Carbon Price

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Institutions for Sustainability

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MIT Climate CoLab 2015

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Global Rewards for Climate Mitigation

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Paper and Interview

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Copyright ©2014-2016 Delton Chen and Center for Regenerative Community Solutions. All Rights Reserved
Please cite this page as:
Chen, D. B (2016). Global 4C – Monetary Policy for Climate Change Mitigation.
Youtube videos cited in this webpage do not imply endorsement of Global 4C by the people in those videos or anybody associated with those videos.


This Island World: A Mayan Story for the 21st Century 


The Global 4C team is seeking investors and a producer for this film. Dr. Pasquale Calone is our film consultant. Please email Dr. Pasquale Calone or Dr. Delton Chen (Project Coordinator) to discuss the film or to request a copy of the film treatment (Part 1). Please state the nature of your enquiry.


Part 1 – Animated story set in an ancient Mayan society

The film takes a major step forward by offering a practical new approach to environmental management. The film presents the new approach through a Mayan fable about money, markets, systems, and humanity’s relationship with nature. The film’s story will be a metaphor for the major environmental, economic, social and political problems that are troubling our modern civilisation.


‘This Island World’ is a message of hope. A new kind of money that will shine through the darkness of politics, greed and ideology, and heal our relationship with nature.


The film may be broken into two distinct parts. Part 1 will be the animated story or fable, titled “This Island World”. The story will explain a new monetary policy. Part 2 of the film (sequel) will be a documentary of expert interviews. The interviews will create a discussion about existential global problems and the new monetary policy presented in Part 1. Relevant discussion topics are introduced below. The actual topics for discussion may be determined at a time closer to film production.

Part 2 – Expert discussion of global issues and a proposed new monetary system

(Topic 1) Currency and Narrative

There is a disconnect between the physical reality of climate change and the political narrative at COP21. This disconnect in the narrative occurs because our civilisation is comprised of four domains: (i) the physical and natural world, (ii) the conscious mind, (iii) the political system, and (iv) the economic system. These four domains interact and influence each other, but each domain is separated by unique rules, values, and methods. There is a missing tool in our civilisation that can connect each of the four domains with a common narrative. The tool that is missing is believed to be a new type of currency: the service currency. A proposal for a world service currency was first presented by Chen et al. (draft, 2015), including a unit of account based on carbon standard for ecosystem services.




(Topic 2) Currency and Systems

Monetary theory points towards a need for more balance between efficiency and diversity in the economy. A rebalancing of efficiency-and-diversity in the economy is advocated by Bernard Lietaer and others. The Global 4C team has published a new theory called Market Policy Dualism that formally describes the need for complementary market-based policies to trigger socio-economic change and to evolve civilisation. An example would be a combination of a carbon tax with a carbon reward to aggregate price signals and create positive/dynamic feedbacks. Positive feedbacks within civilisation will be needed to achieve deep decarbonisation.

“A recent scientific breakthrough provides evidence that a monopoly of one single type of currency is a systemic cause for the prevailing monetary and financial instability. In fact, it will be shown that, far from being a disturbance, a variety of monetary media is necessary for economic and financial stability in a society. This conclusion stems from a structural flaw in our modern monetary system, a flaw that has played an unacknowledged role in every crash since the Dutch tulip bubble burst in 1637, including the one we are experiencing now!”

– Bernard Lietaer (From “Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond”, Chapter 7).



“Market policy dualism advocates that complementary policies (e.g. penalties and rewards) be combined to improve social welfare. Key advantages of Global 4C are assumed to be (a) an aggregation of complementary price signals, and (b) emergence of dynamic feedbacks in terms of reduced political delay, improved cooperation, greater innovation, more fluid financial planning, global participation, decentralization of networks, social transformation, and improved market efficiency.”

– Chen D., J. Cloud and J. van der Beek (2015). “Global 4C: World Monetary Union for Climate Change Mitigation. 2015 Canberra Conference on Earth System Governance: ’Democracy and Resilience in the Anthropocene’. Delton B. Chen, Jonathan Cloud, Joel van der Beek (November 20, 2015).”.




(Topic 3) Currency and Taxes

A Brazilian indigenous leader claims that the carbon trading scheme, known as REDD, is a false solution to climate change. This topic is confusing because carbon trading should, in theory, encourage bio-sequestration and reduce pollution. The underlying problem is that to create the ‘price on carbon’ some form of taxation or penalty-based regulation is needed. If taxation and regulations with penalties are the only major economic instruments adopted for achieving a price signal, then the underlying economic instruments will be based on a ‘negative store of value’. Such instruments cannot be used to create genuine currencies, because effective currencies require a ‘positive store of value’ upon issuance.

Whilst carbon taxes and regulations are absolutely necessary for limiting pollution and stopping bad actors, the penalty-based approaches ignore the possibility that genuine currencies and reward-based schemes are also needed to manage civilisation and the economy. This deeper understanding derives from the fact that civilisation is a ‘complex’ system, and is comprised of more than just the economy (e.g. refer Topic 1). Also, economists are not familiar with currencies that are designed with a unit of account based on services. The film will explain how rewards can be introduced into an economy as a new currency system for ecosystem services. The new approach will avoid political conflict and delay, and it can be used to manage the economy and civilisation as a complex system.

The proposed new currency system will create new social and information networks that are consistent with plant-based life (refer the World Tree) because these new networks will be decentralised in terms of decision-making and intelligence. In practical terms, this means giving back authority to indigenous people to organise themselves for managing resources and maximising welfare. More specifically, the new currency can be provided as micro-payments directly to community members, and this will reduce corruption, free-riding, and it will also limit political power through decentralisation. The new currency will help indigenous people to protect their local economies, ecosystems, and it will simultaneously provide the financial incentives that are needed for a massive global program to bio-sequester carbon through avoided deforestation, reforestation, agroforestry, and various other land management practices.




(Topic 4) Currency and Intelligence

The new theoretical work of Global 4C proposes a major new concept – that the information networks for a world currency system based on a Carbon Monetary Standard can create new de-centralised information networks that are similar in form and function to those networks that comprise living plants. This is one reason why the World Tree is used as a metaphor for a digital world currency system that can finance mitigation globally. Recent studies of forests show that living trees are actually ‘intelligent’ and communicate with each other through their root systems. The intelligent networks within and between trees allow them to decentralise decision-making, regenerate, and coordinate certain biological functions. Other studies at the macro-scale have found that whole forests, such as the forests in the Amazon of Brazil, are active in regulating rainfall and climate. We therefore can see a connection between the micro-scale network structure of individual plants and the macro-scale behaviour of bio-regions in regulating the climate. The new world currency system could be viewed as a World Tree, because it will create a ‘plant-like’ network of information, value, and coordination through the modern techno-sphere.





(Topic 5) Currency and Technology

The world needs to accelerate a ‘Third Industrial Revolution’ to transform energy systems and the economy. A safer future will be found in converging communications systems (Internet) with distributed renewable energy, and a general transition to distributed and collaborative networks.




(Topic 6) Currency and Bitcoin

Bitcoin related technologies could be the next internet, says Bank of England. As mentioned in the YouTube video presented below, Bitcoin is both a ‘currency’ and a ‘currency ledger’. Global 4C takes this concept to the next level, by advocating that the administrative system (the World Tree) also be used to administer the assessments of greenhouse gas mitigation and associated trading and social activity. Hence, we adopt two iconic names: the Solar Dollar, which is the currency, and the World Tree, which is the decentralised administrative system.

“The Bank of England has unveiled analysis of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that suggests electronic money could cause a tectonic shift in the payments industry… The idea of countries launching their own electronic currencies has gained pace in recent weeks, as Yanis Varoufakis became Greece’s newest finance minister. The Greek-born economist has previously suggested that “the technology of Bitcoin, if suitably adapted, can be employed profitably in the eurozone as a weapon against deflation“.”

The Telegraph. (25 Feb 2015)



(Topic 7) Currency and Value

Mike Maloney is well known for his discussion of money and gold. In philosophy, clear definitions of ‘money’ and ‘currency’ are needed. In the expert discussion of Part 2 of the proposed film, the idea of gold as currency will be discussed to explain why value ultimately depends on context. There are distinctly different views about what makes a good currency, and so the expert discussion will define the essential dimensions of money, and the essential functions of currency. The expert discussion will discuss why the new currency system that is presented in Part 1 of the film (the animation) could bring intrinsic ecological value directly into the economic system.




(Topic 8) Currency and Consciousness

Currency systems structure civilisation because they influence the economy, politics, the natural world, and social psychology. Currencies influence the way that people behave and think, and so they can also influence and limit consciousness. Without a new monetary system it appears unlikely that civilisation could become sustainable, because the current system does not place sufficient value on greenhouse gases, the climate system, or ecosystems.





(Topic 9) Currency and Survival

Natural and social scientists have developed a model, called the ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, that shows how a ‘perfect storm’ of crises could unravel the global system. The HANDY model is another warning of ‘collapse’ by showing that the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle. There are many historical examples of civilisational disruption and collapse. The HANDY study challenges the idea that new technologies for increased efficiency will be enough to resolve our environmental and economic challenges. These findings about efficiency are also supported by Tim Garrett who developed a thermodynamic model of the global economy.

“Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”

The Guardian (15 March 2014)

Long-term sustainability and survival are influenced by existing political institutions and economic systems. When the existing institutions and social order are in conflict with the longer-term goal of sustainability, conflict will likely result. The following YouTube videos discuss this issue as it applies to the pre-Columbian Mayan civilisation. Certain of the historical facts surrounding the Mayan collapse will also be brought into the animated story in Part 1.



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