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The Great Transition
Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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Book Review: Is the Planet Full? edited by Ian Goldin

Book Review: Is the Planet Full? edited by Ian Goldin | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Ultimately, Is the Planet Full? argues that the world we live in may already be overpopulated due to our current institutional arrangements failing to adequately manage resources in an equitable and sustainable way. Goldin and colleagues highlight that counter to popular opinion “the planet may be far from full” (p.228), but only if we address key governance challenges in managing our societies, economies and environment."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Good review on a new interesting book about population growth.

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degrowth economy and ecology's comment, August 11, 5:13 AM
Full of stupids and idiots
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Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy'

Scientists vindicate 'Limits to Growth' – urge investment in 'circular economy' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Nafeez Ahmed: Early warning of civilisational collapse by early to mid 21st century startlingly prescient - but opportunity for transition open
Willy De Backer's insight:

Good review of the latest study by Prof. Ugo Bardi for the Club of Rome on how climate change and resource constraints will force us to rethink our way of life.

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Daniel LaLiberte's curator insight, July 31, 10:00 PM

Zero Footprint means not just lowering our environmental impact, but eliminating it, and eliminating waste by recycling 100% of the resources we use, powered by 100% renewable energy.

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Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt

Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data – and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent Naomi Klein article in New Statesman: "our entire economic paradigm is a threat to ecological stability. And indeed that challenging this economic paradigm – through mass-movement counter-pressure – is humanity’s best shot at avoiding catastrophe"

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Peak Oil: a fertile concept

Peak Oil: a fertile concept | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Peak oil provides a complete worldview that sheds light on everything that's happening in the world. Those who don't understand the bell curve are condemned to follow it.
Willy De Backer's insight:

excellent analysis by Udo Bardi on the Resilience blog.

 

"So, is peak oil dead? Well, no. For one thing, peak oil never was just a doomer's game where players tried to guess the exact day for the end of the world. No; it was – and it still is - a fertile concept; a way of seeing the world. It taught us a lot, and it is still teaching us a lot."

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Peak Water: What Happens When the Wells Go Dry?

Peak Water: What Happens When the Wells Go Dry? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Peak oil has generated headlines in recent years, but the real threat to our future is peak water. There are substitutes for oil, but not for water. We can produce food without oil, but not without water.

We drink on average four liters of water per day, in one form or another, but the food we eat each day requires 2,000 liters of water to produce, or 500 times as much. Getting enough water to drink is relatively easy, but finding enough to produce the ever-growing quantities of grain the world consumes is another matter."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Great article from the Earth Policy Institute of Lester Brown.

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Into The Valley Of Death Rode The 600, Into The Valley Of 400 PPM Rode The 7 Billion

Into The Valley Of Death Rode The 600, Into The Valley Of 400 PPM Rode The 7 Billion | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
“Forward, the Light Brigade!” Was there a man dismay’d ? Not tho’ the soldier knew Some one had blunder’d: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die, Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Great blog post by Joe Romm quoting Jeremy Grantham's latest analysis and William Ophuls new book 'Immoderate Greatness: why civilisations fail'. Should I rename the title of this ScoopIt from the 'Great Transition" to the "Great Collapse"?

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New Lens Scenarios - Shell Global

New Lens Scenarios - Shell Global | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"With the world’s population headed toward 9 billion at mid-century and millions of people climbing out of poverty, global energy demand could increase by as much as 80% by 2050. That’s according to Shell’s latest scenarios, which look at trends in the economy, politics and energy in considering developments over the next half a century."

Willy De Backer's insight:

In its latest New Lens scenarios, Shell recognises the existence of "ecological limits" to growth and confirms 2 degrees warming target is unreachable.

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We need joined-up thinking now to stave off energy and resource crisis - Telegraph

We need joined-up thinking now to stave off energy and resource crisis  - Telegraph | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Firm and far-reaching policies can address the world's resource and environmental stresses, but the window of opportunity is shrinking. This is what emerges from a major – and timely – new report by Shell's scenarios team.
Willy De Backer's insight:

The New Lens scenarios of the Shell team will be presented on 28 February. It will be interesting to read how they transform real scary trends into narratives that will suit the company's direct business interests.

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, February 24, 2013 6:32 AM

"By bringing our uncertain future into sharper focus, the New Lens Scenarios show how decisions today could prove decisive in tackling resource and environmental stresses. Policy drift and unbalanced regulation will mean higher greenhouse gas emissions, and more pressing resource scarcity tomorrow.


The time for action is upon us, if that window of opportunity is not to close for good."


Peter Voser is the CEO of Shell

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On the link between resource scarcity, financial fraud and the failure of austerity policies

Willy De Backer's insight:

This is an absolute must-read commentary written by Jin Chen and James Galbraith explaining how rising energy and resource constraints have led to the extreme fraudulous financialisation of global economy and why austerity policies but also a return to Keynesianism will not work.

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Conflict and Change in the Era of Economic Decline: Part 1 - The 21st century landscape of conflict

Conflict and Change in the Era of Economic Decline: Part 1 - The 21st century landscape of conflict | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Brilliant start of a five-articles essay by Richard Heinberg on the social implications of the Great Decline. Absolute must-read.

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Prosperity with growth: economic growth, climate change and environmental limits

This interesting working paper written by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment concludes that "

continued economic growth is feasible and desirable, although not without significant changes in its characteristics.

 

These changes need to involve ultimately the reduction of the rate of material output, with continued growth in value being generated by expansion in the ‘intellectual economy’."

 

The Achilles heel of this thought-provoking paper lies in the fact that it starts from the fallacy that the "intellectuel economy" (the knowledge economy) has little or no material and resource implications.

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The End of Economic Growth

Another impressive presentation by Richard Heinberg of why we have now entered the post-growth era and what will be the implications for our societies.

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Jeremy Grantham: ‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis’

Jeremy Grantham: ‘Welcome to Dystopia’: We Are ‘Entering A Long-Term And Politically Dangerous Food Crisis’ | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"We are five years into a severe global food crisis that is very unlikely to go away. It will threaten poor countries with increased malnutrition and starvation and even collapse. Resource squabbles and waves of food-induced migration will threaten global stability and global growth. This threat is badly underestimated by almost everybody and all institutions with the possible exception of some military establishments."

 

Joe Romm summarises the latest article by guru investor Jeremy Grantham in his Quarterly Newsletter. "The global economy is a Ponzi scheme".

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Germany tops energy efficiency score card

Germany tops energy efficiency score card | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Willy De Backer's insight:

Energy efficiency is good for competitiveness and jobs. Why is so little done then at EU level?

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What Happened to the Future?

What Happened to the Future? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Improbably, the global economy has returned to growth over the past four years despite the ravages of a deflationary debt collapse, a punishing oil shock, ongoing constraint from debt and deleveraging...
Willy De Backer's insight:

Excellent article at Peak Prosperity by Gregor Macdonald explaining how increased use of coal and gas is restarting growth in the global economy after the oil crash and what it will mean for future investments when global net energy per capita is in decline.

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Professor Who Gave Famous Overpopulation Lecture Over 1,700 Times Dies

Professor Who Gave Famous Overpopulation Lecture Over 1,700 Times Dies | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A renowned former physics professor at the University of Colorado Boulder who was famous for a lecture he delivered over 1,700 times died on Saturday at the age of 90. According to The Daily Camera, he had been diagnosed with lymphoma.
Willy De Backer's insight:

Death of one of the world's greatest sustainability thinkers - "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function"

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At the root of Egyptian rage is a deepening resource crisis

At the root of Egyptian rage is a deepening resource crisis | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Egypt’s resource crisis is more than the primary driver of its own collapse: It could potentially destabilize the entire region, if not the world."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Must-read article on the crisis in Egypt and the Middle East. Nafeez Ahmed  is one of the few analysts who is able and willing to understand the nexus between the economic, the ecological and the energy crises.

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World Population May Reach 11 Billion By 2100

World Population May Reach 11 Billion By 2100 | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The model predicts that the population will likely reach between 9 billion and 13 billion by 2100."

Willy De Backer's insight:

And still, this issue remains the biggest taboo for policymakers and media.

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The Oil Drum | Twelve Reasons Why Globalization is a Huge Problem

The Oil Drum | Twelve Reasons Why Globalization is a Huge Problem | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Globalization seems to be looked on as an unmitigated “good” by economists. Unfortunately, economists seem to be guided by their badly flawed models; they miss real-world problems. In particular, they miss the point that the world is finite. We don’t have infinite resources, or unlimited ability to handle excess pollution. So we are setting up a “solution” that is at best temporary.

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Time for some optimism about the climate crisis

Time for some optimism about the climate crisis | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"There are strong grounds for believing that the climate crisis can be overcome and that many people’s lives, particularly in the poorer countries, could be materially better than they are now because of the work the production of biofuels and biochemicals to replace their fossil equivalents should bring, coupled with the additional fertility that biochar should create. Since the alternative is industrial and societal decline and, after increasing unrest, an eventual collapse, there’s every reason to think the system will incline the right way. But one thing is necessary first: the twin myths that there’s plenty of energy and that economic growth can continue must be exposed."

Willy De Backer's insight:

Long but brilliant analysis connecting the ecological, economic and energy crises. Maybe a bit too optimistic in their belief that our elites and institutions will be smart enough to prevent collapse but worth reading.

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Jørgen Randers: Should paid work be rationed?

Jørgen Randers: Should paid work be rationed? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Shorter working weeks with more time spent pursuing hobbies, would help stabilise the use of planetary resources, suggests Jørgen Randers, co-author of 1972 book The Limits to Growth
Willy De Backer's insight:

Interesting proposal in theory but what if people used their mandatory vacation for more consumption and more footprint-heavy traveling?

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"Resources Futures" | key to future of the economy

"Resources Futures" | key to future of the economy | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Excellent new report from think tank Chatham House on the political economy of global resources use.

 

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Zero-growth is the 'new normal'

Zero-growth is the 'new normal' | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

US economic growth will be less than 1% in the next fourty years according to a new analysis by famous American investor Jeremy Grantham. The contrarian investor sees resource scarcity and higher resource prices as well as demographic factors as the main reason why our global economies will continue to struggle for new economic growth.

 

As always the gloomy predictions of Mr Grantham's piece make a lot of sense but will be neglected by the "don't worry, be happy" myopic political and economic elites.

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Sustainable cities must look beyond city limits

Sustainable cities must look beyond city limits | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"City leaders aspiring to transform their cities into models of sustainability must look beyond city limits and include in their calculation the global flow of goods and materials into their realm, argue researchers in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences journal Ambio."

 

Interesting analysis: if we look at the total footprint of cities, how sustainable are they really? Is urbanisation really the key to future sustainability? And what about the social sustainability of cities in a world of increasing inequality?

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Neoliberalism, Degrowth and the Fate of Health Systems

"Degrowth recognizes that humanity’s access to the earth’s resources and services of the biosphere are constraints upon socioeconomic activity. It also holds that politics and economics cannot trump thermodynamic and ecological realities. It places the limits to growth and ecological overshoot at the center of the predicaments Homo sapiens confront. It connects to culture and political/economy through this root public policy question: How to equitably distribute a shrinking economic pie?"

 

Must-read analysis by Dan Bednarz and Allana Beavis on what "the end of cheap energy and growth" means for Western health systems.

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