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6          Effects and consequences

 

6.1          Life Cycle Assessments

 

In practice, it is very difficult to calculate comprehensive and correct life cycle resource consumption. The data basis is often outdated or only considers partial aspects, such as energy consumption. They are often too sweeping and do not allow the evaluation of similar products. You can find calculations for the energy requirement in the manufacture, transport, storage, sale and disposal (grey energy) of different products, but not for a specific product of a particular manufacturer. For example, there is an estimated energy requirement of 13-16 kWh to produce one kilogram of aluminum. [15]. However, it is not clear to the buyer which form of energy has been used by the specific producer (hydropower, fossil fuels, etc.), how efficient his facilities are or whether he is processing recycled aluminum. In addition the evaluation should consider:

  • Damage caused by bauxite mining
  • Emission of toxic substances during further processing
  • Energy expenditure for transport

 

The REU resource price automatically results in individual life cycle assessments for each product. Just as the individual cash prize is formed for each product.

 

6.2          Rebound effects are prevented

 

There will be fewer rebound effects. If the buyer saves REU when purchasing an environmentally friendly product, he may use this as a justification for purchasing additional products, but he will still have to pay for their environmental footprint from his limited REU. In sum, he will only be able to consume as many resources as his REU budgets allows to.

 

6.3          Would REU endanger prosperity?

 

The aim of the REU currency is not to endanger but to secure lasting prosperity. The real threat to prosperity comes from the ever faster growing demand for resources and the destruction of ecosystems.

 

The REU currency would trigger far-reaching changes, also to the detriment of individuals, especially where resources are wasted.

 

On the other hand there will be many new opportunities and business models emerge. For example, there would be incentives to perfect recycling systems, see also 6.7.

 

There are several ways to make the transition as smooth as possible: How quickly are REUs introduced, how are resources evaluated, how large is the REU budget?

 

Certainly same products and production methods would have to change or even disappear. But this is absolutely necessary, would be intended and a success of the REU currency.

 

6.4          Workplaces

 

Resource-intensive production methods could become cheaper again through the use of labor.

 

6.5          Is the world getting fairer?

 

At the moment few industrialized countries consume the largest part of all resources at the expense of all mankind. If the REU budget is distributed equally to all people, wealthy people would have to buy REU from less wealthy ones. The price would be regulated by the market. Morally this is not perfect, but poorer people would have at least a small advantage. In the current system, poor people only have disadvantages.

 

The whole idea aims to conserve the environment and resources and to stabilize ecosystems. In the end, all people benefit from better livelihoods and not just a few wealthy people. By protecting the garden, the gardener also protects people. It indirectly represents the interests of all people and improves justice.

 

6.6          Individual options for action

 

First of all, everyone has the opportunity to save resources and thus REU. This is the most immediate and fastest option. At the same time, this is also the desired option, because in the long term we must save resources very consistently in order to become sustainable.

 

Depending on income, various situations arise:

 

6.6.1          Balanced ratio of REU and monetary budget

 

If the ratio of REU to classical income is balanced, all products can be paid with the disposable income and the REU budget. Sustainability already exists here if the budget corresponds to the surplus of resources. Nevertheless, this person will try to save REU as a precaution. If money costs are saved at the same time, he can buy further products with the saved REU, but this does not change his sustainability balance.

 

6.6.2          REU surplus

 

If there is a REU surplus, fewer products can be purchased due to the limited income. This human being lives so sustainably that the ecosystems even improve again. If he wants, he can sell parts of the REU budget. For ecological reasons, he might hold back his REU surplus, as these resources would then not be consumed and the ecosystems would be strengthened.


He could also make the surplus available to promote ecological projects that also cause some REU costs at the beginning. As shown in 3.1, each activity consumes resources again. Even if an area is reforested, small resources are used: energy to get into the area, greenhouses to grow the seedlings, fences to protect the young trees, etc.

 

6.6.3          Surplus Money

 

Those who could buy more products with their classic money, but do not have enough REU, have these additional possibilities, whereby the resource saving mentioned at the beginning would be preferable:

 

He could use his classic money to strengthen ecosystems. The improved ecosystems will produce additional resources for that he may receive REU. It is important that he does not receive the REU in advance on something that does not yet exist. If, for example, he reforests an area, it will of course not immediately discard resources. If the forest is grown and produces resources, they are not paid 1:1 in REU, because then the environment would not be helped in total: He'll be using up resources elsewhere with the REUs.

 

As last option he can buy REU from other people. The price would be formed by supply and demand.

 

 

6.6.4          Money and REU Shortage

 

For various reasons the money budget can be just enough to live on, but the REU budget would not be sufficient.

As an example the apartment for rent has a very poor thermal insulation: The rent is affordable but although the tenant uses the heating sensibly, the REU budget may be too low. The tenant cannot enforce better thermal insulation.

 

Or in another situation the workplace can only be reached by car and there are no alternatives (economical vehicle, car pools, public transport, a move is definitely excluded). The travelling REU costs may be high.

The characteristic feature of these two examples is that the situation can only be improved by other people or institutions.

Buildings would have to be renovated through subsidies and laws. The control mechanisms through a high REU price fails when there is a shortage of affordable housing, because even poorly insulated housing can be rented at high cost. This problem already exists today: landlords do not necessarily have an interest in improving thermal insulation. Perhaps the landlord should receive a portion of the saved REU costs from the tenants as an incentive for a limited period of time after heat insulation has been completed.

This means that those who have the power to reduce the consumption of resources should be rewarded or, as is already customary today, legally obliged to do so.

 

An expansion of public transport could help with commuter traffic: In terms of REU costs, local public transport would be much more economical in REU and could also achieve a higher classic fare, so that the profitability of less attractive routes would also increase in terms of classic money.


If an apartment is rented far away from work for economic reasons, everyone must decide for themselves what disadvantages they can put up with for a lower rent. The higher REU costs would only be an additional partial aspect of the previous criteria (incidental expenses, rent, time expenditure, location, size, environment, etc.).

Hardship cases would have to be particularly balanced out.

 

6.7          What effects, ideas and products could arise?

 

The new currency would bring about many changes. It will disadvantage or favor products and is a strong driver of innovation.

  • Long-lasting, resource-saving products and processes are invented and used.
  • used goods are directly reused (Second-Hand)
  • Waste is avoided (agriculture, food, private households, industry, etc.). The throwaway society is being pushed back.
  • Products are materially recycled
  • Waste is recognized as raw material
  • Deposit systems are strengthened
  • Repairs will be economical again and jobs will be created
  • Product warranties will no longer be limited in time, but will depend on the service life (e.g. operating hours of a washing machine). In this way, the buyer can evaluate how many REU are incurred per hour of use and take the total cost of ownership (in REU) into account when choosing a product.
  • resource-intensive goods are shared (e.g. car sharing)
  • Products are not thrown away for irrelevant reasons and are not newly purchased. (design, taste, trends, slight defects, or simply because of the news value, etc.)
  • Human labor is re-evaluated as lower REU costs are incurred. For example, a cleaning robot could cost more REU than cleaning personnel cause.
  • new jobs will be created to maintain and care for ecosystems
  • Products allow upgrades. Why not upgrade a working car with a more economical drive or convert it to an electric one? The REU balance would make the more economical alternative visible.
  • recycling and repair aspects would be taken into account as early as the product design stage
  • Change of awareness: Every activity and every product has its REU price and everyone must consider whether it justifies the REU costs.

 

6.7.1          Example: CO2 reduction in steel production

 

I'm impressed by the efforts taken in the steel industry to use hydrogen from regenerative sources, for example at the Salzgitter AG. [16]. The fact that there are such ideas and approaches in this specific industrial sector gives hope that there are also solutions in many, much less problematic areas. The question of the cost-effectiveness of hydrogen production for steel production alone remains unresolved because the consumption of fossil fuels is not properly assessed. In this case, the REU currency would change circumstances in favor of more sustainable procedures.

 

6.8          Effects on current environmental problems

 

REU is a general concept designed to protect all resources comprehensively. It is not a narrow gauge measure to solve a concrete problem X and perhaps create new problems or overlook others (example biofuel and palm oil plantations). With the general goal of saving resources even problems that are still unknown are solved or mitigated.

 

If one had had to pay REU for the ecological devaluation of the jungle, the problem of palm oil plantations would not have been so serious now or would not have arisen at all. Instead, they would have immediately optimized in the right places, the engine and vehicle technology as well as the traffic systems.

 

For this reason, the following chapter headings are placeholders only. Usually the statement "The resource / damage is evaluated in REU, so that its consumption / damage is reduced to a sustainable level" is sufficient.

 

When environmental problems are reported in the news, it is very interesting to consider how the REU currency could impact, whether the resources have already been taken into account or how the REU concept needs to be expanded in order to defuse this environmental problem with market economy means. Try it yourself. I am often amazed at how many problems are revealed with a REU currency, and that the currency may be a chance to solve them.

 

6.8.1          Carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases

 

6.8.2          Land use

 

6.8.3          Inherited burdens

 

Contaminated sites (rubbish dumps, pollution, clear cutting, etc.) are a good option to earn REU with the use of normal money. The gardener will estimate the resource surpluses that have arisen and pay out some REU to those who have regenerated or detoxified the ecosystems.

 

6.8.4          Devaluation of ecosystems

 

6.8.5          Toxic substances in soil, groundwater and air

 

See contaminated sites. Pollution would cause REU costs.

 

6.8.6          Mass livestock farming with antibiotics, phosphate introduction

 

6.8.7          Drinking water pollution, waste

 

6.8.8          Steppe formation, desertification

 

If additional REU can be earned by regenerating natural systems, i.e. it would be attractive to reforest areas. Biological devaluation of land will be limited by REU costs.

 

6.8.9         Air quality

 

6.8.10      Consumption and scarcity of raw materials

 

6.8.11      Reduction of biodiversity

 

6.8.12      Waste (plastics, filter residues,etc.)

 

Copyright © 2019 | Martin Huck | E-Mail: info@resource-equivalent-unit.de

 
 
 
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