listening.

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