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Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Who rules Europe? Merkozy or financial markets?

Who rules Europe? Merkozy or financial markets? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

(Reuters) - Standard & Poor's has warned it may carry out an unprecedented mass downgrade of euro zone countries if EU leaders fail to deliver a convincing agreement on how to solve the region's debt crisis in a summit on Friday.

 

Another example of how our political leaders are being hijacked by the powers of the financial markets. Isn't it time someone stopped this new form of financial terrorism? When will our Merkozy's declare war on this terrorism?

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Is the European Union Missing Another Window of Opportunity for Arctic Energy Resources?

Is the European Union Missing Another Window of Opportunity for Arctic Energy Resources? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The current developments in the Barents Sea can be regarded as both a temporal and structural “window of opportunity” for the development of a privileged energy partnership between the EU and Norway, with obvious advantages for the EU."

 

This interesting article on the Arctic Institute web site makes the case for increased cooperation between Norway and the EU concerning energy and resource policies for the Arctic.

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Governments must tackle record gap between rich and poor, says OECD

Governments must tackle record gap between rich and poor, says OECD | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The gap between rich and poor in OECD countries has reached its highest level for over half a century, and governments must act quickly to tackle inequality, according to a new OECD report.

 

Even the Club of the Rich starts worrying about rising inequalities and the societal protest resulting from the divide.

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Democracy and Debt | Michael Hudson

Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine has translated this brilliant analysis on the relationship between debt and democracy. This article should be mandatory reading for anyone with an real interest in the Eurocrisis and the implications for European democracy.

 

More on this via my 3E Intelligence blog at http://3eintelligence.wordpress.com

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International consortium of NGOs calls for coordinated action on geoengineering research

"Nations, NGOs and individuals must engage in a wide-ranging dialogue to explore both the potential risks and benefits of solar geoengineering and establish effective governance arrangements for research, according to a new report ..."

 

 

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From Conspicuous Consumption to Collective Consumption

From Conspicuous Consumption to Collective Consumption | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

In the Social Europe Journal, Nat O'Connor looks at the challenge of sustainable consumption for social-democrat politicians and trade union leaders.

 

He rightly questions "three 'sacred cows' of traditional social democratic economic policy that may need to be genetically modified to become sustainable"

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Predictions for cleantech in 2012

Predictions for cleantech in 2012 | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
What will 2012 have in store for the cleantech/greentech market? Kachan & Co. offers its predictions for the new year, calling 2012 a mixed bag for cleantech.

 

This is an incredibly interesting and well-written report about the outlook for the clean technology in 2012. It lists opportunities as well as challenges and is a must-read for anyone interested in this sector.

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Changing climate of Republican opinion doesn't agree with Tea Party

Changing climate of Republican opinion doesn't agree with Tea Party | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nearly two-thirds of moderate or liberal Republicans believe there is solid evidence for global warming, Pew poll finds...

 

Finally a bit of good news on the U.S. climate front?

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EU unveils giant research funding programme | EurActiv

EU unveils giant research funding programme | EurActiv | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

The European Commission presented today (30 November) its €80-billion research funding programme for the decade - Horizon 2020 - with the aim of boosting research, stimulating innovation and simplifying the way scientists and smaller businesses can get funding for EU-backed projects.

 

The EU's research funding has a new name. Will it also have a new finality and bring innovative solutions for the big sustainability challenges or will it remain the "client-binding" programme it has always been with lots of great research but no relevance for policymaking.

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What is the true measure of development?

Karim Rushdy of the Global Institute for Tomorrow looks at the rapid growth in the BRICS countries and its impact on income inequality. Karim raises the essential question what it really means to be "developed".

 

The conclusion:

"Asia in particular needs to find its own path to development. Going one step further the region must redefine what it means to be developed. Rather than follow the West down the plank of fossil-fueled and consumption-led growth, Asian leaders should pause and take stock of where that has gotten their Western counterparts."

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Ken Russell | Film | The Guardian

Ken Russell | Film | The Guardian | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Nothing to do with sustainability, of course, but I have to pay tribute to one of my all-time favorite directors who died yesterday. His Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Tommy had a major impact on my views about art.

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Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion

Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

 

There is no money for the energy revolution, no more money for renewable energy subsidies and green cars. You can see why: the US FED lent nearly 8 trillion dollars to the banks when they needed to be bailed out - oh and yes, these banks made over 13 billion dollars thanks to these loans. Need any more explanation?

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CO2 targets fuel auto industry divisions | EurActiv

CO2 targets fuel auto industry divisions | EurActiv | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Meeting in Brussels on Friday (2 December), car manufacturers failed to agree a common position towards EU proposals that would cap automobile CO2 emissions at 95 grammes per kilometer (g/km) by 2020.

 

Good EurActiv article on the internal struggle in the European automotive industry on future carbon targets for new cars.

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What Can Save the Euro?

What Can Save the Euro? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
It is increasingly evident that Europe’s political leaders, for all their commitment to the euro’s survival, do not have a good grasp of what is required to make the single currency work.

 

Joseph E. Stiglitz expresses his doubts about European leaders' effectiveness in finding a solution to the Eurocrisis

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Rise of the TIMBIs

Rise of the TIMBIs | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Forget the BRICs. The real economies that will shake up the world over the next few decades need a new acronym."

 

How Turkey, India, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia will be the next economic superstars. Very interesting article in Foreign Policy.

 

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The Political Case Against Out-Sized Executive Pay

The Political Case Against Out-Sized Executive Pay | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
The exponential growth in executive compensation over the last thirty years, as compared to slow growth in average worker pay, has been at the center of debates about the financial crisis and its aftermath.

 

The Harvard Business Review blog has this excellent analysis by Ben Heineman on extreme compensation growth for CEOs  in companies and the societal implications.

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Why energy journalism is so bad

Why energy journalism is so bad | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Energy futurist Chris Nelder tries to explain why most energy journalism is so bad, and gives readers a few tips on how to read it critically.

 

Being an energy journalist myself, I could not agree more. But then again, it is energy literacy in general in society and in our education systems which needs a serious rethink.

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European proposals: EU planners hint at fairytale future

Imagine a future in which Europe derives virtually all its power from thousands of windmills and other sources of renewable energy.

 

The FT's Joshua Chaffin calls the renewable energy scenario in the EU's upcoming Energy Roadmap a "fairytale" and warns that ultimately consumers will have to pay the price for the low-carbon future. Problem is, Joshua, that continuing to rely on "extreme" or unconventional fossil fuel energy will be no less than a "nightmare" (for climate, environment and also in price we will pay for our energy). Sometimes fairy tales do come true.

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Time for progressive companies to deal with the climate change bad guys

Time for progressive companies to deal with the climate change bad guys | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Business leaders who embrace sustainability should expose those ignoring the imperatives of climate change...

 

Excellent analysis by Simon Zadek in the Guardian's Sustainable Business blog.

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Shale-Gas Drilling Cost in Poland Triple U.S., Schlumberger Says

Shale-gas drilling in Poland costs almost three times as much as in the U.S., said Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield-services provider.

 

Interesting admission from one of the key industries. At these costs will shale gas development ever be profitable in Europe?

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FAO report: "Energy-smart" agriculture needed to escape fossil fuel trap

FAO report:  "Energy-smart" agriculture needed to escape fossil fuel trap | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

High and fluctuating prices of fossil fuels and doubts regarding their future availability mean that agri-food systems need to shift to an "energy-smart" model, according to the report Energy-Smart Food for People and Climate.

 

Mandatory reading for all policymakers involved in the debate on the European Common Agricultural Policy reform.

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Coal study names top 20 'climate killer' banks

Coal study names top 20 'climate killer' banks | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC are among the top banks that have lent billions of euros to the coal sector – despite their much-vaunted environmental credentials, a new investigation has found.. (source: the Guardian)

 

No surprise there really, short-term profits still trump all sustainability greenwashing.

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Belgian government abolishes green policies

Belgium seems well on its way to get a new government after more than 530 days. One of its first policies will be to abolish most of the measures that were introduced in the past to green its economy and put Belgium on a more sustainable track.

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Friends of the Earth new paper: The failed promises of forest carbon finance

Friends of the Earth new paper: The failed promises of forest carbon finance | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Ultimately, the current focus on carbon market finance for REDD is neither feasible nor effective.
There are simpler solutions that could actually deliver emissions reductions at scale in the near-term, and in­novative sources of finance that could be mobilized at the scale needed. Governments should focus their efforts on developing more efficient and implementable policy frameworks and incentives to halt global deforestation instead of relying on unworkable carbon offset approaches.
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