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The Baltic: a dying sea on the doorstep of industrial giants

At a Stockholm seminar on the 18th January held by the Baltic Works Commission,  scientists, government officials and NGOs came together to discuss the dying briny depths on their doorstep: the Baltic Sea. The general consensus is one of emergency where technology provides an as yet unproven ray of hope. This is only if the countries surrounding the Baltic are ready for bold investments, policy changes  and some bold pilot studies. If nothing is done, the nutrients contained in the dead sea floor could flow into the water body and – worst case – cause the whole sea to turn in to a dead algal soup. Read More…

Engaging the Climate Tragedy

Reblogged from strategist Jem Bendell. Sobering.

Professor Jem Bendell

When discussing the sorry state of efforts to address climate change with professionals working on this topic, across sectors, I often hear a reluctance to question whether it is too late to avert catastrophic climate change, or what such a view might mean for the focus of our work. Various objections to this view are raised and prevent open discussion or an evolution of work. Therefore, I decided to deliver a speech at a leading climate business and finance event in Australia, at Griffith University, to seek feedback on my argument that we must now shift focus.

In my keynote, Nov 29th, I’m outlining the following:

  1. There has been some progress on environmental issues in past decades, from reducing pollution, to habitat preservation, to waste management.
  2. Much valiant effort has been made to reduce carbon emissions over the last twenty years.
  3. There have been many steps forward on…

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The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” Delusion

The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” story is based on a long list of misunderstandings and apples to oranges comparisons. Somehow, people seem to believe that our economy of 7.5 billion p…

Source: The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” Delusion

Case Study: Dealing with transition to fossil-free food provision and refugees at the same time

food-securityPLACE: Sweden. Municipal level
SITUATION: Swedish municipalities are facing several security and safety challenges at once. They have to provide shelter and care to the highest influx of refugees and migrants per capita in Europe whilst preparing for the ambitious government-led transition to fossil fuel independence and carbon neutrality by 2050. Food security is at risk too, as Swedish food provision field to plate is fossil-fuel dependent and food waste is high. Sweden is also dependent on food and fodder imports;  farmers are struggling to compete with imports from countries that have lower food safety and animal welfare standards, better soil and growing seasons, and lower costs.
FRAMING QUESTION: How can municipalities work towards a de-fossilised food provision system that reduces waste, manages the influx of migrants and refugees whilst ensuring the farming community can live on what it produces? Read More…

Beyond Physics: Advanced Biology and Climate Change

Reblogging this excellent piece on the difficulties of modelling climate because life influences it.Thanks to Judith Curry.

Climate Etc.

by Clive Hambler

Reflections on the stabilization of Earth’s climate by life.

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The economics of pollution and non-renewable material surcharges

Market based instruments

If renewable solutions were cheaper for firms to use, they would. This is how price signals function to steer the behaviour of firms. For the circular economy to function,  price signals should favour circular products and production methods. In other words, it needs to make better business sense to install circular and renewable energy infrastructure, and to install and use infrastructure that uses recycled materials. Without that, the linear economy –  one that inputs extracted materials and outputs materials as waste  will continue to be the modus operandi of the profitable firm.

This article explores how to use price signals to steer firms’ buying behaviour in a way that keeps the economy stable. Market-based instruments are financial mechanisms that steer price signals to guide the behaviour of firms and markets in general. Read More…

The Community Finance Canvas: commoning in practice

canvas

How can we create alternatives to the current system that:

1. Protect  collective resources, both material and immaterial,  that require a lot of knowledge and know-how?
2. Develop social processes that foster and deepen thriving relationships?
3. Produces in, as Commoning expert Silke  Helfrich calls it, a Commons-Creating Peer Economy, or Commons-Oriented Economy?

Commoning  is less a noun than a verb because it is primarily about the social practices of commoning—acts of mutual support, conflict, negotiation, communication and experimentation that are needed to create systems to manage shared resources. This process blends production (self provisioning), governance, culture, and personal interests into one integrated system. Read More…

Opinion. Trump wins: time to get on with green growth

Stephen Hinton 2016

Photo: Maj-Lis Koivisto

Promising to “make America great again”,  a composed and rather humble Donald Trump held his US presidential victory speech this morning. His stated strategy is to rebuild infrastructure, and to harness the skills and talents of everyone. That includes the many people who voted for him who feel they have been left out up to now. He particularly talked of veterans and made it clear that Americans includes the wide range of ethnic and cultural diversity of all its citizens.

Doubling growth was also something he talked about.

Read More…

How Researchers Could Miss the Real Energy Story

Repost from the excellent blog of actuary Gail Tverberg. Gail has an uncanny ability to spot what is happening in the interface between energy and economy. She has an amazing intellectual capability to model it combined with clear and insightful communication.

Our Finite World

I have been telling a fairly different energy story from most energy researchers. How could I possibly be correct? What have other researchers been missing?

The “standard” approach is to start from the amount of resources that we have of a particular type, for example, oil in the ground, and see how far these resources will go. Growing development of technology seems to allow increasing amounts of these resources to be extracted. Thus, limits seem to be farther and farther in the distance, especially if a person starts out with an optimistic bias. It is easy to get this optimistic bias, with all research funds going in the direction of, “What can we do to solve our energy problems?”

Approaches for forecasting future supply problems that start from the amount of resources in the ground suffer from the problem that it is hard to draw a sharp line regarding…

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Opinion: Ericsson divorces Sweden and kills technology

Technology died today. Not the machines, but the paradigm. The belief that delivering high-tech creates jobs, prosperity and shareholder value got killed. The news hit this morning in Sweden’s newspaper SVD among others, that Sweden’s flagship, Ericsson, is shedding thousands of jobs and shutting down manufacturing in Sweden. The decision is sending shock-waves through the municipalities where Ericsson units are one of the largest employers. The likely effect is that whole communities will suffer in a domino effect decimating local suppliers then local services then house prices. And it’s probably the best thing to happen to Sweden for a long while. More on that later. First to the situation. Read More…