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Monbiot on nuclear: hard-hitting attack on green movement

Monbiot on nuclear: hard-hitting attack on green movement | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"This year the environmental movement to which I belong has done more harm to the planet’s living systems than climate change deniers have ever achieved."

 

UK top journalist George Monbiot is very harsh in his critique of the anti-nuclear movement in Europe.

 

"Anti-nuclear campaigners have generated as much mumbo-jumbo as creationists, anti-vaccine scaremongers, homeopaths and climate change deniers. In all cases, the scientific process has been thrown into reverse: people have begun with their conclusions, then frantically sought evidence to support them."

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The Great Transition
Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Myths and realities of clean technologies

Myths and realities of clean technologies | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Don’t be fooled by high-profile setbacks. The cleantech sector is gaining steam—with less and less regulatory assistance. A McKinsey & Company article.
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Very optimistic McKinsey analysis about the growth of clean technologies.

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A New Agenda on Climate Change

"The knowledge of the reality, causes and implications of anthropogenic climate change creates a moral imperative to act, but this imperative is diluted at every level by collective action problems that appear to be beyond our existing ability to resolve. This challenge is compounded by collectively mischaracterising the climate problem as an exclusively environmental issue, rather than a broader systemic threat to the global financial system, public health and national security."

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Interesting new report focusing on the need to re-frame climate policy.

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Energy and the Financial System: What Everyone Needs to Know… and Work Darn Hard to Avoid

Energy and the Financial System: What Everyone Needs to Know… and Work Darn Hard to Avoid | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Our economic and financial system is based on assumptions of continued growth. Currently growth is highly dependent on energy and a surplus thereof as provided by high EROI energy sources. Our available energy sources, however, are providing less and less energy returns on the amount of energy we put into them. Therefore the amount of surplus energy available is declining. Thus, given the dependence of growth on energy, growth will decline too. The little remaining health of our financial systems, however, relies heavily on assumptions of continued growth and rather high ones at that, but those assumptions will increasingly turn out to be false if Boyd’s prediction of declining EROI is true".

Willy De Backer's insight:

Great article on the link between society's diminishing energy return on energy investment and the current economic and financial crisis. A must-read for all austerians and post-Keynesians. This time it IS really different.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 13, 3:35 PM

Indeed, our ability to "grow" economically and socially is bound by the environment, our population size, cosmological conditions, food production and our state of technology.  Should we honestly "grow" for the sake of "growing", if it comes at long term as well as short term harm?

 

Things that Capitalism under its current logic, does not answer and does not wish to answer.

 

Think about it.

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Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine

Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Naomi Klein: From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – what I call the shock doctrine
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Must-read article by Naomi Klein in the Guardian.

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Why green growth won’t transform the economy | openDemocracy

Why green growth won’t transform the economy | openDemocracy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Green growth is a myth. Because it ignores the social, political and personal dimensions of sustainability, it can never cut deep enough into the structures of self and society to secure solutions to the crises that we face."

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Kapital for the Twenty-First Century? | Dissent Magazine

Kapital for the Twenty-First Century? | Dissent Magazine | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Despite having made some disparaging remarks early on about the savagery of the United States, it turns out that Thomas Piketty is a garden-variety social welfare democrat in the mold, largely, of the American New Deal."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Brilliant critical analysis by James Galbraith of the new book of Thomas Piketty. A must-read.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 6, 10:43 AM

All economics is political, because all wealth is political.  Be it a controlling influence in our media, energy sources, food resources or home goods, etc, all ownership entails a certain amount of responsibility on the part of the owners and yields considerable effects upon our world through their influence in the political/gubernatorial levels of our world.  To that end, concentration of wealth and true economic capital (the actual stuff that produces and is produced) leads to a form of dictatorship that is as fragile and corruptible as any dictatorship.  It's not good for the polity to leave economic wealth so concentrated at the "top" levels of our society, because it leaves the system prone to collapses, revolutions and uprisings that cannot reliably be put down through military force of arms or deceitful tactics.  The rebels will just keep coming, until the perceived injustice is perceived to be over.

 

What this means, is that in order to realize a less centralized, more organic and more stable polity, the members of our government must throw themselves on the mercy of the general public and reverse the policies which have encouraged the economic system to act as a cancerous parasite on the rest of society, rather than as a benevolent and necessary tool to satisfying human needs first, and human wants second.  The centralized polity under the centralized economic system is already eroding in the streets.  If the government's members are going to save their own hides, at the very least, they might as well reverse the changes of principle and goal that was enacted in the 1980's under the Reagan administration and return government's function and role to those principles and goals that was under the Roosevelt administration (even if we don't do everything the same way that they do).

 

This cancerous tendency in American society has got to be ended.  Yet the only way that it is truly going to be ended, is if those who exhibit these kinds of self-destructive economic behaviors are removed from office, researched and then never allowed back into those places again by the rest of society.

 

Sadly, I don't see humans taking up arms to put these bankers, financiers, executives, lobbyists and politicians into the straight jackets in which they belong in time to save themselves.  A sad state of affair.

 

Think about it.

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Now it's the middle class's turn to feel the employment earthquake

Now it's the middle class's turn to feel the employment earthquake | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Christina Patterson: The brave new digital world is supposed to set us free. But if work is 'shared', not paid, who pays the bills?
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting insights on the future (or lack of it) of the middle classes. I like her views on "guru" Jeremy Rifkin.

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UN Climate Chief Urges Radical Clean-Up Of Oil, Gas Industry

UN Climate Chief Urges Radical Clean-Up Of Oil, Gas Industry | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
(Corrects paragraph 11 to "trillion tonnes" from "billion tonnes") * Figueres says three quarters of reserves may have to stay in ground * UN wants "urgent transformation" towards greener ...
Willy De Backer's insight:

Finally a bit more courage from the climate chief, but this message alone will not break the fossils' resolve to keep drilling until there is no tomorrow.

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Apocalyptish

Apocalyptish | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
“THE four horsemen of the apocalypse": that was the disparaging appraisal by Richard Tol of the University of Sussex of a report published in Yokohama on March...
Willy De Backer's insight:

Despite the misleading quote from Tol at the beginning of this article, the Economist provides a great analysis of the new IPCC report. "The new assessment for the first time looks at climate change not just as a problem in its own right but as something that is merely part of an even bigger context."

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Exxon Mobil's commitment to carbon asset risk is just the beginning

Exxon Mobil's commitment to carbon asset risk is just the beginning | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
As the company bows to pressure to report on its preparations for climate regulation, campaigners want investors to recognise that extractors may be forced to leave oil and gas in the ground, write Natasha Lamb and Danielle Fugere
Willy De Backer's insight:

Are we on the verge of a real revolution in the oil and gas industry as the  global divestment campaign is gaining traction? Or will the fossils use their big cash piles to fight back?

 

See also http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/03/24/exxon-stranded-assets-and-new-math

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The global Transition tipping point has arrived - vive la révolution

The global Transition tipping point has arrived - vive la révolution | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: A new post-carbon era dawns as the old fossil fuel system dies. It's time to step up.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Another must-read top post by the brilliant Nafeez Ahmed but I disagree with his "optimism of the will". Of course there will not be any extinction by 2030 but the transition from the old fossil-fuel and debt-based paradigm to the new 'one-planet economy' will not be without lots of pain and violence. Vive la révolution? Revolutions have a habit of eating their children or heroes, dear Nafeez.

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What if economic growth is no longer possible in the 21st century?

What if economic growth is no longer possible in the 21st century? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The postwar economic model is no longer sustainable or effective. That means we must turn to redistribution if we want to save the middle class.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great article - the answer is simple; the politics impossible. A post-growth society will need a new prosperity paradigm, new institutions and new leaders. Think this will happen without collapse and hard shocks? think again.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 22, 5:02 PM

The elephant in the room.

 

What is the point of economic growth if it does not enrich all of our lives?  What good is it if we impoverish ourselves and our environment in order to get it?

 

We're not all going to be millionaires, nor does one/their family need to be millionaires in order to be happy, well off and able to take care of themselves.  What is the point of prioritizing pieces of cloth rag over our physical, psychological, social and environmental health?  Why not let growth happen organically, based upon the natural ebbings and flowing of goods and services, technological development and resource conservation?

 

What good is money if you poison yourself for it?

 

Think about it.

 

 

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The Rise of Anti-Capitalism

The Rise of Anti-Capitalism | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"A formidable new technology infrastructure — the Internet of Things — is emerging with the potential to push much of economic life to near zero marginal cost over the course of the next two decades."

Willy De Backer's insight:

As always, super-optimist Rifkin is great at analysing new trends in the global economy, but totally misjudges the negative implications. This is the guy who predicted the age of the "European Dream". Look where Europe is now! So by all means, read this NY Times article but put off your rosy glasses.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 16, 10:31 AM

Perhaps this era of free manufacture will break the current economic system (assuming that the businesses don't attempt to break it).

 

It still won't change the attitude with regards to money, society and the environment that's proving so caustic to our whole world.

 

This will be interesting to watch.

 

Think about it.

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EU “has the power” to put in place a universal basic income

EU “has the power” to put in place a universal basic income | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
From Martin Luther King to Erich Fromm, the universal – or unconditional – basic income (UBI) has always had its supporters. The idea is not new. But the economic crisis has brought it back to the forefront “as a solution” to the most pressing issues facing the EU today.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Very good EurActiv report of an EESC conference in Brussels.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 15, 5:11 AM

Economic wealth and liberty leads to the ability to participate in the society, polity and economy as a generally equal member.  This is not the crude "liberty" of the ability to act with impunity to the consequences of your actions, but the ability to act as a human being with all of the dignity and rights that the individual needs in order to produce a sustainable, functional and relatively prosperous society.

 

Laissez-faire policies, when left unchecked, leads to the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few individuals who connive and cheat their way to the top, such that they are able to assert an undemocratic influence over a given people, regardless of their actual merit or intentions or ability to be held accountable.  Laissez-faire leads to the centralization of wealth in the hands of a few, and, as a result of that economic centraliziation, the centraliziation of power in the governmental instrument that needs to be working for everyone's interests, not just the elite's small-self perceived interests.  This is the empirical result of a wide range of historical economic research, ranging from the fall of the Roman Republic to the Second Gilded Age in which we're living at present.  Government is simply a tool for those who have economic and social power within the economy/society.  It is a neutral puppet in and of itself.  It is whomever is backing it and occupying it that gives it its actual character, especially stemming from the top executive and legislative levels.  It's influence and power is limited by the needs, wishes and sentiments of the general public of society.  It will have no more influence or control over what it is  practically and legitimately given by the members of the external society.

 

A shame that so few people understand this fact about government or society, for the sake of an ideological belief or personal interest that the ought not have.

 

Silly brains.


Think about it.

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Should Scientists go on strike over climate change?

Should Scientists go on strike over climate change? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"So at this point it’s absurd to keep asking the scientific community to churn out more reports. In fact, it might almost be more useful if they went on strike: until you pay attention to what we’ve already told you, we won’t be telling you more.”

Willy De Backer's insight:

Not a bad idea, but will scientists have the guts to speak out (except for a few exceptions).

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Has the Working Class Really Accepted Austerity?

The result of this excessive caring is “that the basic logic of austerity has been accepted by almost everyone.” So while others may consider solidarity to be a virtue, Graeber believes that it is “the rope from which [the working] class is currently suspended.”

Willy De Backer's insight:

Very interesting debate between David Graeber and Suren Moodliar on the psychological disposition of workers to accept austerity policies.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 12, 5:45 AM

I'm honestly not sure about what the case is with people.  Polling and inquiries into what they're feeling and thinking would be needed in order to understand what the situation actually is.

 

However, what I do know is that when people have less at an increasingly rapid rate, they'll tend to notice and not be happy about it.  It'll be when people are literally starving en masse that we'll start to see something happen (which is in the realm of possibilities as climate change effects our food production in a negative fashion).

 

The elite's position is getting more and more untenable as time goes on; more and more delicate as they take more and more without the needed reciprocation.  Silly people whose mothers never taught them that there are limits and consequences for the actions that you do.

 

Think about it.

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Scientists seek climate-friendly cow of the future

Scientists seek climate-friendly cow of the future | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A White House climate initiative has boosted a quixotic search for the “cow of the future”, a next-generation creature whose greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by anti-methane pills, burp scanners and gas backpacks. Carbon dioxide from fossil
Willy De Backer's insight:

Wow, can we start a Nobel prize for stupidity?

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Gaubert Stephane's curator insight, April 10, 12:29 AM

to sum it up, some scientist are now looking for a cow that would not fart!...

 

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Export Stupidity

Export Stupidity | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
If the US could supply Europe with large amounts of fuel, that would reduce the Continent’s dependency on Russia while depriving Putin of needed revenues.
 
Willy De Backer's insight:

Richard Heinberg's checks the facts to counter all those who want to export American surplus gas to punish Putin: "... the United States remains a net importer of both oil and natural gas. Let me repeat and emphasize that: the United States remains a net importer of both oil and natural gas."

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Noam Chomsky: Ecology, Ethics, Anarchism

Noam Chomsky: Ecology, Ethics, Anarchism | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Chomsky talks about how indigenous peoples are trying to save the world from anthropogenic climate disruption and the havoc being wrought by ''really existing capitalist democracies.''
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great interview in TruthOut with Noam Chomsky.

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There's a Class War Going On and the Poor Are Getting Their Butts Kicked | TIME

There's a Class War Going On and the Poor Are Getting Their Butts Kicked | TIME | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Although they say they're concerned about inequality, economic policymakers continue to pummel low-income families and the jobless, and that’s bad for all of us
Willy De Backer's insight:

Time goes Marx...

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 3, 3:25 PM

When you allow Capitalism to go laissez-faire, it leads to the rich getting richer while everyone else loses in the long term.  Wealth accumulates wealth, just as larger cities are able to attract more people and more stuff than small towns.

 

I do not believe we should tamper with the market itself.  I think we should be more proactive in making sure that people are compensated for the value of their labor, protected from the avarice and greed of a handful of people and that the environment is maintained in such a way that we're able to inhabit it and derive our wealth (in terms of goods and services) sustainably from it.

 

What good is profit if it's not just sitting around?  What good is wealth if it kills you to get it?

The economic policy makers are included in this picture too.  It's not like they're leaving this planet.  Even if they are, wouldn't we technically be better off without them?

 

We started from having zero monetary wealth, after all.

 

Think about it.

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Exxon Mobil says climate change unlikely to stop it selling fossil fuels

Exxon Mobil says climate change unlikely to stop it selling fossil fuels | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Oil and gas giant issues report on the risks that climate change policies could pose to the value of its assets and future profitability
Willy De Backer's insight:

Exxon admits it is f...ing with the climate -  let's bring on the lawyers. Let's organise to start court case against fossil fuel industry.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, April 2, 1:55 PM

Sad, isn't it.


The change will only come when policy makers make a conscientious effort to change the incentives and the outcomes of the present economic and social system.  It is time that we ask ourselves, "what do we value more?"

Business?

Profits?

Or society?

Well being?

And survival?

Think about it.

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How the right sold austerity as the only economic solution

How the right sold austerity as the only economic solution | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Richard Seymour: More than 30 years of neoliberalism and six years of austerity have floored us, yet the left is incapable of mounting a serious challenge to this economic orthodoxy. Why?
Willy De Backer's insight:

"The political possibilities have been narrowed through serial defeats of the left, the consequent incorporation of social democratic parties into the neoliberal consensus, and the transformation of state apparatus in a less democratic direction. No governing social democratic party offers a serious alternative to the austerity remedy. The diminution of practical solidarity following on from the state-led defeats inflicted on organised labour is far-reaching. Nine out of 10 private sector workplaces have never seen a union rep, let alone a picket line; the number of days lost to strike action in recent years have been, barring a relatively small spike in 2011, at historic lows. The idea of "rank and file" organisation, let alone wildcat strike action, is something seen only on the peripheries of the labour movement. Trade unions have been effectively disciplined. This is an important reason why the labour response to austerity has been so feeble."

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 28, 12:58 PM

There is, perhaps, no other field more political than economics.  Economics is politics, politics is economics.  They go hand in hand, one effecting the other, such that those with wealth have political power and those who don't are stripped of it.

 

It's  a shame that we don't move away from this hoarding behavior on the part of the rich and those who already have wealth and power. to do what actually works for everyone (including the rich, on the grand scale of things).  The environment is going to collapse under our current economic activity and, with it, will go the society, the polity and the economic wealth that went with it.  This will happen, regardless of if the society is able to overcome its malaise, to assert its democratic majority over the rich in the government.

 

Sadly, the official Left is led by a seemingly incompetent group of "yes people" who may secretly support the self-destructive endeavors of the Right.  They will neither let people who are competent at communicating to others rise in their ranks, nor will they necessarily adopt the policies that are NEEDED to preserve our world on the tangible level, not on the imagined level that the conservatives like to keep us at.

 

And so, we're left to die, individually and collectively, because no one with official power would rise to the challenge to get all of these conservatives from either party, public or private, into mental health clinics.  The opinions of conservatives from any party remain, as far as society is concerned, on an equal basis with the actual facts of the world (when they are so clearly not).  This is how civilizations end, because those who learn how to play the socially constructed game win out over those who know what the actual game is always about.  It's not the image of society that matters, but the actual conditions within it and within the environment that do.

 

That's what I've been saying these past 4 years.

 

And I doubt anyone has, or will, listen to what I have to say before it's too late to do anything about it.

 

Think about it.

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Monetarism is the living dead of economic theory – let's kill it off

Monetarism is the living dead of economic theory – let's kill it off | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Philip Pilkington: The Bank of England suddenly looks capable of doing what the government can't: consigning monetarism to the past
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Some mandatory reading for the 'experts' at the ECB and the European Commission.

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Exploring the 'why' behind extreme energy

Exploring the 'why' behind extreme energy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Thus far the debate around unconventional gas/fracking has focussed on pollution, flammable water, earthquakes, noise, toxic fumes, climate change, etc. As a result people mainly focus on the "what?", or at a local level the "where?", of the issue. My research leads me toward one single question… "why?".
Willy De Backer's insight:

Smart article on the real reasons behind the fracking myths. "It is economic growth and consumption within a finite environment which are the problem."  Extreme energy will do nothing to stave off the inevitable transition towards a post-growth society.

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What We Know: American scientists' warning on climate chaos

What We Know: American scientists' warning on climate chaos | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
What We Know helps us understand the science behind the realities, risks and response to the climate challenge.
Willy De Backer's insight:

The scientific community is getting more vocal and outspoken(about time), but the more policy makers will understand what they will need to do (questioning the Western way of life), the more they will hide themselves in ideology and denial.

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Eli Levine's curator insight, March 18, 1:33 PM

The whole thing is about to break down, unless there is a significant coup against the existing private interests and their hold on policy makers' decisions.

 

One has to wonder how mentally healthy these people are who think that wealth is more valuable than health, regardless of the reasoning or justification for that wealth.

 

Think about it.