Much has been written about the disruptive shifts in many industrial sectors, from retailing, publishing, manufacturing, entertainment, medicine, law, architecture, transport and public services caused by computers, automation and the digital revolution. Since the robotization of automobile production in the 1960s, debates have raged over the social impacts on employment, cities, education, technological obsolescence, socio-economic policies and globalization. Now the two pillars of all economies are falling: energy and finance.
In his recent state-of-the-nation speech, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang acknowledged the impact of environmental, social, and governance— ESG—issues on that country’s economic policies. He announced that the government will “declare war” on pollution. The environmental impact of China’s mainly coal-powered energy generation has been well documented, with levels of toxic air pollution many times higher than accepted safe standards that have negatively affect commerce and health.