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Peak Oil as seen through the eyes of Arab oil producers

Reflections by the author of the "Hirsch Report" on the Conference “Peak Oil: Challenges and Opportunities for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries.”
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting post. While "peak oil is dead" stories are thrown around in the US and Europe, some in the Middle East are starting to worry about the impact of peak oil for their economic and political future.

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The Great Transition
Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says

Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A global commission is challenging the widespread belief that efforts to reduce global warming would carry a steep price.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Another one of those reports written by a team of wise men, some of whom created the problem in the first place. No need to question our ways of producing and consuming, no need to change our ways of life, no need to stop the fossils. This kind of reports is what makes climate deniers win the debate.

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How new EU climate chiefs can make a green energy union

COMMENT: An open letter to Alenka Bratušek, vice president for Energy Union, and Miguel Arias Cañete, European commissioner for climate action and energy
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good recommendations for one of the new big priorities of the @Juncker team: the Energy Union. I strongly support the idea of a European Energy and Climate Security Observatory.

Energy and Climate Security Observatory
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Shell's Jekyll and Hyde Approach to Climate Change

Shell's Jekyll and Hyde Approach to Climate Change | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
After signing the "Trillion Tonne Communique," a bold call to curb heat-trapping gases, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is backing groups that fight such measures
Willy De Backer's insight:

Business Week article on the ambiguity of the fossil fuel industry.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, September 8, 10:54 AM

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Global Warming Is Just One of Many Environmental Threats That Demand Our Attention

Global Warming Is Just One of Many Environmental Threats That Demand Our Attention | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Our scientific priorities as well as our ethical commitments demand more—and multi-directional—engagement. Global warming, extremely important as it undoubtedly is, has to be seen as one part of a much larger picture of worrying threats as well as positive possibilities. .

Willy De Backer's insight:

Long and challenging for environmentalists, but this New Republic article by Amartya Sen, is an absolute must-read.

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A thinker whose heft impressed Bill Gates

"Prof Smil’s conclusion is that while dematerialisation in the sense of reduced material use for every dollar of gross domestic product has been a trend for decades and can continue into the future, an absolute reduction in the world’s use of natural resources is highly unlikely. If growth continues, at some point those resources will run low."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Good article by FT's Ed Crooks on Vaclav Smil. I do not like to title as Gates does not seem to understand Smil well enough when he talks about material limits to growth.

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A doomed Earth of science fiction may well become a reality

A doomed Earth of science fiction may well become a reality | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Andrew Simms: Our climate altering activities are hurtling us towards the fictional future of a hot, melting world
Willy De Backer's insight:

Is Andrew 'Cancel the apocalypse' Simms getting more pessimistic?

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A Big Summer Story You Missed: Soaring Oil Debt

A Big Summer Story You Missed: Soaring Oil Debt | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Last July the government agency, which has collected mundane statistics on energy matters for decades, quietly revealed that 127 of the world's largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash.
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Willy De Backer's curator insight, August 30, 12:54 AM

By investing in expensive hydrocarbon projects, the brownies are undermining the future of our economies. But only few people and even fewer governments get it.

Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, August 30, 10:34 AM

"Some of the summer's biggest news stories took place in the bombed schools of Gaza, the abandoned hospitals of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the wheat fields of eastern Ukraine and the bloody mountains of northern Iraq.

But one of the most important made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Last July the government agency, which has collected mundane statistics on energy matters for decades, quietly revealed that 127 of the world's largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash.

They are now spending more than they are earning. Profits have lagged as expenditures have risen. Overburdened by debt, these firms are selling assets.

The math is simple. The 127 firms generated $568 billion in cash from their operations during 2013-2014 while their expenses totalled $677 billion. To cover the difference of $110 billion, the energy giants increased their debt load or sold off assets.

Given that the gap between earned cash and spending stood at a modest $10 billion in 2010, that's a significant change for the industry as well as the global economy it fuels."

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Climate change policies pay for themselves, study says

Climate change policies pay for themselves, study says | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
An MIT climate change study released Sunday indicates the cost of slashing coal-fired carbon emissions would be offset by reduced spending on public health. The EPA-funded study examined climate change policies similar to those proposed by the Obama administration in June.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Supporters of serious climate action keep using the costs of non-action framing to make their point. It will not work as the climate deniers do not really care about these costs. They oppose climate action for ideological reasons: defending 'our way of life'.

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Why the Robots Might Not Take Our Jobs After All: They Lack Common Sense

Why the Robots Might Not Take Our Jobs After All: They Lack Common Sense | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A leading scholar of labor markets says mankind has consistently feared technology’s toll on employment, and consistently been wrong.
Willy De Backer's insight:

The interesting debate on the impact of automation on labour markets continues with this good paper by MIT researcher David Autor.

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If I ruled the world: Martin Rees | Prospect Magazine

If I ruled the world: Martin Rees | Prospect Magazine | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"We need an enlightened despot to save our vulnerable planet."

Willy De Backer's insight:
I tend to agree that our current 'democratic' system is unable to deal with climate chaos but an 'enlightened' despot always ends up being just a despot.
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Understand faulty thinking to tackle climate change

Understand faulty thinking to tackle climate change | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The amorphous nature of climate change creates the ideal conditions for human denial and cognitive bias to come to the fore, says George Marshall
Willy De Backer's insight:

This excellent piece in New Scientist explains why our brains are 'wired to ignore climate change'. Is it Nature's fail-safe against our human idiocy?

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Secular stagnation: Facts, causes, and cures

"Six years after the Crisis and the recovery is still anaemic despite years of zero interest rates. Is ‘secular stagnation’ to blame? This column introduces an eBook that gathers the views of leading economists including Summers, Krugman, Gordon, Blanchard, Koo, Eichengreen, Caballero, Glaeser, and a dozen others. It is too early to tell whether secular stagnation is really secular, but if it is, current policy tools will be obsolete. Policymakers should start thinking about potential solutions."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Very interesting piece in Vox.eu about the new economic reality: slow growth. Fascinating to see how these economists keep ducking the real tough question: is it possible that we have entered the post-growth era?

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France rebels against austerity as Europe's recovery collapses

France rebels against austerity as Europe's recovery collapses | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets
Willy De Backer's insight:

Is this the end of Europe's austerity fundamentalism? Don't count on it. European elites don't have a real alternative as they refuse to see that we have entered the post-growth era.

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EU polluters to land €5bn windfall under 'carbon leakage' proposal

EU polluters to land €5bn windfall under 'carbon leakage' proposal | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
European commission report assumes an unrealistically high carbon price, in move expected to cost governments billions
Willy De Backer's insight:

Polluters pay? Of course not, in the EU the polluters get paid ... and big time. Curious what are children and grandchildren will think about this  when they will suffer from climate chaos.

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Degrowth and the Carbon Budget: Powerdown Strategies for Climate Stability - Part 1

In order to keep within a ‘safe’ temperature threshold, deep and rapid decarbonisation is required, and yet existing trends show that global emissions are still growing rapidly.
Willy De Backer's insight:

I believe this must-read analysis is absolutely correct - sticking to the carbon budget implies degrowth, but I do not see how this can be implemented within our democratic systems. Planned contraction will inevitably lead to eco-fascism.

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Crisis and recovery: the threat to western elites

Crisis and recovery: the threat to western elites | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Every effort must be made to restore economies to growth. Every effort must be made, too, to ensure that a similar crisis will not recur without eliminating those aspects of an open world economy and integrated finance that are of benefit. This will require more radicalism than most recognise. We must not only learn the lessons about how the world economy went awry. We must also act upon them. If we do not, next time a big crisis arrives even our open world economy could end in the fire."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Extract in Prospect from the FT's Martin Wolf latest book. Good analysis of how the economic crisis has undermined the trust in elites. But as member of this elite, Wolf continues to prescribe the wrong medicine, the one these elites blindly stick to, the one which has caused the crisis in the first place: 'economic growth'.

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Three Limits to Growth

Three Limits to Growth | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"From the graph it is evident that increasing production and consumption is rightly called economic growth only up to the economic limit. Beyond that point it becomes uneconomic growth because it increases costs by more than benefits, making us poorer, not richer. Unfortunately it seems that we perversely continue to call it economic growth!"

Willy De Backer's insight:

New Herman Daly article explains the reality of our current economies.

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think2share's curator insight, September 6, 8:16 AM
 


The metabolism of our economy isnow on a collision course with the metabolism of our planet
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Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander: Four decades after the book was published, Limit to Growth’s forecasts have been vindicated by new Australian research. Expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon
Willy De Backer's insight:

'to feed the continued growth in industrial output there must be ever-increasing use of resources. But resources become more expensive to obtain as they are used up. As more and more capital goes towards resource extraction, industrial output per capita starts to fall – in the book, from about 2015.'

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Will Brazil elect Marina Silva as the world's first Green president?

Will Brazil elect Marina Silva as the world's first Green president? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Born into a poor, mixed-race Amazon family, Marina Silva is on the verge of a stunning election win weeks after taking over her party
Willy De Backer's insight:

Very interesting development in Brazil.

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How on Earth? | Post Growth Institute

How on Earth? | Post Growth Institute | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World by 2050 “Combining passion and hard evidence, How on Earth is a fascinating, highly original book. It points to how not-for-profit organizations can play a major role in building a more caring and sustainable economy. […]
Willy De Backer's insight:

Must-read book for anyone interested in the real, planetary limits-based future of business and economics.

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Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People | Foreign Affairs

Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People | Foreign Affairs | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Rather than trying to spur private-sector spending through asset purchases or interest-rate changes, central banks, such as the Fed, should hand consumers cash directly."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Innovative, provocative and probably politically unrealistic article in Foreign Affairs by Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan.

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Worse than the 1930s: Europe’s recession is really a depression

Worse than the 1930s: Europe’s recession is really a depression | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Europe's self-inflicted wounds are making its recession worse than the worst of the 1930s.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good analysis of the never-ending Eurozone crisis. A few nice quotes: "how is Europe making the Great Depression look like the good old days of growth? Easy: by ignoring everything we learned from it." and

"They have made a desert, and called it the eurozone."

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Who made ideology a dirty word?

Who made ideology a dirty word? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"By demonising ideology and pushing it underground, today’s incumbent elites can claim to be above politics while pursuing and defending their own interests as though doing so was just a matter of common sense."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent blog post from the New Economics Foundation.

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In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty

In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Workers are their own bosses in the so-called sharing economy, but that flexibility also brings much uncertainty — and few of the protections of full-time work.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant article in the New York Times on the opportunities and dangers of the sharing economy.

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Sustainability’s strategic worth: McKinsey Global Survey results

Sustainability’s strategic worth: McKinsey Global Survey results | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Executives at all levels see an important business role for sustainability. But when it comes to mastering the reputation, execution, and accountability of their sustainability programs, many companies have far to go. A McKinsey & Company article.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting new McKinsey study misses the most important dimension: the acceptance of planetary and social limits to growth and how to adapt business to this sustainability imperative.

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