Pressure mounts on governments, Walter Stahel forthcoming book shows different options to implement circular economy

Bottom-up pressure mounts on governments to stop the GHG emissions causing global warming, and implement the only documented solution – The Circular Economy:

Economic research by off-the-mainstream scientist, such as the reports by Anders Wijkman and Kristian Skanberg on “The Circular Economy and Benefits for Society - Jobs and Climate Clear Winners in an Economy based on Renewable Energy and Resource Efficiency”. The reports analysed the macro-economic impact of a mature circular industrial economy for the Czech Republic, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden. All reports show that a nation-wide shift to a circular industrial economy would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 66 percent and increase the number of jobs at national level by more than 4 percent.

Wijkman, Anders and Skanberg, Kristian (2016) The Circular Economy and Benefits for Society Jobs and Climate Clear Winners in an Economy Based on Renewable Energy and Resource Efficiency. The Club of Rome, Winterthur. Click here for the PDF

Naming and shaming by citizens, such as the French “yellow vests” (gilets jaunes) movement with the poverty-related slogan “the end of the month problems are closer than the end of the world’s”, and the “Fridays For Future – the school strike” movement among schoolchildren and students in Europe. Both movements were started in 2018 by a single person and spread like wildfires, rapidly and uncontrollable by authorities.

‘Legal’ attacks on governments’ liability for not honouring their international commitments. Ten years ago, a group of people in Geneva discussed suing the governments that had signed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, but not fulfilled their promise, for “abandoning a planet in distress”. The idea was dropped for a lack of court to file the claim. Since 2015, similar actions have been undertaken in the USA and Netherlands, the latter ending with a conviction of the Dutch government.

In Summer 2018, the ‘protect the Planet’ movement attacked the European Union for violation of the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. In December 2018, several French NGOs under the umbrella of Notre affaire à tous’ attacked the French government under the European Convention on Human Rights, for not protecting the French population against the health impact of climate change and for violating its climate engagements signed at COP 21 in Paris.

Greenpeace, Oxfam, l’association Notre affaire à tous, and Fondation pour la Nature et pour l’Homme. L'État français va faire l'objet d'un recours en justice pour action insuffisante contre le réchauffement climatique par plusieurs ONG plaignantes, qui ont adressé lundi un document préalable en ce sens au président Emmanuel Macron et au gouvernement français.

In my forthcoming book «The circular economy – a user’s guide» (Routledge, 2019), I show detailed options and opportunities for individual users, economic actors and policymakers to rapidly implement the circular economy and harvest the Benefits for Society identified by Wijkman and Skanberg in their 2016 reports, largely ignored so far by policymakers.

Walter R. Stahel, Geneva 19 January 2019