Financing the Third Industrial Revolution

The financing of the transition to a new third industrial revolution business model

The governance of a Third Industrial Revolution will need to rely on a new green banking system that can provide funds to regional and municipal green banks that, in turn, can leverage those funds in securing sufficient financing via the issuing of green bonds to invest in scaled green Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure build-outs.

The national government will also provide a wide range of generous incentives (“carrots”) and mandates (“sticks”) to help regions and municipalities expedite the financing of the infrastructure transformation.

Much of the financing of the green bonds is already coming from public and even private pension funds – the largest pool of capital in the world in 2018, worth over $40 trillion. The workers of the world are becoming the primary owners of global investment capital via their public and private pension funds.

Worried over climate change and the prospect of their funds remaining in a fossil fuel industry beset by stranded assets, which could wipe out the retirement funds of millions of Italian workers, pension funds are beginning to divest their funds from the fossil fuel sector and related industries that service and/or depend on it, like the petrochemical industry, and reinvesting in the green opportunities that constitute the smart Third Industrial Revolution economy.

The thing to bear in mind is that the collapse of fossil fuel civilization is inevitable, despite any efforts by the fossil fuel industries to forestall it. Market forces are far more powerful than whatever lobbying maneuvers the fossil fuel industry might entertain.

As mentioned, solar and wind energies are now the cheapest energies in the world, and their fixed costs will continue to plunge on an exponential curve far into the future, and the marginal cost of generating solar and wind energy is nearly zero. Unlike the extraction and refining costs of coal, oil, gas, and uranium, the sun and wind are free.

But the “invisible hand” alone will not steer us into the Age of Resilience. Building a new ecological civilization from the ashes of a collapsed fossil fuel civilization will require a far more collective response that brings together government, industry, and civil society in every municipality and region with the appropriate mix of public capital, market capital, and social capital, to quickly scale up a smart community-wide Green New Deal zero-emission Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure that can take humanity into the next step of its journey on this planet.

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