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Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Greek Police Union Threaten to ‘Arrest’ EU/IMF Officials

Greek Police Union Threaten to ‘Arrest’ EU/IMF Officials | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The union specifically singled out Poul Thomsen, the IMF’s principal official in Greece, for arrest.

 

By trying to rescue their neo-liberal austerity policies, European political leaders and their technocrats are putting the European project on fire.  Will we see a Spring revolution of European citizens against this Europe for the rich?

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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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Is business getting serious on risks of ecosystems collapse?

"Companies depend on and impact the services that healthy ecosystems provide such as freshwater, wood, water purification, carbon sequestration, pollination and natural hazard protection. Degradation of these “ecosystem services,” therefore, can pose a number of risks to corporate performance, as well as create new business opportunities. Making the connection between the health of ecosystems and the business bottom line is essential – but how?"

 

Interesting new report written by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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After The Gold Rush: A Perspective on Future U.S. Natural Gas Supply and Price

"U.S. shale plays share many characteristics with the gold rushes of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Both phenomena result from extreme promotion. Anyone can join. Every participant believes that they will get rich. Great amounts of capital are destroyed as entrants try to get a position. The bonanza is exhausted sooner than most expected and few profit in the end except for the vendors that serve participants."

 

Another great contribution by Arthur Berman on the shale gas "gold rush" in the US.

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The facts are clear: Report finds EU can deliver more jobs in a green budget

The facts are clear: Report finds EU can deliver more jobs in a green budget | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Greening the EU's long-term budget can create more jobs than following the traditional spending paths according to a new report published by an alliance of environmental NGOs.

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UK emissions rose 3.1% as economy recovered in 2010

UK emissions rose 3.1% as economy recovered in 2010 | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The dramatic fall in the UK's greenhouse gas emissions caused by the recession has proved to be a blip, with national emissions rising 3.1% in 2010.

 

New figures show that market-based climate policies have very little effect.

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The great carbon bubble: Why the fossil fuel industry fights so hard

The great carbon bubble: Why the fossil fuel industry fights so hard | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"...the giant energy companies are making so much money right now that they can’t stop gorging themselves. ... Everyone in the business is swimming in money.

 

Still, they could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they’ve got a deeper problem, one that’s become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won’t be burned if we ever take global warming seriously.

 

Great analysis of why the fossil fuel industry is locking the world into an extremely high carbon future.

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Carbon bubble: Bank of England's opportunity to tackle market failure

Carbon bubble: Bank of England's opportunity to tackle market failure | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Ben Caldecott and James Leaton: Bank's willingness to consider fossil fuel exposure as a risk to financial stability will serve as an important test of whether anything has been learned from the sub-prime crisis...

 

Interesting development in the financial sector in the UK.

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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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Potočnik: More legislative power, but no money for environment | EurActiv

Potočnik: More legislative power, but no money for environment | EurActiv | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Compared to other policy areas, environment still remains the Cinderella of the European budget, where allocations amount to just over €2 billion compared to research which gets more than €50 billion for the FP7. Negotiations on the next EU budget 2014-2020 will be crucial, said Commissioner Janez Potočnik in an interview with EurActiv Slovakia.
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That falling feeling: Shale gas estimates continue downward

That falling feeling: Shale gas estimates continue downward | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Energy expert Kurt Cobb looks at falling estimates of shale gas production in the US. After the deflated hypes of biofuels and carbon capture and storage, is shale gas the next mirage in the energy desert?

 

"As new wells in the world's shale gas fields continue to disappoint, prepare for even more outrageous claims about future natural gas supplies--measured perhaps not in centuries, but millennia--and designed to obscure the failure of shale gas exploration results to match the industry's persistently optimistic forecasts."

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Power paradox: Clean might not be green forever

Power paradox: Clean might not be green forever | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
As energy demand grows, even alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear fusion could begin to affect the climate.

 

Excellent thought-provoking piece in New Scientist asking some inconvenient questions about the energy revolution we need.

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Clinging to economic growth suffocates the imagination

Clinging to economic growth suffocates the imagination | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Clinging to growth, however, suffocates the imagination needed to devise more convivial ways to share a finite planet. At the very least, and with so much evidence to the contrary, the burden of proof now lies heavily on those who reject the original message of the Limits report, for them to demonstrate how, and under what circumstances, we could possibly enjoy "growth forever" in a finite world. Kenneth Boulding, the founder of general systems theory, thought this to be a view held only by "madmen and economists".

 

Great article from New Economics Foundation's Andrew Simms. Explains why the left also has difficulties accepting that we have reached limits to growth.

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Uneconomics: a challenge to the power of the economics profession

Uneconomics: a challenge to the power of the economics profession | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"It is time to acknowledge an uncomfortable truth about the public status of economics as an expert discipline: it has grown to be far more powerful as a tool of political rhetoric, blame avoidance and elite strategy than for the empirical representation of economic life. This is damaging to politics, for it enables value judgements and political agendas to be endlessly presented in ‘factual’ terms. But it is equally damaging to economics, which is losing the authority to describe reality in a credible, disinterested, Enlightenment fashion."

 

Brilliant analysis in Open Democracy on the perverse power of economic technocrats on our democratic institutions.

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Greenpeace report: IT full of green rhetoric but little action

Greenpeace report: IT full of green rhetoric but little action | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The tussle for the top of our Cool IT Leaderboard has taken its latest twist, with Google grabbing the top spot ahead of 20 other tech companies, including Cisco and Ericsson.

 

More interesting than who comes first is the fact that IT's energy footprint keeps growing and that the sector is not using its innovation power and its economic clout to push for more sustainability.

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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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Unearthing the True Cost of Fossil Fuels

Unearthing the True Cost of Fossil Fuels | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Fossil fuel company executives and D.C. politicians have long worked together to ensure coal and oil prices stay low enough to keep Americans hooked. Here's how we can break the addiction.

 

Brilliant must-read article on the links between the oil industry and political elites and the effects of this unholy nexus.

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Why economic inequality leads to collapse

Why economic inequality leads to collapse | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The lesson of the Great Crash was that unequal enrichment provokes asset bubbles, excessive demand for debt and, finally, economic failure.

 

Excellent article in The Observer tackles the myths of inequality and economic growth.

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Why ICT should focus on people not machines

Why ICT should focus on people not machines | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A report suggests the sector could have a transformative impact on society if it focused on enabling people to connect and collaborate globally...

 

New study shows the ICT sector needs to improve its efforts on greening its activities.

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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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Gas Boom Goes Bust

Gas Boom Goes Bust | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The current boom in drilling for ‘unconventional’ gas has helped raise US production to levels not seen since the early 1970′s. This has been an incredible boon to consumers and has kept spot prices contained below $5 per million BTU for the past year, recently dropping below $3/mmbtu. Unfortunately, this price is below the cost of production for many of these new wells. When the flood of investment currently pouring into natural gas drilling operations dries up, the inevitable bust will be as scary as the boom was exciting."

 

Well-researched essay on the American gas boom: will the gas bubble burst?

 

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Q+A-How does the EU plan to reform energy tax? | Reuters

Progress on transport fuel tax changes to encourage energy efficiency and the use of greener sources is a priority of the Danish European Union presidency, which will be leading the bloc's discussions for the first half of this year.

 

Good Reuters article on the state-of-play of EU plans for changes in fuel taxation.

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Use Rio+20 to overhaul idea of growth, urges EU climate chief

Use Rio+20 to overhaul idea of growth, urges EU climate chief | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Connie Hedegaard says GDP model of growth causes overconsumption, drives up commodity prices and ignores the environment...

 

In this interesting article in the Guardian, climate commissioner Hedegaard questions current model of economic growth but hangs on to the illusion that just measuring growth differently will solve the new "limits to growth" predicament.

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African land grabs hinder sustainable development

African land grabs hinder sustainable development | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Sales of forest land to corporations are dispossessing inhabitants and harming ecosystems.

 

Good article in Nature on the effects of land grabs in Africa.

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The culture of debt

The culture of debt | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The global debt crisis is not just about the growing government debt burdens of economies, nor about the financial liquidity crisis plaguing banks. The true debt crisis is much deeper than that. It involves entire economies and societies evolving towards a mind-set in which more and more benefits are expected today – but any costs are either increasingly postponed to the future, or preferably, dumped on others." (Source: Triple Crisis blog)

 

Very good short essay by economics professor Ed Barbier on how the "culture of debt" has created our current financial and economic crisis as well as our ecological debt crisis.

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