Variation in Fossil Fuel Dependency Among Developed Countries and Degrowth
As action is required today and in the near future, though, it is reasonable to assume that production will be organized via some form of a capitalist organization of firms and the motivation of economic actors to achieve monetary profits/savings. In the period of transition to a new energy economy, the government sector and budget will play an enlarged and leading role in financing and regulating the transition.
Targeting net degrowth over a period of years, perhaps a decade, might or might not inhibit the development of the “greener” sectors of the energy and transport economy exactly because these sectors have to play “catch-up” in the area of infrastructure. The most secure way to build out these sectors in terms of minimizing technology risk, is to deploy renewable energy generators, some on a vast scale, heavy and light electric rail infrastructure, electric road and other grid-tied systems not dependent on advances in battery technology or availability of moderately scarce elements like lithium. These systems require as construction materials emissions-intensive steel and concrete on a very large scale. Innovations may cut these emissions substantially though in the foreseeable future not completely. Various commercial interests are claiming they have a breakthrough on the energy storage or generation side which would diminish the need for these investments but currently there is no certain alternative to the creation of some massive earthworks.