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Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Rio+20: Tim Jackson on how fear led world leaders to betray green economy

Rio+20: Tim Jackson on how fear led world leaders to betray green economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The author of Prosperity Without Growth says that despite a staggering lack of responsibility from politicians, there is still a route to a better economic system...

 

Critical assessment in the Guardian by UK professor Tim Jackson.

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The future we really want: Survival 2100

The future we really want: Survival 2100 | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"In a more rational world, political leaders might come together in a special forum to acknowledge the nature and severity of the crisis and to establish the institutional and procedural basis for a worldwide “Survival 2100” project."

 

Author William Rees is the co-father of the ecological footprint. His absolute must-read "Project Survival 2100" article in Solutions is surely one of the best efforts to define the contours of a blueprint for the real sustainability revolution humanity needs. It is way more realistic than the superficial and unambitious gobbledegook of the Future we want Rio+20 final declaration.

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Earth 'risks irreversible change'

Earth 'risks irreversible change' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Humanity's path is anything but sustainable, the UN Environment Programme warns, as scientists suggest life may be heading for irreversible change.

 

In the run-up to Rio+20 the UN has presented its 5th Global Environmental Outlook. Its analysis is gloomy and correct, its solutions disappointing because it does not have the courage to point to the real planet-killers: casino capitalism, growing inequalities and runaway population growth.

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Rio+20: A Momentum for Resource Economics

Rio+20: A Momentum for Resource Economics | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Growth. It's not about plant growth, hair growth or growth in quality of life, it's about economic growth. And the kind that is measured in GDP. However, Rio+20 might mark a paradigm shift in the way we measure growth and wealth.

 

This article on Rio+20 in the Huffington Post demonstrates clearly how difficult it is to end our obsession with "growth" as the number one political priority. "Intelligent" growth, a "paradigm shift in the way we measure growth and wealth"... do all these phrases really put us on track for a new destination or do we just blind ourselves with nice rhetoric?

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Time is ripe for a global commitment on mandatory reporting at Rio+20

Time is ripe for a global commitment on mandatory reporting at Rio+20 | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Voluntary initiatives are not enough: a global agreement on reporting is needed to make ambitions on sustainability a reality...

 

I have started to become quite sceptical on this issue. As long as the power of the financial sector over government is not broken, even better and mandatory sustainability reporting alone will not help.

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Do we live in a 'green economy'? New report assesses progress in Europe — European Environment Agency (EEA)

Despite progress in some areas, Europe must do more to create the 'green economy' needed for the continent to become sustainable, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
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New World Bank report urges governments to go for inclusive green growth

New World Bank report urges governments to go for inclusive green growth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Inclusive green growth is the pathway to sustainable development. It is the only way to reconcile the rapid growth required to bring developing countries to the level of prosperity to which they aspire, meet the needs of the more than 1 billion people still living in poverty, and fulfill the global imperative of a better environment."

 

In the run-up to Rio+20, another "green growth" reports which remains locked into the myth of "delinking" and efficiency instead of seriously considering the need to question the nature of growth and the need for radical redistribution of wealth.

 

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U.N. Fails to Finalise Rio+20 Plan on Sustainable Future

After two weeks of closed door negotiations, a U.N. preparatory committee (PrepCom) has failed to reach consensus on a global plan of action, titled "The Future We Want," to be adopted by a summit meeting of world leaders mid-June in Brazil.

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Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe

Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Not technological innovation but fundamental social engineering and a radical revamping of global governance insitutions are needed to deal with the world's unsustainability crisis.

 

Gary Stix asks the right questions in this Scientific American blog article building on a scientific article which appeared this week in Science magazine.

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New report: Act NOW to get through 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems'

New report: Act NOW to get through 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies.

 

This absolute must-read report urges political and economic leaders to go beyond GDP, bury the myth of perpetual growth and to start the fundamental fight against poverty and social inequalities.

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On the Road Back to Rio, Green Direction Has Been Lost

On the Road Back to Rio, Green Direction Has Been Lost | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Twenty years ago, an historic environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro produced groundbreaking treaties and high hopes that pressing issues would be addressed. But as organizers prepare for the Rio+20 conference in June, there is little on the agenda to suggest any substantive action will be taken.

 

Brilliant and realistic analysis by New Scientist's Fred Pearce on the chances of Rio+20 to solve any of the unsustainability challenges.

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'Go sustainable, be responsible! European civil society on the road to Rio+20'

'Go sustainable, be responsible! European civil society on the road to Rio+20' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The EESC conference 'Go sustainable, be responsible! European civil society on the road to Rio+20' on 7-8 February 2012 in Brussels is intended to voice European civil society's positions on Rio+20 and help make Rio+20 a success. The conference is aimed at participants from European civil society associations, decision-makers, EU officials and public officials.

 

I will have the pleasure to moderate several debates in the context of this top conference on Rio+20 this week in Brussels. LiveTweets and LiveStreaming will be available.

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Governments need to play a key role in aligning business and sustainability

Governments need to play a key role in aligning business and sustainability | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The new UN report on global sustainability signposts some of the big policy moves needed to drive the economy on to a sustainable path...

 

Simon Zadek evaluates the recent UN Sustainability Panel's report in preparation for Rio+20.

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Rio+20 draft text is 283 paragraphs of fluff

Rio+20 draft text is 283 paragraphs of fluff | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
George Monbiot: World leaders have spent 20 years bracing themselves to express 'deep concern' about the world's environmental crises, but not to do anything about them...

 

I agree with Monbiot. History will look back in 2100 to this event as the final failure of several generations of policymakers and business leaders who could have prevented collapse. To be forgotten as soon as possible. One thing is certain: there will not be a Rio+40.

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"Green Unilateralism"

Rather than seeking to contain this unilateralism, world leaders should leverage it in pursuit of global public goods. Such a strategy’s success depends on three factors: a focus on a small number of big-ticket national and regional actions, adequate policy leverage over these actions, and international coalitions to steer them along a legitimate path.

 

Realistic assessment by Simon Zadek of what we can and should expect from Rio+20: no global consensus but targeted unilateral steps towards sustainability.

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The Jobs Potential of a Shift towards a low-carbon Economy

The Jobs Potential of a Shift towards a low-carbon Economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The report argues that the impact of a transition towards a greener economy on labour markets will extend far beyond the creation of new green jobs, such as those related to renewable energy. This transition will create new opportunities for workers, but also new risks. The challenge for labour market and skill policies is to maximise the benefits for workers and help assure a fair sharing of adjustment costs, while also supporting broader green growth policies (e.g. by minimising skill bottlenecks).

 

This new OECD report also looks at the need to re-allocate workers from declining brown industries to growing green ones and demands serious reforms of the tax and benefit systems for workers.

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Jorgen Randers: Our Specie's Biggest Risk is Our Lack of Coherent Long-Term Decision Making

Forty years ago, a group of researchers at MIT ran a study to address the question of how humans would adapt to the physical limitations of a finite planet. ...

 

Good podcast on YouTube with Chris Martenson interviewing Jorgen Randers of "Limits to Growth" about the biggest risks for the planet.

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Rio+20's opportunity will be squandered without courage and vision

Rio+20's opportunity will be squandered without courage and vision | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Gro Harlem Brundtland and Fernando Henrique Cardoso: Rio+20 must learn from the MDGs, emphasise sustainable development, and tackle climate change and gender inequality...

 

The same old wine but now in old bags; sorry Elders, but I have lost trust in you as you lack the courage to stand up really for the planet. The time for niceties and political pragmatism has past. History will judge you.

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Allô, la Banque mondiale ? Comment faites-vous la croissance verte ?

Allô, la Banque mondiale ? Comment faites-vous la croissance verte ? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Dans le cadre de la préparation de Rio+20, la Banque mondiale et l’OCDE notamment rivalisent d’imagination pour donner un prix à la nature, non pas tant pour mieux la préserver que pour la réduire à un capital comme un autre qu’il s’agira de rentabiliser. Valeur économique des écosystèmes et valeur économique des services que rendent ceux-ci sont devenues les leitmotivs de la recherche dans les cercles néolibéraux. Des valeurs que seul l’établissement de droits de propriété sur ce qui devrait être des biens communs, collectifs et publics[13] peut révéler. Allô, la Banque mondiale, vous êtes toujours là ? Non, ils ont raccroché."

 

Excellent critical analysis of the latest World Bank Report "Inclusive Green Growth"

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Sustainability transition needs social equity

Interesting zero-draft contribution to the Rio+20 summit by Initiative for Equity, a new global network of activists, academics, civil society groups, and movements around the world working on issues related to social, economic and political inequality.

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Stronger social dimension needed in Rio+20 process

Stronger social dimension needed in Rio+20 process | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Clear targets and more political emphasis on sustainable growth, employment and social justice are needed if the Rio+20 conference in June 2012 is to become a real success. This was the main outcome of a two-day debate organised by ETUI and ETUC on 12-13 March at the Danish Metalworkers’ School in Jørlunde, Denmark."

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New UNCTAD report on the dangerous illusions of green growth

This UNCTAD Discussion Paper "argues that growth, technological, population-expansion and governance constraints as well as some key systemic issues cast a very long shadow on the “green growth” hopes. One should not deceive oneself into believing that such evolutionary (and often reductionist) approach will be sufficient to cope with the complexities of climate change. It may rather give much false hope and excuses to do nothing really fundamental that can bring about a U-turn of global GHG emissions. The proponents of a resource efficiency revolution and a drastic change in the energy mix need to scrutinize the historical evidence, in particular the arithmetic of economic and population growth."

 

Brilliant and thought-provoking must-read paper.

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Planning for the Rio+20 Conference: Enter the Commons?

Planning for the Rio+20 Conference: Enter the Commons? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The world’s governments are not likely to come up with anything significant. The G-20 nations, which have been described as the “executive board of the world,” have little interest in bold political and institutional reform. That would only disrupt the desperate search for economic growth. An open, candid inquiry into the growth economy, consumerism and the finite carrying capacity of Earth’s biophysical systems would be far too politically explosive. It is far easier to talk about a “green economy,” as if greater efficiencies alone will save the planet."

 

Very good article by David Bollier on the importance of the concept of the "Global Commons" as the real solution to the challenges raised at the Rio+20 summit.

 

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Seizing Sustainable Development

Seizing Sustainable Development | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The world is on an unsustainable path, and must urgently chart a new course forward, one that brings equity and environmental concerns into the economic mainstream.

 

At Project Syndicate, Jacob Zuma and Tarja Halonen explain the conclusions of the UN's high-level panel on Global Sustainability for Rio+20.

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The idea to create a United Nations environmental agency is growing

The idea to create a United Nations environmental agency is growing | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The idea to create a United Nations environmental agency following the model of the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the International Labor Organization (ILO) is growing.

 

Sounds nice in principle but what will be its powers and its mandate? What will it do better than UNEP now?

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