Redistributing Wealth to Save the Planet

French economist Thomas Piketty’s latest missive:
Redistributing wealth to save the planet – Le blog de Thomas Piketty

Let’s say it straight out: it is impossible to seriously fight global warming without a profound redistribution of wealth, both within countries and internationally. Those who claim otherwise are lying to the world. And those who claim that redistribution is certainly desirable, sympathetic, etc., but unfortunately technically or politically impossible, are lying just as much. They would be better off defending what they believe in (if they still believe in anything) rather than getting lost in conservative posturing.*

Lula’s victory over the agribusiness camp certainly gives some hope. But it should not obscure the fact that so many voters remain sceptical of the social-ecological left and prefer to rely on the nationalist, anti-migrant right, both in the South and in the North, as the elections in Sweden and Italy have shown. For one simple reason: without a fundamental transformation of the economic system and the distribution of wealth, the social-ecological programme risks turning against the middle and working classes. The good news (so to speak) is that wealth is so concentrated at the top that it is possible to improve the living conditions of the vast majority of the population while combating climate change, provided that we give ourselves the means for an ambitious redistribution. In other words, everyone will naturally have to change their lifestyle profoundly, but the fact is that it is possible to compensate the working and middle classes for these changes, both financially and by giving access to goods and services that are less energy-consuming and more compatible with the survival of the planet (education, health, housing, transport, etc.). This requires a drastic reduction in the level of wealth and income of the richest, and this is the only way to build political majorities to save the planet.

If the above is true; then we are doomed. It would be political suicide to transfer wealth from polluting developed nations to third world nations. Besides the developed nations have demographic issues causing financial stress on maintaining social safety nets & healthcare systems.


There you have it, pushing the socialist agenda with the global warming battering ram.

You have to love a truthful economist!

The Captain


These people, secretly or not so secretly, know that when you transfer wealth to developing nations, eventually war happens. The “secret” part is that they may believe that all those wars could reduce the overall population of the earth … because that is pretty much the only sure way to reverse human-caused climate change (the other kind of climate change that is induced by nature itself is MUCH more difficult to influence).

Let’s say it straight out: it is impossible to seriously fight global warming without a profound reduction in global population.
Not just reducing the growth rate, actual reduction is required.
Every single new person adds to consumption of resources and production of waste.
Technical efficiencies in energy production or re-use of waste will never overcome continued growth.
It’s a finite planet with finite resources.


I think the OP article is overstating the size of the problem and suggesting the wrong solution. The social cost of carbon is now about 10% of World GDP, and this damage will become more obvious every year until the needed investments are made. Extra investment is needed, but has payback. There will be winners (new investments) and losers (stranded costs).

Social cost of carbon: $200 a ton.
World annual CO2 emissions per capita: 5 metric tons
World population: 8 billion
Total annual social cost of carbon: $8 trillion
World GDP: $96 trillion

World energy investment over the next 30 years
Planned: $101 trillion
Needed: $131 trillion
Extra investment needed: $30 trillion
Payback: $61 trillion

World Energy Transitions Outlook: 1.5°C Pathway, June 2021 : “Energy transition investment will have to increase by 30% over planned investment to a total of USD 131 trillion between now and 2050, yet will yield a cumulative payback of at least USD 61 trillion by 2050. Sharp adjustments in capital flows and a reorientation of investments are necessary to align energy with a positive economic and environmental trajectory.”


“A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” - Paul Simon
It is common to project one’s ideas onto the events of the day. For example, back during the covid crash days neo-Marxists saw Covid-19 as confirmation of their theories about the end of capitalism, while the national-sovereignty types welcomed the return of borders and the end of immigration. Catastrophists said we were experiencing nature’s ultimatum.

And so it goes…


What would offer the most bang for the buck in the fight agin global warming?

I would suggest aiding China & India to move from coal to other sources of electricity power generation as those two countries have the largest populations.
CHINA-The US has zero interest in aiding China as we are in an economic war with them. But China itself is moving aggressively to reduce coal power generation by building nuclear power plants, increasing hydro, wind & solar power generation. But as China is increasing it’s electricity power generation new coal are going up also.

INDIA-Is a different story.

Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. It accounts for 55% of the country’s energy need. The country’s industrial heritage was built upon indigenous coal.

Considering the limited reserve potentiality of petroleum & natural gas, eco-conservation restriction on hydel project and geo-political perception of nuclear power, coal will continue to occupy centre-stage of India 's energy scenario.

Indian coal offers a unique ecofriendly fuel source to domestic energy market for the next century and beyond. Hard coal deposit spread over 27 major coalfields, are mainly confined to eastern and south central parts of the the country.(See Coal Reserves).The lignite reserves stand at a level around 36 billion tonnes, of which 90 % occur in the southern State of Tamil Nadu.

Coal is India’s current & future power source for electricity. A world’s effort to aid India to convert from coal in conjunction with the world’s developed nation’s effort to reduce their own coal power generation would seem to be the most effective approach.
India has over a billion people but developed nations use the most electricity per capita.

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From 2021:

From 2018:

From 2015:

From 2013:


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