A change in the current living conditions is considered a disadvantage. This is completely understandable: It would be wonderful for people if things could just go on like this. However, this is not the case. There will also be disadvantages for those who can currently decouple themselves from the consequences. The REU currency is intended to take back short-term and selfish advantages and thus promote a sustainable, much more advantageous lifestyle.
Long-term consumer decisions were made under different conditions prior to the introduction of REUs:
In order to increase acceptance, there must be transitional periods. For example, the total REU budget could be generous and then reduced over the years. Governments can also set up investment programs to switch to more resource-efficient products (thermal insulation, heating, incentives to buy cars, etc.). A large number of these programs already exist today, but the REU costs make them much more attractive.
Many of the disadvantages would not arise if decisions were made today and according to the current state of knowledge with ecological foresight. Unfortunately, nobody who can afford it in any way has to take ecological aspects into account; he is currently doing so only for moral reasons. For those who take too little account of environmental aspects, the biggest changes will come with the introduction of REUs, including myself.
It is true that REU forces a more ecological and sustainable economy. But the currency is not blackmail. It is a market-based instrument for ressources with full freedom of choice for counterparties, just as it is for normal money.
No one can force me to buy a car. But when I buy it, I have to pay a classic price today.
No one can force me to buy a resource from the gardener. But when I use the resource, I have to pay a REU price.
Just because resources were previously free of charge and the REU price is now appearing as a new boundary condition, this seems to us to be a constraint. But the opposite is true today: we force all resources from nature. Or to bring it to the point: we steal from ecosystems, we steal from people their basis for life, we steal from future generations.
Ultimately, the REU price is only a mean to illustrate the real constraints arising from the limitations of our planet.
There will be low-value products that also have a small REU price. Especially in comparison to e.g. the CO2 costs of a flight.
An example would be a single plastic straw that I buy together with a cocktail: The cocktail itself (production, transport,) will cost much more REU than the straw. Then why should I give up the straw? Will its REU costs be noticeable?
However, the seller of the plastic straws will have to pay a noticeable REU sum for straws in his balance sheet and hopefully tries to do without them.
For the evaluation of the straw, however, it might not be sufficient to evaluate only the quantity of plastic. From the gardener's point of view, the straw is harmful, superfluous and undesirable. The REU costs could also take these facts into account:
Consumers have to consider two cost objectives after introduction. This adds one dimension to decisions and makes them (even) more complex. On the other hand, ecological aspects must be taken into account and the REU currency makes this as easy and transparent as possible.
In a transitional phase, contrary effects could arise: If initially only fossil fuels are taken into account, areas used for the cultivation of energy crops could increase. Therefore, REU costs should be introduced for land use as early as possible.
It could be, for example, that forest is converted into less ecologically valuable pasture land in order to keep cattle species-appropriate. This could lead to the destruction of a great deal of forest if meat consumption remained unchanged.
Here, too, it would be important to price the devaluation of land as soon as possible with REU, which would then reduce meat consumption.
Like every product and activity, the introduction of the REU also has an ecological price:
The crucial question is whether the REU as a whole is more beneficial or detrimental to ecosystems.
Too rapid changes in behavior would put existing products at a disadvantage and endanger companies and industries. The REU budget and REU costs would have to reduce the rate of change to a tolerable level, but this would still lead to perfect sustainability in the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, there are already many sustainable products and solutions that are not being used at the moment because of the classic costs. These would become more attractive through the REU costs.
Just as resource-intensive products will lose market share, better products will gain market share. The REU will trigger a change with opportunities and risks.
Small companies may not be able to produce so energy-efficiently: You may need more energy, because the process steps are not continuous or coordinated, e.g. use of process heat or combined heat and power plants. Energy saving measures may not be worthwhile because the investment costs are too high. On the other hand, small companies can develop innovative products more quickly and adapt more flexibly to new market opportunities.