Dramatic shocks have made humans do things fast that they would have thought impossible or at least very challenging - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Dramatic shocks have made humans do things fast that they would have thought impossible or at least very challenging

Conversely, a gradual increase of pain has rarely moved the needle by much.

COVID of course is the most obvious example, but it is not just the health domain that this has happened. It has happened in energy too.

The oil shock of 1973 made many nations sit up and do something drastic. Denmark for instance reduced its reliance on oil to generate electricity from 65% to just 5% in just 10 years (a good part of the gap was supplied by renewables). Japan’s energy intensity in both industrial and residential segments decreased significantly post Fukushima – while the immediate decrease was owing to the shortfall in supply, it led to a longer term, more sustainable decrease in power demand. There are more examples, but you get my point.

The challenge with climate change is that it is not biting us enough right away. You do not see hundreds dying in front of you today (unless you live in some of those unfortunate islands). You do not have power cuts for 20 hours a day (at least not in most urban regions worldwide). You do not stand in a long queue for hours to fill in petrol (as it happened in the US in 1973).

As things are not biting enough, change is slow.

Is there some way we can make it bite enough so we move faster?

I welcome your thoughts, while I give mine, a rather outlandish one.

My suggestion: Increase the price of everything that is high-carbon dramatically, perhaps five times, for a few months.

By increasing taxes to 500%, I suggest we make petrol cost Rs 500 ($7) a liter, power from coal plants Rs 25 (40 c) a unit, a plastic bag Rs 50 (70 c) and so on – all these for just six months. (And use the tax money to invest in low carbon alternatives).

What do you think?

Think of other ideas by which we can make climate change BITE US NOW – equally or more outlandish ideas are welcome.

Btw, if you think a 500% tax is impossible, Kazakhstan recently proposed to levy a 500% tax on electricity consumed by bitcoin miners to simply drive them away.

See my LinkedIn post on this topic


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