by Philip Sutton Candidate for Batman and Manager, RSTI http://www.green-innovations.asn.au/
A fast climate-driven economic transition will probably have five key phases:
- building full strength commitment (could be an unknown number of years - probably more than 3 and less than 15)
- planning the transition (1 to 3 years) - this period can be shortened, possibly to one year, if a lot of the needed detailed technical planning is done during the period of commitment uncertainty.
- switching and scaling (3 years max) - further investment in the fossil fuel economy is banned and new production capacity is created by switching current capacity where this is technically feasible and by building new suitable production capacity (only) where this is really needed.
- decommissioning the old economy and growing the new economy (10 to 20 years, or maybe less, depending on the urgency/severity of the climate crisis). The decommissioning would probably involve scrapping the old unconvertible fossil fuel plant and equipment (industrial and consumer) well before the end of its normal economic life).
- rebalancing the transitional economy (about 3 years) - once the old economy has been decommissioned and replaced, the economy needs to be rebalanced to suit the needs of the new 'normal' economy.
This structure is inspired to a large extent by the WW2 economic mobilisation but is not identical to it.
What got me going was that I was thinking about the 'maximum rate of growth' issue that was examined in the 2009 WWF report ( Climate Solutions 2: Low-Carbon Re-Industrialisation ). After playing around with a spreadsheet for a while, it occurred to me that the growth rates would probably fall into two phases. The first phase would be one of deliberate switching and scaling. Starting from a low base, the annual growth rates of the new sectors would probably be extremely high. But once the new industrial sectors had been substantially scaled up, I think the growth rate in the subsequent phase would settle back to a rate that, while higher than the growth of the economy as a whole, was probably not more than about 8 to 12 percent per annum (something like wth rate). (The economic growth rate as a whole in the US economy inan Asian tiger gro 1942 was 12% and in 1943 was 13%. On either side the rates were lower).