The quote is from none other than Mahatma Gandhi, who was in turn quoted by the IPCC-chair, Rajendra Pachauri, when he received the Nobel Peace Prize last year. In the past, the statement might have been overlooked as being a somewhat idealistic point of view, but in the light of climate change, the truth becomes very evident. The question, however, is what sort of conclusion we have to draw and what the lessons to be learned are.
One lesson could be that we have to regard our economic organisation differently. Also, in this respect, we have been supplied evidence that our reliance on the market as an automatic function that just delivers is a bit naïve.
It was supposed that the emission rights given to energy suppliers should provide an incentive to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The latest investigation made by Point Carbon and published by WWF, however, shows that the windfall profits from the free allocations are high. Estimated to be in the region of 20-75 B Euros in this trading period, a sum that is paid by the customers and might give them some incentive to reduce their consumption, but not very much of an incentive to the generators. There is said to be evidence to the contrary for them, since there are several plans to expand the use of fossil-fuelled power.
If Nobel Prizes have any significance in this matter, it should be noted that the price to the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Dr Muhammad Yunus, could indicate a different view of organisation is more efficient. The micro credits that this bank provides show that the force in the development from the local economies is strong. The idea is not totally unlike those of Gandhi! It seems quite imperative that the industrialised world begins to consider, not only different technologies and lifestyles, but also different mind-sets!