Western industrialism has achieved miracles, promoting unprecedented levels of prosperity and raising millions around the world out of poverty. Industrial capitalism is now diffusing throughout the East. Japan, the four Tigers (Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong) and China are all incorporating themselves into the global industrial world. India, Brazil and many others are expected to follow the same course. But as China, India and other industrializing giants grow, they confront an inconvenient truth: they cannot rely on the Western industrial development model of fossil-fueled energy systems (resource throughput rather than circularity and generic finance) because these methods cause extreme spoliation of the environment and raise energy security, resource security and global warming concerns.

By necessity, a new approach to environmentally conscious development is already emerging in the East, with China leading the way in building a green industry at scale. As opposed to Western zero-growth advocates and free-market environmentalists, it can be argued that a more sustainable capitalism is being developed in China – to counter black developmental model based on coal. This new ‘green growth’ model of development, being perfected in China and now being emulated in India, Brazil, South Africa (and eventually by industrializing countries elsewhere), as well as by advanced industrial countries such as Germany, looks to become the new norm in the twenty-first century. Its core advantages are the energy security and resource security that are generated.

The British scientist James Lovelock has done the world an enormous service by formulating the theory of a ‘living earth’ named Gaia, where life self-regulates itself and the planet by keeping the atmospheric environment more or less constant, and likewise the environment of the oceans. In China’s Green Shift, Global Green Shift, Mathews proposes a way in which Gaia (a product of the processes of the earth) can be complemented by Ceres (our own creation of a renewable energy and circular economy system). Can these two concepts of how the earth works, represented by two powerful deities, be reconciled? While Lovelock is pessimistic, asserting that Gaia will look after herself and that if we survive at all it is likely to be as a greatly diminished industrial civilization, numbering no more than one billion people, Mathews argues in this book why he believes this prognosis to be mistaken. Mathews maintains that the changes that ‘we’ are driving, as a species, represent a viable way forward. They give us a chance of reconciling economy with ecology – or Ceres with Gaia.

John A. Mathews is a management strategy scholar who has influenced global policies on the greening of industry.

August 28, 2017

Multiple media outlets carry the news today that Shenhua Group, China’s largest coal company, and China Guodian Corp, one of its largest power generators, are to merge – according to an announcement from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. The merged entity will have assets of RMB 1.8 trillion (US$ 271 billion),...

August 18, 2017

In Global Green Shift the point is made repeatedly that it is scale of deployment of green energy systems like wind power and solar power that helps drive down their costs, making renewable systems more accessible to countries and industries that are not using them or making insufficient use of them at the moment. Deployment is viewed in GGS...

August 12, 2017

Huffington Post carries an article today by Carl Pope demonstrating how subsidies paid by governments to support the fossil fuel industry continue to vastly outrank subsidies paid to renewable energy industries. The article can be fund here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/subsidizing-the-fossil-fuel-end-game-beyond-incoherence_us_598deee...

August 12, 2017

Sung-Young Kim and I posted our commentary piece today at Project Syndicate: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/south-korea-taiwan-end-nuclear-power-by-sung-young-kim-and-john-a--mathews-2017-08

Our piece notes the significant move away from nuclear power and towards renewables in both Korea and Taiwan, two of the former staunchest s...

August 10, 2017

It’s hard to keep up with the news on the decline of fossil fuels, so quickly does one story follow another. Keith Williams, a former proteomics professor at Macquarie University, has been a prominent follower of the trends. He (correctly) predicted the demise of Peabody, based on their belief that they were the best at coal and that coal was...

August 8, 2017

While the Moroccan plan to build one of the world’s largest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants at Noor Ouarzazate has received much publicity, and was discussed at length in Chapter 7 in Global Green Shift, a new twist has been added to the story to give it added relevance. In the (northern) summer of 2017 the Spanish firm Abengoa announce...

August 2, 2017

In yesterday’s Financial Times, Helen Wong, CEO for Greater China of the HSBC, outlines the economic reasons why China and India are turning green.

(https://www.ft.com/content/3e6ac1dc-75e1-11e7-90c0-90a9d1bc9691)

She covers the familiar bases – that it is immediate pollution problems that are driving the shift, encompassing not just the build-...

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