Is Environmentalism also Capitalism?

The last two decades have seen an increasing interest in clean energy technologies. Governments, research organizations as well as private enterprises worldwide are fervently searching for the Holy Grail that will help transition to an economy which is less destructive for the planet we inhabit.

On the other hand, little attention has been paid towards improving energy efficiency. Sure you have obscure departments in governmental organizations which are seemingly involved in promoting it, but they pale in comparison to the efforts we expend in researching how we can generate more energy with a smaller carbon footprint.

Surely reducing energy consumption is a more sensible approach than thinking of ways to generate additional energy, clean as it may be? After all, the cheapest energy is the one that is not required at all. Why then are we not spending more time and focus on these small steps that would bring about the biggest gains?

Because there’s one little problem with that approach – it doesn’t create any jobs and doesn’t need any huge infrastructure build-ups.  It involves little selling and no big corporations benefit from it. The only one profiting is you, the customer; your gain is the energy utilities’ loss. For lesser energy consumption usually results in a lower GDP – our metric for ‘Growth’.  And in our capitalist society’s scheme of things, that just doesn’t fit. 

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