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Policy news & blueprints for the transition to a new Sustainable and Social Economy
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The New Story of Stuff: Can We Consume Less?

The New Story of Stuff: Can We Consume Less? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A new study finds that Britons are consuming less than they did a decade ago, with similar patterns being seen across Europe. Could this be the beginning of a trend in developed countries? Might we be reaching “peak stuff”?

 

Interesting article in the Yale Environment360 blog: are we witnessing a decline in resource use in developed countries?

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George Monbiot on the EU's farming policy reform: Big Farmer

George Monbiot on the EU's farming policy reform: Big Farmer | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The poorest taxpayers are subsidising the richest people in Europe: and this spending will remain uncut until at least 2020."

 

George Monbiot's radical attack on the EU's proposals for reform of its Common Agricultural Policy. I only agree partially with George's critique. While financial help should be seriously capped, if not abolished, for these "big farmers", the EU needs a common farming and environment policy. In an age of increasing resource constraints and globalisation in reverse, we will need more farmers in the future, not less.

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Oxfam report: Extreme weather endangers food security worldwide

Oxfam report: Extreme weather endangers food security worldwide | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"In the last year extreme weather events shocked global markets contributing to soaring wheat prices and imperiling food security in many parts of the world, according to research compiled by Oxfam at the start of the Durban climate talks."

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Consumers without Boundaries

Consumers without Boundaries | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

Simon Zadek explains on his blog why sustainability has reached its "valley of death" and what can be done to get it out of this predicament.

 

"De-materialised products, rentalised markets, renewable power and sustainability standards are amongst the social innovations that have provided inspiration and advances in offering consumers greener choices. Yet whilst our call to arms has been for transformation, we are, in practice, celebrating incremental changes in the spirit of increasingly desperate optimism."

 

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Why is economic growth so popular?

Why is economic growth so popular? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"When the new Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Mario Monti, gave his acceptance speech to the Senate, a few days ago, he used 28 times the term "growth" and not even once terms such as "natural resources" or "energy". He is not alone in neglecting the physical basis of the world's economy: the chorus of economic pundits everywhere in the world is all revolving around this magic world, "growth". But why? What is that makes this single parameter so special and so beloved?"

 

Italian professor Ugo Bardi explains why his new prime minister and other "leaders" are preparing for faster system collapse in their quasi-religious quest for new economic growth.

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Clean Energy Stunner: Renewable Power Tops Fossil Fuels for First Time

Clean Energy Stunner: Renewable Power Tops Fossil Fuels for First Time | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis….

 

Despite all efforts from America's anti-science party and the community of climate deniers, renewable energy continues to grow.. although not fast enough to lead us to a sustainable future.

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Denmark aims for 100 percent renewable energy in 2050

Denmark aims for 100 percent renewable energy in 2050 | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

(Reuters) - "Danish government proposals on Friday called for sourcing just over half of its electricity from wind turbines by 2020 and all of its energy from renewable sources in 2050."

 

 

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Bridging the Emissions Gap to Meet 2-Degree Target Doable - UNEP

Bridging the Emissions Gap to Meet 2-Degree Target Doable - UNEP | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Cutting emissions by 2020 to a level that could keep a global, 21st century, temperature rise under 2 degrees C is technologically and economically feasible, says a comprehensive new study released today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)."

 

If you read carefully what is required (accelerated uptake of renewables, more energy efficiency, more public transport and strong mitigation efforts from aviation and shipping), you know that this is a wishful thinking report which is politically irrealistic.

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Howlers and omissions exposed in world of corporate social responsibility

Howlers and omissions exposed in world of corporate social responsibility | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Environment reports by some of the world's biggest companies are routinely including wrong statistics and leaving out vital information..."

 

An examination of more than 4,000 corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports by a team of Leeds University seriously questions the value of these reports.

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Oil price could strangle economic recovery hopes: IEA

(Reuters) - The high oil price could strangle efforts to get the global economy back on its feet and may also hamper Asia's ability to help the West exit its crisis, the International Energy Agency's chief economist said on Thursday.

 

Fatih Birol has more insight into Europe's debt crisis and its stalling economy than these so-called European leaders who are still believing Santa Claus will bring back economic growth.

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The Neuroeconomics Revolution

The Neuroeconomics Revolution | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Economics is at the start of a revolution that is traceable to an unexpected source: medical schools and their research facilities.

 

Project Syndicate has this interesting article by Robert Shiller ("Animal Spirits") on the new wave in economic thinking. Maybe these neuroeconomists should first try to understand what is wrong with traditional economists' brain to have such a distorted view of how the economy REALLY works?

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Fresh round of hacked climate science emails leaked online

Fresh round of hacked climate science emails leaked online | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
A file containing 5,000 emails has been made available in an apparent attempt to repeat the impact of 2009's similar release...

 

Another year, another climate summit, another "climategate"? Who is behind this hacking?

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China Outlines Cuts in Carbon Emissions

With global climate talks set to begin next week, China on Tuesday issued the most comprehensive document yet on its plans and negotiating positions on emissions.

 

Unfortunately, this White Paper is in my opinion nothing more than a tactical tool to shift the blame and the responsibility for future big action on the rich, developed countries. China should stop positioning itself as a "developing" country.

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Is the European Meltdown a Euro Crisis or a Resource Crunch?

Is the European Meltdown a Euro Crisis or a Resource Crunch? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Using Ecological Footprint metrics and monetizing the cost of Ecological Deficits, he provides evidence that the Euro crisis is a symptom of deepening resource constraints. Therefore, turning around resource trends becomes a necessary condition for Europe's economy to recover. While the biocapacity deficit cost Greece less than 10% of their GDP in the 1990s, in 2009 it shot up to nearly 40% of its GDP."

 

Global Footprint Network's Mathis Wackernagel makes the correct link between global resource constraints and Europe's debt crisis. What Europe really needs is not more of the same (economic governance) but a complete redefinition of its economic and social model.

 

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UK's faith in nuclear power threatens renewables, says German energy expert

UK's faith in nuclear power threatens renewables, says German energy expert | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
Jochen Flasbarth, who is advising German government on its nuclear phase-out, says UK's wind and solar industry will suffer...

 

Maybe Germany should also take the lead of Europe's energy policy as it is doing for its economic crisis?

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Is a global agreement the only way to tackle climate change?

Is a global agreement the only way to tackle climate change? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

David King and Achim Steiner debate whether international climate treaties have become redundant... (Source: The Guardian).

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Robert Rapier: The Scientific Challenges To Replacing Oil with Renewables

Robert Rapier: The Scientific Challenges To Replacing Oil with Renewables | The Great Transition | Scoop.it
So, assuming the Peak Oil camp is on to something, what's the likelihood for a disruption-free transition to another energy source that can replace the energy output we currently enjoy from oil?
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New Greenpeace Report: Who's holding us back?

New Greenpeace Report: Who's holding us back? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"The corporations most responsible for contributing to climate change emissions and profiting from those activities are campaigning to increase their access to international negotiations and, at the same time, working to defeat progressive legislation on climate change and energy around the world." (Greenpeace)

 

 

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Why does every person need 200kg of steel a year?

Why does every person need 200kg of steel a year? | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

BBC News has this provocative article on the raw materials and resources we use in our global economy. The boring statistics of how much stuff we need are translated into an understandable but disturbing metaphor. 

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Air pollution costs Europe billions: report

(Reuters) - "Air pollution caused more than 100 billion euros ($134.95 billion) in health and environmental damage, highlighting the need for more renewables sources of energy, a report published on Thursday by the European Environment Agency found."

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At Durban, the big emitters will no doubt fail us again on climate change

At Durban, the big emitters will no doubt fail us again on climate change | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

John Vidal in the Guardian: "World leaders have reduced climate change to a low-grade, backroom discussion. But developing countries are getting angry."

 

Our European leaders are busy saving Europe, no? And in the U.S., Obama and the Anti-American, anti-science party are preparing elections. So climate change will have to wait a few years. I guess it is time to start building the Second Ark.

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Going green, big business hires auditors for proof

Going green, big business hires auditors for proof | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

"Green audits - which for medium-sized companies can easily cost more than $100,000 - are helping a growing number of corporations assert their environmental responsibility in the face of scrutiny from the government, as well as consumers."

 

Good article from Reuters on the need for independent audits of companies "we go green" claims.

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Renewable energy becoming cost competitive, IEA says

Renewable energy becoming cost competitive, IEA says | The Great Transition | Scoop.it

(Reuters) - "Renewable energy technology is becoming increasingly cost competitive and growth rates are in line to meet levels required of a sustainable energy future, the International Energy Agency said in a report on Wednesday."

 

Hopefully this new study from the IEA will finally stop the ideological attacks by renewable energy opponents against the "high costs" of renewables.

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Lack of planning may spur resource shocks -McKinsey

* 3 billion to join middle class by 2030, spur huge demand* Long-term investment needs, short-term politics mismatched* China's centralised planning to help fill gap"

 

Interesting new report by McKinsey - resource crisis needs more central planning.

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Second-generation ethanol processing cost prohibitive

Costs for second-generation ethanol processing, which will ease the stress on corn and sugarcane, are unlikely to be competitive until 2020.
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