Foresight Land Use Futures Project (2010) The Government Office for Science - Socialist Green Utter Tosh
(A couple of snippets).
This is the world of big state versus little state, and what role we want the state to have. There is a growing sense that market solutions – private choices and minimal state involvement – may not be the best path for ensuring that land use continues to support human and other life and delivers wellbeing. Central to this is the question of whether a new economic and business paradigm – in which environmental sustainability and economic growth are compatible – will emerge.
Allowing free markets in land and environmental services seems likely to increase individualism and short-termism, at a time when the collective good and a long-term approach seem important. The UK is closer to the private choice end of the axis. This raises a number of questions about whether it needs to move more towards the (public) end of the axis and, if so, how far and how quickly. Failure to move – or at least to take a longer-term view – could lead to economic and social fragmentation if natural resources are not seen as national strategic assets and if regions therefore choose to keep those assets to themselves (‘Welsh water for the Welsh’ for example).
It seems inevitable that fragmentation can only be avoided through strong governance to ensure sharing of resources.
Over the last couple of years, citizens in the developed economies have been taking on board the message that they need to minimise their carbon footprint, to improve energy efficiency, to consume fewer resources and to be less wasteful.
The current financial crisis has turned these priorities on their head.
Citizens are encouraged to spend their way out of recession; high profile decisions seem to take less account of environmental matters; and short-term crisis management means there is little appetite for debating long-term issues.
If it is true – as the then Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen in March 2009 – that ‘business as usual is dead and green growth is the answer to both our climate and economic problems’, citizens are baffled and bewildered by the lack of concerted effort to tackle the problem.
This means that individuals are also confused about what actions to take. If evidence continues to emerge that suggests the imperative to act is more urgent than had previously been supposed, and if that evidence does not lead to action, this confusion will turn to scepticism or fear.
Citizens need clear messages about the environment and strong leadership about what actions they need to take. Achieving this will need investment in the evidence base and joined-up government – internationally as well as nationally – to lead societal change. Without this coordinated effort, it will be difficult to get agreement on what
should be done and to make the best decisions. It will also be difficult to agree on what trade-offs are acceptable.
And so it goes on for hundreds of pages.