decarbonisation

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pages: 469 words: 142,230

The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World by Oliver Morton

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Elon Musk, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, renewable energy transition, Scramble for Africa, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, Stewart Brand, Thomas Malthus

I suspect that others may have had their appetite for on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hands more than sated. So it hardly needs saying, at this point, that there are risks. But there are not only risks. So here is the radical end to the Concert scenario. It works. By the end of the twenty-first century humans are emitting only about 2 gigatonnes of carbon a year, a lot less than today’s 10 gigatonnes and a great deal less than the mid-century peak. Processes that could be decarbonized over a few generations have been decarbonized; that includes essentially all electricity production. Hydrocarbons are still used for some recalcitrant industrial processes and some forms of transport where alternatives are hard to find, like flight, and while some of them are specially made for the purpose, others are still sourced from the Earth’s crust. But technologies for the removal of carbon dioxide are now nullifying some of the effects of these residual fossil-fuel emissions.

For an excellent overall account of the science of climate change, see IPCC (2013); for an enlightening discussion of why people answer Socolow’s questions in many ways, see Hulme (2009), and for an authoritative account of the lack of progress towards an international climate regime capable of curbing emissions, see Victor (2011). For Arnulf Grübler’s thoughts on energy transitions as cited, see Grübler (2012). The estimates of decarbonisation rates come from Anderson and Bows (2009). The pre-1980 history of nuclear power in America is discussed in Walker (2006), and in France in Hecht (2009); see also Morton (2013). The case for new nuclear power is made in Stone (2013) and Lynas (2014). A very good general account of renewable energy can be found in MacKay (2008). The report chaired by Jane Long is in Long et al. (2011) and the APS report on direct-air-capture costs chaired by Robert Socolow is in Socolow et al. (2011).

Founding papers on geoengineering as a response to greenhouse warming are Marchetti (1977) and Dyson (1977). A sense of where geoengineering stood in the early 1990s can be taken from the National Academies of Science (1992); see also MacCracken (1991), a paper presented at the Palm Coast conference. The interlinked growth of carbon-dioxide politics and climate-change science are traced in Weart (2008) and Howe (2014). The lack of decarbonisation in British consumption, as opposed to production, is discussed in Helm (2012). The best account of why international progress on climate change is hard is in Victor (2011). Chapter Six: Moving the Goalposts The Livermore paper is Teller, Wood and Hyde (1997). Responses to Lowell Wood’s Aspen talk are in Keith (2000a) and Bala and Caldeira (2000). The political context of Teller’s contribution is detailed in Oreskes and Conway (2012).


pages: 469 words: 132,438

Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet by Varun Sivaram

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, carbon footprint, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, demand response, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, financial innovation, fixed income, global supply chain, global village, Google Earth, hive mind, hydrogen economy, index fund, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, M-Pesa, market clearing, market design, mass immigration, megacity, mobile money, Negawatt, off grid, oil shock, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, renewable energy transition, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, time value of money, undersea cable, wikimedia commons

But a high penetration of solar power leads to skyrocketing costs to accommodate its intermittency. Hence, a power system can easily get stuck in a cul-de-sac off the highway to deep decarbonization. For example, a review of decarbonization studies concluded that steadily increasing renewable energy, switching from coal to natural gas, and just maintaining existing nuclear and hydropower capacity could reduce power-sector emissions by over 50 percent.27 But reducing emissions by 80–100 percent would require a surge in new nuclear reactors, carbon capture and storage setups for almost all fossil plants, and an explosion of new solar and wind capacity.28 It is crucial, then, to start planning and investing today in a power system with all the right elements to reach deep decarbonization decades later. In such a system, three broad classes of power supply are needed. The first is renewable energy, mostly from wind and solar power.

Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions in 2015 Are 12% Below Their 2005 Levels—Today in Energy,” May 9, 2016, https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=26152. 27.  Jesse D. Jenkins and Samuel Thernstrom, “Deep Decarbonization of The Electric Power Sector: Insights from Recent Literature,” Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP), March 2017, http://innovationreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/EIRP-Deep-Decarb-Lit-Review-Jenkins-Thernstrom-March-2017.pdf. 28.  James H. Williams et al., Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (San Francisco: Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc., 2016), https://usddpp.org/downloads/2014-technical-report.pdf. 29.  Gang He et al., “SWITCH-China: A Systems Approach to Decarbonizing China’s Power System,” Environmental Science & Technology 50, no. 11 (2016): 5467–5473, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b01345. 30.  M. M. Hand et al.

See also specific cities duck curve of demand in, 74–77, 75f grid in, 199, 211, 242 intermittency problems in, 4 power market in, 240, 269 renewable energy growth in, 73, 74 renewable portfolio standard in, 268 rooftop/residential solar in, 100, 104 solar water heaters in, 30 value deflation in, 71, 72f, 83, 146 California Independent System Operator (CAISO), 74–77, 75f, 290g California Institute of Technology, 174 Canada, 206, 207 Capacity, 47b, 284g Capacity markets, 240, 284g Capital cost of, 90, 287g debt, 91, 98, 100–101, 126 defined, 287g equity, 90–91 for new solar projects, 90–92 for off-grid projects, 138–139 for SHS up-front costs, 125, 126 venture, 39, 257, 258f, 288g working, 128, 138–139 Carbon-based fuels from sunlight. See Solar fuels Carbon capture, utilization, and storage cost of, 237–238 in deep decarbonization efforts, 61, 62 defined, 284g for fossil-fueled power plants, 82, 225 Carbon dioxide, 180, 181, 188 Carbon emissions. See also Deep decarbonization and climate change, 22 in Deep Decarbonization road map, 245 economics of eliminating, 234 and future of solar energy, 5–6, 10 in India, 16 Carbon intensity, 106 Carbon price (carbon tax) and global energy transition, 23 political coalitions and, 166 stimulating innovation with, 253, 266, 270–271 Carter, Jimmy, and administration, 30, 35, 255, 256 Catalysts, 176, 177, 182–183 Cathodes, 175 Cavendish Laboratory, 143 CdTe.


pages: 520 words: 129,887

Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future by Robert Bryce

addicted to oil, Bernie Madoff, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cleantech, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, flex fuel, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Menlo Park, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

In late 2008, Nobuo Tanaka, the executive director of the IEA, averred that “preventing irreversible damage to the global climate ultimately requires a major decarbonization of world energy sources.”17 Of course, not all countries are decarbonizing at the same rate. And some countries, including China and India, are increasing, rather than decreasing, their coal consumption. But the long-term decarbonization of the global economy is continuing, and given concerns about climate change, that trend is likely to accelerate as countries around the world build more nuclear reactors and increase their consumption of natural gas. Decarbonization favors natural gas and nuclear power at the same time that environmentalists and some politicians are working to impose countryby-country limits on carbon dioxide emissions.

Thus, achieving a substantial increase in nuclear power production in the United States will take decades. In the meantime, natural gas provides the most attractive option. Together, natural gas and nuclear are essential to the ongoing decarbonization of the world’s primary energy use, a trend that has been ongoing for about two hundred years. Decarbonization, the trend favoring fuels with lower carbon content, is occurring because energy consumers are always seeking cleaner, denser forms of energy that allow them to do work cleaner, faster, and more precisely. Embracing N2N offers a no-regrets energy policy that will lead to further decarbonization while providing multiple benefits to the United States and the rest of the world. The structure of this book follows the basic outline contained in the title. In Part 1, I discuss our hunger for power, how much we use, where it comes from, and why our desire for power of all kinds continues to increase.

Or as one recent book, A Cubic Mile of Oil, explained it, about 2,000 tons of uranium-235 “can release as much energy as burning 4.2 billion tons of oil.” That’s the equivalent of about 30.7 billion barrels—or one cubic mile—of oil.14 The surging use of natural gas and nuclear power demonstrates and reinforces one of the most important energy megatrends of the modern era: decarbonization. Decarbonization is the ongoing global trend toward consumption of fuels that contain less carbon. This megatrend was first identified by a group of scientists that included Nebosa Nakicenovic, Arnulf Grübler, Jesse Ausubel, and Cesare Marchetti,15 who found that over the past two centuries, the process of decarbonization has been taking place in nearly every country around the world. Because consumers always want the cleanest, densest forms of energy and power that they can find, the trend will surely continue. The ratio of carbon to hydrogen atoms in the most common fuels tells the story.


pages: 330 words: 99,044

Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson

Airbnb, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, dark matter, decarbonisation, disruptive innovation, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, Kickstarter, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, mittelstand, Mont Pelerin Society, Nelson Mandela, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, profit maximization, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steven Pinker, stocks for the long run, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, uber lyft, urban planning, Washington Consensus, working-age population, Zipcar

Going Global: The Private Sector and Climate Policy Business must push governments everywhere to address climate change, insisting that policy be based on current science, and advocating strongly for market-friendly policies that could help us to avert disaster. Appropriate regulation—something like a carbon tax or a carbon cap—would not only allow the global economy to decarbonize at minimal cost but would also open up billions of dollars in new market opportunities. Decarbonization will be expensive. But unchecked climate change will cost billions of dollars more. Current estimates suggest that climate change could cost the US economy as much as 10 percent of GDP by the end of the century and destabilize the world’s food supply.42 The IPCC estimates that keeping GHG emissions to a level that offers a 66 percent chance of not exceeding 2°C warming would cost 3 to 11 percent of world GDP by 2100.43 But leaving global warming unchecked might cost 23 to 74 percent of global per capita GDP by 2100 in lost agricultural production, health risks, flooded cities, and other major disruptions.44 Unchecked climate change will also impose irreversible harm on coming generations.

Kelly Gilblom, Bloomberg.com, Apr. 11, 2019, www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-04-11/climate-group-with-32-trillion-pushes-companies-for-transparency. 73. The “+” stands for the sixty-one additional “focus companies” that were added to the list six months later either because they will be significantly affected by climate change or because they have a particularly important role to play in mitigating it. 74. https://climateaction100.wordpress.com/. 75. “Power Companies Must Accelerate Decarbonisation and Support Ambitious Climate Policy,” FT.com, Dec. 20, 2018. 76. “Proposal: Strategy Consistent with the Goals of the Paris Agreement,” Ceres, https://ceres.my.salesforce.com/sfc/p/#A0000000ZqYY/a/1H000000bxTX/VMk1IZrSUtwbmXzkJ_DVFFsrtiQBpMuOiZMnzu7V7Y8. Chapter 7. Protecting What Has Made Us Rich and Free 1. Yascha Mounk, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018). 2.

In 2050, if you are a carbon-intensive business, you are in big trouble; chances are you won’t be in business by then. We have been in business for over 100 years, and we want to be in business in 2050, but that doesn’t mean you take action in 2049. You have to move down this path and be ahead of the curve as the world moves. This is the key to understanding CLP’s strategy. The flip side of risk is opportunity. If Asia’s power sector was going to decarbonize—and CLP believed that it was—moving to carbon-free energy ahead of the competition was potentially an exceedingly attractive business opportunity. Fifteen years later, their early commitments look prescient. Between 2010 and 2018, for example, the global weighted-average cost of solar- and wind-generated electricity has fallen by 35 and 77 percent, respectively.51 Installation costs have dropped by 22 and 90 percent.52 In some places solar and wind are already cheaper than coal.


pages: 333 words: 76,990

The Long Good Buy: Analysing Cycles in Markets by Peter Oppenheimer

"Robert Solow", asset allocation, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collective bargaining, computer age, credit crunch, debt deflation, decarbonisation, diversification, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, housing crisis, index fund, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Live Aid, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, oil shock, open economy, price stability, private sector deleveraging, Productivity paradox, quantitative easing, railway mania, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, stocks for the long run, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, tulip mania, yield curve

In 1986, for example, a group of British scientists discovered a hole in the earth's ozone layer, a finding that led just two years later to the Montreal Protocol, the first international agreement to protect the ozone layer and the first United Nations treaty to achieve universal ratification. The discovery raised awareness of environmental risks,2 and climate change became an important political issue for the first time. This issue has since taken on far greater dominance and is becoming central to policy and politics, particularly in Europe, where legal commitments to decarbonisation may, in part, change the nature and structure of our economies in the years to come. The wave of new technologies in this period facilitated many other social changes in the mid-1980s when I entered the workforce. In July 1985, just before my first job started, the Live Aid concert had taken place, staged both in London's Wembley stadium and the JFK stadium in Philadelphia. New communications technology meant that, for the first time, a concert could be beamed around the world in real time.

An alternative scenario is that growth, inflation and interest rates remain very subdued, as they have tended to be in Japan over recent decades. Although this may reduce volatility in financial assets, it is likely to be accompanied by low returns. With rising demand for returns given ageing populations and long-run liabilities in the form of health care and pension costs, it will be harder to generate the required returns without taking increased risks. Perhaps the greatest challenge will come from climate change and the need to decarbonise economies. Although efforts to do this will be costly, it would also provide significant opportunities for investment and retooling economies so that future growth is more sustainable. Technology is beginning to yield results. In the past 8 years, wind power costs have fallen by 65%, solar costs by 85% and battery costs by 70%. Within 15 years, it should be possible not only to deliver renewable electricity at prices that are fully competitive with fossil-fuel-based power but also to provide the low-cost backup and storage required to make it possible to run power systems that are 80%–90% reliant on intermittent renewables.2 Over the long run, even accepting the fluctuations caused by cycles, investing can be extremely profitable.

Index 100 year bond 34 1920s, United States 148, 154, 157, 160 1945-1968, post-war boom 129–131 1960s ‘Nifty Fifty’ 114, 130–131, 233, 235 structural bear market 130 1970s Dow Jones 131 equity cycle 56 oil crisis 108 1980s bull markets 131–133 Dow Jones 15–16, 131–132 equity cycle 56–57 Japan 114, 148–149, 155–156, 158, 160–161, 162, 164 technology 12–15 1990s 16–17 Asia crisis 108, 133 equity cycle 57 S&P concentration 114 technology bubble 33, 93–94, 149–150, 156–157, 158–159, 161, 164 2000-2007 equity cycle 57 2007-2009 financial crisis 169–174 emerging markets 171–173 forecasting 19–21 growth vs. value company effects 94–96 impact 169–170 phases 171–174 quantitative easing 173–174, 178–179 sovereign debt 170, 171–173 structural bear market 110, 118–119 A accounting, bubbles 163–165 adjustment speed 74, 89–90 Akerflof, G.A. 23 American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) 154, 225, 235–236, 238 Asia crisis, 1998 108, 133 ASPF see Association of Superannuation and Pension Funds asset classes across phases 66–68 contractions and expansions 63–65 cyclical 83–89 defensive 83–89 diversification 42, 45–47, 178–179 growth 83–84, 90–96 and inflation 65–66, 70 levels of yield 74–76 relationship through cycle 68–76 returns across cycle 63–79 speed of adjustment 74 structural shifts 76–79 value 83–84, 90–96 see also bonds; commodities; equities Association of Superannuation and Pension Funds (ASPF) 77 AT&T see American Telephone and Telegraph austerity 239 Austria, 100 year bond 34 B bank margins 214–215 bear markets 49, 99–125 1960s 130 characteristics 100–106, 117–118 cyclical 105, 106–107 deflation 109, 113 duration 100–101, 106–111, 117 employment 121–124 event-driven 105, 107–109 false negatives 119–120 financial crisis 118–119 growth momentum 122–123 indicators 106, 108, 109–110, 119–125 inflation 101–103, 109, 121–122 interest rates 106, 111–113 prior conditions 121–124 private sector financial balance 124 profitability 115–117 recovery 101 risk indicator vs MSCI index 124–125 S&P 500 103–105 structural 105 triggers 101–105, 106, 108, 111 valuations 123 yield curve 122 behavioural factors 5, 22–25 Berlin Wall, fall of 133 Bernanke, B. 133 betas 65, 85 ‘Big Bang’ deregulation 12 Bing 237 Black Monday 16, 102, 148 Black Wednesday 16–17 ‘bond-like’ equities 96 bonds, 100 year 34 bond yields across phases 66–68, 72–76 current cycle 95–96, 191–193, 201–220 cyclical vs. defensive companies 87–88 and demographics 215–217 and equity valuations 72–76, 206–208 and growth companies 92–94 historical 43, 202 and implied growth 210–215 and inflation 65, 70 quantitative easing 173–174, 202–205 and risk asset demand 217–220 S&P 500 correlation 72–73 speed of adjustment 74, 89–90 ultra-low 201–220 and value companies 92–94 vs. dividends 78–79 vs. equities 43–45, 68–76, 78–79 Bretton Woods monetary system 102, 130–131 broadcast radio 154, 225 Bubble Act 147, 157 bubbles 143–165 1920s US 148, 154, 157, 160 1980s Japan 114, 148–149, 155–156, 158, 160–161, 162, 164 accounting 163–165 canal mania 152 characteristics 145–146 deregulation 157–159 easy credit 160–161 famous 145 financial innovation 158–159 government-debt-for-equity swaps 151–152 Mississippi Company 147, 151 ‘new eras’ 150–157 personal computers 155 psychology 144–145 radio manufacturing 154 railways 148, 152–154, 157, 160, 163 Shanghai composite stock price index 156 South Sea Company 147, 151, 153 structural bear markets 113 sub-prime mortgages 70, 102, 118, 133, 145, 159 technology, 1990s 33, 93–94, 149–150, 156–157, 158–159, 161, 164 tulip mania 146–147 valuations 161–162 bull markets 49, 127–142 characteristics 127–141 composition 138 cyclical 134–136 disinflation 131–133 duration 136–138, 139–141 equity performance 135–136 Great Moderation 133–134, 187–189 non-trending 138–141 post-war boom 129–131 quantitative easing 134 secular 127–134 United States 136 C canal mania 152 CAPE see cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio capital investment, Juglar cycle 3 CDO see collateralised debt obligations characteristics bear markets 100–109, 111, 117–118 bubbles 145–146 bull markets 127–141 cyclical bear markets 106–107 event-driven bear markets 108–109 structural bear markets 111 China 15, 156 Cold War 14–15, 133 collateralised debt obligations (CDO) 159 commodities across phases 66–68 Kitchin cycle 3 composition of bull markets 138 concentration structural bear markets 115 and technology 238–240 contractions asset performance 63–65 mini cycles 60 see also recessions Cooper, M. 162 corporate debt 65, 110, 114, 160–161 corporate profitability bear markets 107, 115–117 current equity cycle 185–186 monetary policy 239 credit crunch 78–79, 170, 171 crowds, psychology of 21–22, 144–145 cult of the equity 77–78 current equity cycle 57–58, 167–240 bank profitability 214–215 bond yields 191–193 demographic shifts 215–217 drivers 179–180 earnings per share 195–196 employment and unemployment 183–185 equity valuations 206–208 ‘first mile problem’ 226–227 future expectations 246–247 global relative performance 193–196 growth momentum 174–178, 182–183, 227–231 growth and value companies 190–196, 239–240 implied growth 210–215 inflation 180–182, 203–205 interest rates 180–182, 239–240 Japan, lessons from 196–200 lessons from 244–245 market and economy incongruence 174–178 monetary policy 178–179, 201–205 opportunities 230–231 profitability 185–186 quantitative easing 202–205 returns 174–179 risk asset demand 217–220 structural changes 76–79, 93–96, 169–200 technology 189–190, 221–241 term premium collapse 204–205 ultra-low bond yields 201–220 valuations 233–235 volatility 187–189 cycles 1970s 56 asset returns 63–79 cyclical vs. defensive companies 85–89 equities 49–62 growth vs. value companies 90–96 investment styles 81–96 long-term returns 29–47 riding 11–27 sectors 83–85 valuations 53 cyclical bear markets 105, 106–107, 117, 118 vs. event-driven 109 cyclical bull markets 134–136 cyclical companies bond yields 193 inflation 88 sectors 83–84 vs. defensive 85–89 cyclical growth 83–84 cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio (CAPE) 37–38, 44–45 cyclical value 83–84 D DDM see discounted dividend model debt levels bubbles 160–161 structural bear markets 110, 114 decarbonization 13 defensive companies 63–65 bond yields 193 inflation 88 Japan 198 sectors 83–84 vs. cyclical 85–89 defensive growth 83–84 defensive value 83–84 deflation bear markets 109, 113 Volker 102, 131 delivery solutions 226–227 demographics and zero bond yields 215–217 deregulation 12, 132–133, 157–159 derivative markets 158–159 design of policy 25–26 despair phase 50–52, 53, 55–56, 60, 66–68 cyclical vs. defensive companies 86, 88 growth vs. value companies 92 Dice, C. 161 Dimitrov, O. 162 discounted dividend model (DDM) 36, 69 discount rate 68 disinflation 131–133 disruption 1980s 12–15 current equity cycle 189–190, 221–241 electricity 226 historical parallels 222–227 printing press 223–224 railway infrastructure 224–227 telecoms 225–226 divergence, and technology 238–240 diversification 42, 45–47, 178–179 dividends asset yields 38–41, 69 reinvestment 38–40 value of future streams 209 vs. bonds 78–79 Dodd, D. 163, 164 domain registrations 12–13 dominance of technology 231–233 dotcoms 12–13, 33, 93–94, 102, 161, 237 Dow Jones 1970s 131 1980s 15–16, 131 Black Monday 16, 102, 148 Draghi, M. 17, 173 drivers of bull markets 138 current equity cycle 179–180 duration bear markets 100–101, 106–111, 117 bull markets 135–138, 139–141 cyclical bear markets 106–107, 117, 118 cyclical bull markets 135–136 dominance of technology 231–233 event-driven bear markets 108–109, 117–118 non-trending bull markets 139–141 structural bear markets 109–111, 117 term premia 204–205 DVDs 227 E earnings per share (EPS) bear markets 115–117 historical 189 since pre-financial crisis peak 195–196, 209–210 easy credit, and bubbles 160–161 ECB see European Central Bank Economic Recovery Act, 1981 132 efficient market hypothesis 4 electricity 226 email 13 employment 121–124, 183–185 Enron 164 environmental issues 13 EPS see earnings per share equities across phases 66–68 ‘bond-like’ 96 and bond yields 72–73, 74–76, 206–208 bull market performance 135–136 CAPE 37–38, 44–45 dividends 38–41, 69, 78–79, 209 and inflation 65–66, 70 mini/high-frequency cycles 58–61 narrowing and structural bear markets 114–115 overextension 36–37 phases of investment 50–58 quantitative easing 173–174, 178–179 S&P 500 historical performance 42 valuations and future returns 43–45 vs. bonds 43–45, 68–76, 78–79 equity cycle 49–62 1970s 56 1980s 56–57 1990s 57 2000-2007 57 current 57–58, 76–79 historical periods 56–58 length 49 mini/high-frequency 58–61 phases 50–56 structural shifts 76–79 equity risk premium (ERP) 35–38, 69–72, 210 ERM see exchange rate mechanism ERP see equ ity risk premium ESM see European stability mechanism Europe dividends 39–40 exchange rate mechanism 16–17, 111 Maastricht Treaty 17 market narrowing in 1990s 115 privatisation 132 quantitative easing 17, 204–205 sovereign debt crisis 170, 171–173 European Central Bank (ECB) 17, 171, 173 European Recovery Plan 129–131 European stability mechanism (ESM) 173 event-driven bear markets 105, 107–109, 117–118 vs. cyclical 109 excess see bubbles exchange rate mechanism (ERM) 16–17, 111 exogenous shocks 108 expansions, asset performance 63–65 F false negatives, bear markets 119–120 fat and flat markets 128, 139 features see characteristics Federal Reserve 16, 102, 131, 134, 150–151, 157, 203 financial crisis, 2007–2009 169–174 forecasting 19–21 growth vs. value company effects 94–96 impact 169–170 structural bear market 110, 118–119 financial innovation 158–159 ‘first mile problem’ 226–227 Fish, M. 19 fixed costs 84–85, 173–174 fixed income assets 35, 65, 69–70, 205 flat markets 138–141 see also non-trending bull markets forecasting 2008 financial crisis 19–21 bear markets 106, 108, 109–110, 119–125 behavioural aspects 22–25 difficulties of 18–22 future growth 211–212 neuroeconomics 24–25 and policy setting 25–26 recessions 20–21 and sentiment 21–25 short-term 17–18 weather 18–19 France Mississippi Company 147, 151 privatisation 132 Fukuyama, F. 15 future expectations 246–247 G Galbraith, J.K. 160 GATT see General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 129 Germany Bund yield 207 fall of Berlin Wall 133 wage inflation 185 Glasnost 14 Glass-Steagall Act, 1933 132 global growth 182–183 globalisation 14–16 global relative performance 193–196 global sales growth 212 global technology bubble 33, 93–94, 149–150, 156–157, 158–159, 161, 164 Goetzmann, F. 151 ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ 129–131 Gold Standard 130 see also Bretton Woods monetary system Goobey, G.R. 77 Google 237 Gorbachev, M. 14 Gordon Growth model 209 government-debt-for-equity swaps 151–152 Graham, B. 161, 163, 164 Great Britain South Sea Company 147, 151, 153 see also United Kingdom Great Depression 4 Great Moderation 133–134, 187–189 Greenspan, A. 16, 113, 150–151 gross domestic product (GDP) cyclical vs. defensive companies 87 labour share of 185, 238–239 phases of cycle 52–53 profit share of, US. 186 growth bear markets 122–123 current equity cycle 174–178, 182–183, 227–231 technology impacts 227–231 and zero bond yields 208–210, 210–215 growth companies bond yields 92–94, 191–193 current cycle 190–196 definition 90–91 since financial crisis 94–96 interest rates 92–94 outperformance 239–240 sectors 83–84 vs. value 90–96 growth phase 50–52, 54–56, 67–68 cyclical vs. defensive companies 86 growth vs. value companies 92 Gulf war 102 H herding 21–22, 144–145 high-frequency cycles 58–61 historical performance 10 year bonds, US 43 bonds 43, 202 equities cycles 49, 56–58 S&P 500 38–39, 42 trends 29–31 holding periods 31–34 Holland, tulip mania 146–147 hope phase 50–52, 53–54, 55–56, 66–67 cyclical vs. defensive companies 86 growth vs. value companies 92 housing bubble, US 70, 102, 118, 133, 145, 159 Hudson, G. 163 I IBM 13, 155, 236 IMAP see Internet Message Access Protocol IMF see International Monetary Fund impacts of diversification 42, 45–47 financial crisis, 2007-2009 169–170 technology on current cycle 221–241 ultra-low bond yields 201–220 Imperial Tobacco pension fund 77 implied growth 210–215 income, Kuznets cycle 3 indicators bear markets 106, 108, 109–110, 119–125 cyclical bear markets 106 event-driven bear markets 108 structural bear markets 109–110 industrial revolution 224–226 industry leadership, S&P 500 232–233, 237–238 inflation asset performance 65–66, 70 bear markets 101–103, 109, 121–122 current equity cycle 180–182, 203–205 cyclicals 88 Volker 102, 131 Institute of Supply Management index (ISM) 59–61 bear markets 123 cyclical vs. defensive companies 86–87 interest rates bear markets 106, 111–113 current equity cycle 180–182, 239–240 growth vs. value companies 92–94 structural bear markets 111–113 and yield 69, 74–76 International Monetary Fund (IMF) 129 internet 12–13, 225–227 search 237 see also dotcoms Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) 13 inventories 84–85 Kitchin cycle 3 investment, Juglar cycle 3 investment cycle bear markets 122–123 current 57–58, 76–79 historical periods 56–58 lengths 49 mini/high-frequency 58–61 phases 50–56 structural shifts 76–79 see also cycles ISM see Institute of Supply Management index J Japan bubbles 114, 148–149, 155–156, 158, 160–161, 162, 164 defensive companies 198 dividends 39–40 lessons from 196–200 John Crooke and Company 160 Juglar cycle 3 K Kahneman, D. 22–23 Kennedy Slide bear market 102 Keynes, J.M. 22 Kindleberger, C.P. 22 Kitchin cycle 3 Kondratiev cycle 3 Kuznets cycle 3 L labour share of GDP 185, 238–239 land and property bubble, Japan 114, 148–149, 155–156, 158, 160–161, 162, 164 laptop computers 13 largest companies S&P 500 237–238 technology 234–237 light touch regulation 157–159 see also deregulation Live Aid 13–14 Loewenstein, G. 21–22 long-term returns 29–47 M Maastricht Treaty 17 Mackay, C. 21 market forecasts short-term 17–18 see also forecasting market narrowing structural bear markets 114–115 and technology 238–240 markets current equity cycle 174–178 psychology of 21–25, 144–145 see also bear markets; bubbles; bull markets market timing 41–43 market value of technology companies 234, 235–238 Marks, H. 6–7 Marshall Plan 129–131 MBS see mortgage-backed securities Microsoft 12, 236–237 mini cycles 58–61 Mississippi Company 147, 151 monetary policy 157–159, 178–179, 201–205, 239 austerity 239 European Central Bank 17, 171, 173 Federal Reserve 16, 102, 131, 134, 150–151, 157, 203 quantitative easing 17, 70–71, 119, 133–134, 173–174, 178–179, 202–205 Montreal Protocol 13 mortgage-backed securities (MBS) 159 MSCI indices 91 N narrow equity markets 114–115, 238–240 NASDAQ 149–150, 161 negative bond yields 201–220 demographics 215–217 and equity valuations 206–208 and growth 208–210 implied growth 210–215 monetary policy 201–205 quantitative easing 202–205 risk asset demand 217–220 neuroeconomics 24–25 ‘new eras’ 113–114, 150–157 ‘Nifty Fifty’ 114, 233 non-trending bull markets 138–141 nudges 26 O oil 108, 226 opportunities, technology 230–231 optimism phase 50–52, 54–56, 67–68 cyclical vs. defensive companies 86 growth vs. value companies 91–92 output gaps 4 Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) 171, 173 overextension 36–37 ozone layer 13 P pension funds 77, 218–219 Perestroika 14 Perez, C. 159 performance bull markets 134–136 current equity cycle 174–179 and cycles 53–56 diversification impacts 42, 45–47 dividends 38–41 equities vs. bonds 43–45 factors 41–45 historical trends 29–31 holding periods 31–34 interest rates 69, 74–76 long-term 29–47 market timing 41–43 risks and rewards 35–38 valuations 43–45 volatility 30–31 personal computing introduction 12–13, 155 phases 2007-2009 financial crisis 171–174 asset classes 66–68 bear markets 123 cyclical vs. defensive companies 86 of equities cycle 50–56 growth vs. value companies 91–92 Phillips curve 182 Plaza Accord, 1985 148–149, 158 PMI see purchasing managers’ index policy, design of 25–26 population decline 216 post-financial crisis see current equity cycle post-war boom 129–131 prediction see forecasting price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) 53–56 printing press 223–224 prior conditions to bear markets 121–124 private sector debt 65, 110, 114, 160–161 private sector financial balance 124 privatisation 132 productivity growth 227–230 profit labour share of 185, 238–239 share of GDP, US. 186 profitability banks 214–215 bear markets 107, 115–117 current equity cycle 185–186 property and land bubble, Japan 114, 148–149, 155–156, 158, 160–161, 162, 164 psychology bubbles 144–145 of markets 21–25 policy setting 25–26 public ownership 132 purchasing managers' index (PMI) 59–61, 86–87, 89–90 Q QE see quantitative easing Qualcom 149–150 quality companies 193 quantitative easing (QE) asset returns 70–71, 119, 178–179 bond yields 173–174, 202–205 start of 17, 133–134, 171 United Kingdom 17, 204–205 United States 134, 171, 202–204 R radio, expansion of 154, 225 Radio Corporation of America (RCA) 154 railways bubbles UK 148, 152–153, 157, 163 US 153–154, 160 infrastructure development 224–227 Rau, P. 162 RCA see Radio Corporation of America Reagan, R. 14, 131–132 real assets 68 real estate bubble, US 70, 102, 118, 133, 145, 159 recessions bear markets 101–103 current equity cycle 174–178 forecasting 20–21 recovery bear markets 101 current equity cycle 174–178 reinvestment of dividends 38–40 return on equity (ROE) 43–45 returns bull markets 134–136 current equity cycle 174–179 cycles 53–56 diversification impacts 42, 45–47 dividends 38–41 equities vs. bonds 43–45 factors 41–45 historical trends 29–31 holding periods 31–34 interest rates 69, 74–76 long-term 29–47 market timing 41–43 risks and rewards 35–38 valuations 43–45 volatility 30–31 reverse yield gap 77 risk assets, demand for 217–220 risk-free interest rate 68 risk indicators bear markets 119–125 event-driven bear markets 108 structural bear markets 110–111, 113–114 risk premia equity 35–38, 69 neuroeconomics 25 term premia 204–205 ROE see return on equity Rouwenhorst, G. 151 Russian debt default, 1997 108 S S&P 500 bear markets 103–105 and bond yields 72–73 concentration in 1990s 115 dividends 38–39 historical performance 38–39, 42 industry leadership 232–233, 237–238 and ISM 60 largest companies 237–238 US Treasury yields 206 sales growth 212 savings, current equity cycle 182 Schumpeter, J. 150 search companies 237 ‘search for yield’ 217–220 secondary-market prices 229–230 sectors across the cycle 83–85 dominance 231–233 secular bull market 127–134 disinflation 131–133 Great Moderation 133–134, 187–189 post-war boom 129–131 secular stagnation hypothesis 181 sentiment 5, 21–25 see also bubbles Shanghai composite stock price index 156 Shiller, R.J. 4–5, 23 short-term market forecasts 17–18 skinny and flat markets 139–140 smartphones 226, 229–230 Solow, R. 229 South Sea Company 147, 151, 153 sovereign debt crisis 170, 171–173 Soviet Union 14–15, 133 speed of adjustment 74, 89–90, 122–123 Standard Oil 235 structural bear markets 105, 109–115 1960s 130 bubbles 113 debt levels 110, 114 deflation 113 duration 109–111, 117 financial crisis, 2007 118–119 interest rates 111–113 narrow equity markets 114–115 ‘new eras’ 113–114 risk indicators 110–111, 113–114 triggers 111 volatility 105, 115 structural changes 6 1980s 12–15 current equity cycle 76–79, 93–96, 169–200 sub-prime mortgage bubble 70, 102, 118, 133, 145, 159 Summers, L. 181 Sunstein, C.R. 26 ‘super cycle’ secular bull market 127–134 see also secular bull market T technology 1920s America 154 bubble in 1990s 33, 93–94, 149–150, 156–157, 158–159, 161, 164 current equity cycle 189–190, 221–241 and disruption in 1980s 12–15 dominance 231–233 and growth 227–231 historical parallels 222–227 industrial revolution 224–226 Kondratiev cycle 3 largest companies 234–237 market value 234, 235–238 opportunities 230–231 personal computers 12–13, 155 printing press 223–224 railway bubbles 148, 152–154, 157, 160, 163 railway infrastructure 224–227 and widening gaps 238–240 telecommunications 13, 154, 225, 235–236, 238 telegrams 225 term premium collapse 204–205 TFP see total factor productivity growth Thaler, R.H. 26 Thatcher, M. 14, 132 Tokkin accounts 158 ‘too-big-to-fail’ 133 total factor productivity (TFP) growth 238–240 triggers bear markets 101–105, 106, 108, 111 cyclical bear markets 106 event-driven bear markets 108 structural bear markets 111 tulip mania 146–147 Tversky, A. 22–23 U ultra-low bond yields 201–220 demographics 215–217 and equity valuations 206–208 and growth 208–210 implied growth 210–215 monetary policy 201–205 quantitative easing 202–205 risk asset demand 217–220 UNCTAD see United Nations Conference on Trade and Development unemployment 121–124, 183–185 unexpected shocks 108 United Kingdom (UK) Black Wednesday 16–17 bond yields, historical 202 canal mania 152 deregulation 132 exchange rate mechanism 16–17, 111 privatisation 132 quantitative easing 204–205 railway bubble 148, 152–153, 157, 163 South Sea Company 147, 151, 153 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 129 United States (US) 10 year bond returns 43 Black Monday 16, 102, 148 bull markets 136 credit crunch 78–79, 170, 171 disinflation 132 dividends 38–39 Dow Jones 15–16, 131 equities in current cycle 207–208 housing bubble 70, 102, 118, 133, 145, 159 labour share of GDP 185, 238–239 market narrowing 114 NASDAQ 149–150, 161 ‘Nifty Fifty’ 114, 130–131, 233, 235 post-war boom 129–131 profit share of GDP 186 quantitative easing 133–134, 171, 202–204 radio manufacturing 154, 225 railway bubble 153–154, 160 stock market boom, 1920s 148, 154, 157, 160 vs.


pages: 304 words: 90,084

Net Zero: How We Stop Causing Climate Change by Dieter Helm

3D printing, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demand response, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, fixed income, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Haber-Bosch Process, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, market design, means of production, North Sea oil, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, remote working, reshoring, Ronald Reagan, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Thomas Malthus

The way the advocates put it now is that the difficulties are going to be overcome not by threats and bribes, but by the changes in the underlying costs of decarbonising. It is widely claimed that renewables are cost-competitive with fossil fuels already. Hence the problems dissolve: decarbonisation is no more expensive than sticking with fossil fuels. Wind and solar electricity generation, electric cars, hydrogen ships and planes, and biofuels and biomass are the future anyway. This is the miracle solution. We can decarbonise and it won’t cost us any more than not decarbonising. Even better, if we don’t decarbonise we will end up with higher costs, because the fossil fuels will be more expensive than the wind turbines and solar panels that we will all be rushing to install. Decarbonisation is a win–win strategy: we get to mitigate climate change and we get cheaper energy too.

The politicians do not want to confront voters with the costs of their pollution, and a carbon tax does this very much ‘in your face’. Recall the earlier discussion about the myth that decarbonisation will not cost much, if anything, and the easy political offer of painless decarbonisation as a path to economic growth. Once the truth is out, that decarbonisation is costly and will force us to live within and not beyond our environmental means, voters get higher bills. One of the quickest ways to get demonstrators out on the street is to raise fuel prices – the Gilets Jaunes protests in France being a recent example, joining other diverse examples stretching from Hungary to Chile to Iran. The lesson to take from this political reluctance to introduce a carbon tax at an appropriate level is that voters need to be told the truth. Pretending that decarbonisation is cheap, by hiding behind the subsidies and permits, has the great political merit of disguise.

Unilateralism, it is argued, will showcase examples of how decarbonisation can be achieved. World leaders will look to Europe, and to Germany and the UK in particular, as examples of a successful net zero strategy and its implementation, learn the lessons, and see how it can all be done. They will then want to follow these examples. Experiments have their virtues, and since the future is uncertain, and many of the decarbonisation issues are systemic in nature, watching how one country goes about it is likely to be very instructive. It would be especially so if the exemplar were lower-cost, leading to lower bills, greater economic competitiveness and, as a result, a political success too. The trouble is that the experiments so far have been more instructive in how not to do decarbonisation. Some examples are better than others.


pages: 224 words: 69,494

Mobility: A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future by John Whitelegg

active transport: walking or cycling, Berlin Wall, British Empire, car-free, conceptual framework, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, energy transition, eurozone crisis, glass ceiling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, peak oil, post-industrial society, price mechanism, Right to Buy, smart cities, telepresence, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Spirit Level, transit-oriented development, urban planning, urban sprawl

Society will be much fairer with much improved access for everyone, much fewer demands on those with constrained budgets through the elimination of the need to own a car as a default option and the availability of many more transport choices. Achieving the Vision Achieving a maximum decarbonised future by the year 2050 is desirable and achievable on quality of life, fiscal and climate change grounds. It will involve more action than those applied to the transport sector including a decarbonised electricity generation system and a new grid distribution system to support a very different pattern of domestic and transport production and consumption of energy. Nevertheless transport holds the key to decarbonisation simply on the grounds that it is a fast growing source of greenhouse gases and, so far, shows very little sign of following successful reductions in GHG emissions in industry, offices and homes. Achieving the maximum level of decarbonisation in the transport sector is not a technical or a fiscal problem.

This structured approach was also adopted by the Stockholm Environment Institute study of zero carbon transport in the UK (Whitelegg et al, 2010). In this study spatial planning and accessibility planning measures produced a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions from the road transport sector and fiscal measures produced a 25% reduction. The remaining amount of car use was then assumed to be EV powered by electricity that was 100% decarbonised. This combination of spatial, fiscal and technological measures together with some behavioural changes produced a 100% decarbonisation of the road transport sector in the UK and a decarbonisation that was assisted by electric vehicles but was delivered through highly integrated layers of policies that first of all reduced demand for car transport and then applied the EV technology to the residual demand. Any consideration of mobility and accessibility must fully embrace the spatial dimension and the degree to which mobility measured in vehicle kilometres goes up in cities and metropolitan areas operating at low densities.

Reducing greenhouse gases in the aviation sector Vallack et al (2014) carried out a detailed study of the potential for decarbonising the transport sector in the UK by 2050. The research project covered road, rail, aviation and shipping, estimated CO2 emissions that are the responsibility of the UK in 2050 (the Business as usual or BAU scenario) and then demonstrated how this total could be reduced by the implementation of a series of interlinked measures (the maximum impact or MI scenario). The final results are summarised in Figure 12.3. The project concluded that it was feasible to achieve a 100% decarbonisation of road and rail transport but this was not possible for shipping and aviation (Figure 12.3). The aviation BAU Scenario already included changes expected over the next 40-50 years. The DfT (2009) recognises that, even in the longer-term, the decarbonisation of aviation (and shipping) and the use of alternative fuel sources will be more challenging than for road and rail modes.


pages: 280 words: 74,559

Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

"Robert Solow", autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, computer vision, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, G4S, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, land reform, liberal capitalism, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, off grid, pattern recognition, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, post scarcity, post-work, price mechanism, price stability, private space industry, Productivity paradox, profit motive, race to the bottom, RFID, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sensor fusion, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, working-age population

After all, if we are serious about making a transition sufficiently quickly to prevent catastrophic warming, a large margin of error matters. Of paramount importance is that decarbonisation start immediately. In 2017 the International Energy Agency announced the beginning of ‘decade zero’, saying that if a global transition away from fossil fuels didn’t start over the next ten years, warming beyond two degrees would become close to certain. The following year the IPCC repeated those sentiments, concluding wide-scale decarbonisation had to begin before 2030 to avoid ‘catastrophic’ climate change in excess of 1.5 degrees centigrade. This means that beginning in 2020, the wealthier countries of the Global North must initiate a transition to renewables, cutting CO2 emissions by 8 per cent each year for a decade, aiming to completely decarbonise by 2030. At that point the countries of the Global South will embark on the same journey at the same pace.

The challenge, then, is to hasten this shift while ensuring the Global South isn’t left behind in a manner reminiscent of industrialisation in the early nineteenth century. A heightened emphasis on developing nations will serve to speed decarbonisation, especially given all new demand between now and 2035 will come from the Global South. Furthermore, the transition to renewables isn’t just about advancing green technologies, which are on their way regardless (though not quickly enough), but making sure they are in the hands of the people. Because of its modular and distributed nature, this revolution should be about the democratisation of energy as much as its sustainability. As with scaling up worker-owned business and cooperatives at the municipal level, the mechanism by which this will be advanced is socially controlled finance. In the Global North, where mass decarbonisation will start, this will be far simpler to administer as many countries have already hit a ceiling in terms of population and per capita energy use.

The revenues for this tax would be raised by imposing a $25 fee on every tonne of CO2 emitted in high-GDP countries. As well as helping fund energy transition in the Global South this would also create an additional incentive among the wealthier nations to decarbonise in the decade following 2020, not to mention stimulating a market in carbon sequestration technologies. A reasonable projection is that this alone would raise around $250 billion a year – not an insignificant sum. If the measure fell short in raising as much, which would represent success from the perspective of decarbonisation, the remainder would be generated from countries paying into the fund based on a GDP per capita basis. In addition to capitalising EIBs in some of the poorest countries in the world, whose role would be precisely the same as their equivalents in the Global North, the One Planet Tax would also pay for technology transfer and research and development into modular renewable solutions adapted to low-infrastructure, low-income environments.


pages: 154 words: 48,340

What We Need to Do Now: A Green Deal to Ensure a Habitable Earth by Chris Goodall

blockchain, carbon footprint, decarbonisation, energy transition, food miles, Haber-Bosch Process, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kickstarter, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, smart grid, smart meter

However the cement industry is probably even more difficult to decarbonise than steel and it is also responsible for about 7 per cent of global emissions. Precisely how do they arise? When heated, the raw material calcium carbonate turns into calcium oxide (one of the constituents of cement). CO2 is driven off and enters the atmosphere unless it is captured. This represents about 60 per cent of emissions. Combustion of the fuel required to obtain the high temperatures necessary to make calcium oxide also creates carbon dioxide – adding another 30 per cent. The other operations of the cement plant create about 10 per cent of the greenhouse gases. Cutting emissions from steel simply requires us to replace coal with hydrogen as the heat source. Unfortunately, this change is insufficient to decarbonise the manufacture of cement because of the extra CO2 chemically generated by the calcium carbonate.

This will include synthetic fuels that need CO2 and hydrogen that can be made using surplus electricity from community wind or solar farms. The second source of CO2 from cement is easier to decarbonise. At the moment, most cement producers use coal to provide the heat, much as in a steel plant. We can replace this with hydrogen, low carbon biomass or, indeed, simple electricity. The extra cost of this, however, may be high, and the resulting cement may be double the price of today’s product once we have also added the price of capturing CO2 from the chemical reaction. As the Energy Transitions Commission says: ‘Cement is almost certain to be the most difficult and costly sector of the economy to decarbonise’. Rather than despair, I think we need to set our carbon tax at a level that provides a strong incentive both to use low carbon alternatives and to capture CO2.

They are mixtures of hydrogen and carbon and can be made with well-established chemical engineering processes. For those energy uses that cannot easily use electricity, such as aviation, fuels made by low carbon hydrogen will offer us a direct replacement for oil and its derivatives. This route potentially gives us a 100 per cent low carbon energy system, entirely based on renewable electricity. It is, in my opinion, the only way of completely decarbonising the modern economy while still allowing us to maintain many aspects of our current lifestyle, at least in relation to energy use. Even a couple of years ago, it might have seemed an unconventional plan, but it is one that has rapidly become mainstream. The extremely conservative International Energy Agency (IEA) issued an extensive report in October 2019 about the potential for low cost hydrogen generated from offshore wind around the world.


pages: 358 words: 93,969

Climate Change by Joseph Romm

carbon footprint, Climatic Research Unit, decarbonisation, demand response, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge worker, mass immigration, performance metric, renewable energy transition, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, the scientific method

Every major independent economic analysis of the cost of strong climate action has found that it is quite low.41 In May 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its report on the cost of achieving the 2°C target, “Energy Technology Perspectives 2014.” The IEA said that a systematic effort to use renewable energy and energy efficiency and energy storage to keep global warming below the 2°C threshold (their 2DS scenario) would require investment in clean energy of approximately 1% of global gross domestic product (GDP) per year. However, it would still be exceedingly cost-effective: The $44 trillion additional investment needed to decarbonise the energy system in line with the 2DS by 2050 is more than offset by over $115 trillion in fuel savings—resulting in net savings of $71 trillion. A key point is that the investment is not the same as the net economic cost, because many of the investments reduce energy consumption and thus generate savings. In addition, investment in new technology is generally associated with higher productivity and economic growth.

Framework Convention on Climate Change set up a “structured expert dialogue” from 2013 to 2015, to review the adequacy of the 2°C target. In May 2015, 70 of the world’s leading climate experts who were involved in this dialogue reported back. They noted that, “Parties to the Convention agreed on an upper limit for global warming of 2°C, and science has provided a wealth of information to support the use of that goal.” The authors state bluntly, “Limiting global warming to below 2°C necessitates a radical transition (deep decarbonization now and going forward), not merely a fine tuning of current trends.” After reviewing the Fifth Assessment report and various presentations of observed climate impacts on regions around the world and agriculture, they point out, “Significant climate impacts are already occurring at the current level of global warming and additional magnitudes of warming will only increase the risk of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.”


pages: 370 words: 102,823

Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth by Michael Jacobs, Mariana Mazzucato

balance sheet recession, banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collaborative economy, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Detroit bankruptcy, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, facts on the ground, fiat currency, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, forward guidance, full employment, G4S, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, non-tariff barriers, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the built environment, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, very high income

The challenge of shifting the fossil-fuel-based infrastructure of present production and consumption towards clean forms will require strong government policy with a clear goal of decarbonisation—what Mazzucato describes as ‘mission-oriented’. In many cases this will need to overcome early high costs, which are likely to breed political resistance. But if a tipping point in investment and policy can be reached, feedback loops and network effects may kick in and accelerate the process of change, with positive spillovers to the rest of the economy. These mutually reinforcing mechanisms can lead to abrupt step-changes. Standard neoclassical economics, of the kind taught commonly in business schools, struggles to accommodate such dynamics. The long-run costs of global decarbonisation may therefore be far less, and indeed potentially negative. Economic models In assessing and determining policy options, governments use economic models.

A virtuous circle is therefore possible; but it requires policy-makers to show leadership, set clear goals and hold their nerve when immediate political resistance is encountered. Changing policy in response to events only increases risk and raises costs. None of these crucial dynamics which determine the viability of decarbonisation are captured in standard economic models. Conclusion Climate change poses a challenge to capitalism both from its consequences and its causes. If global warming is to be controlled at a safe level, net emissions will have to fall to zero within this century. Because of the centrality of carbon to our economies, this can only be done through a profound structural transformation—the decarbonisation of production, distribution and consumption systems. Assessing whether this is achievable requires a form of economic analysis which focuses less on static market failures and more on the dynamic processes of innovation and structural change.

Inequality and Economic Growth Introduction The great rise of inequality Explaining inequality The price of inequality Reversing inequality Conclusion: redefining economic performance Acknowledgements Notes 9. The Paradoxes of Privatisation and Public Service Outsourcing Introduction The limits to competition The mutual convertibility of economic and political resources Conclusion: capitalism and democracy Notes 10. Decarbonisation: Innovation and the Economics of Climate Change Introduction The challenge to capitalism The challenge to economics Innovation and growth Path-dependence and innovation Economic models Climate change policy Conclusion Notes 11. Capitalism, Technology and a Green Global Golden Age: The Role of History in Helping to Shape the Future Introduction: growth without technology or sustainability without growth?


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, different worldview, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jones Act, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, renewable energy transition, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

., “Trends in the Sources and Sinks of Carbon Dioxide,” Nature Geoscience 2 (2009): 831, as cited in Andreas Malm, “China as Chimney of the World: The Fossil Capital Hypothesis,” Organization & Environment 25 (2012): 146; Glen P. Peters et al., “Rapid Growth in CO2 Emissions After the 2008–2009 Global Financial Crisis,” Nature Climate Change 2 (2012): 2. 27. Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows, “Beyond ‘Dangerous’ Climate Change: Emission Scenarios for a New World,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369 (2011): 35; Kevin Anderson, “EU 2030 Decarbonisation Targets and UK Carbon Budgets: Why So Little Science?” Kevin Anderson.info, June 14, 2013, http://kevinanderson.info. 28. Gro Harlem Brundtland et al., “Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act,” joint paper by the Blue Planet Prize laureates, The Asahi Glass Foundation, February 20, 2012, p. 7. 29. “World Energy Outlook 2011,” IEA, p. 40; James Herron, “Energy Agency Warns Governments to Take Action Against Global Warming,” Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2011. 30.

The “8 to 10 percent” range relies on interviews with Anderson and Bows-Larkin as well as their published work. For the underlying emissions scenarios, refer to pathways C+1, C+3, C+5, and B6 3 in: Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows, “Beyond ‘Dangerous’ Climate Change: Emission Scenarios for a New World,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369 (2011): 35. See also: Kevin Anderson, “EU 2030 Decarbonisation Targets and UK Carbon Budgets: Why So Little Science?” KevinAnderson.info, June 14, 2013, http://kevinanderson.info. HUGELY DAMAGING: Anderson, “Climate Change Going Beyond Dangerous,” pp. 18–21; DE BOER: Alex Morales, “Kyoto Veterans Say Global Warming Goal Slipping Away,” Bloomberg, November 4, 2013. 49. Stern, The Economics of Climate Change, 231–32. 50. Ibid., 231; Global Carbon Project emissions data, 2013 Budget v2.4 (July 2014), available at http://cdiac.ornl.gov; Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center emissions data, available at http://cdiac.ornl.gov. 51.

Since this was before the globalization juggernaut took hold, it would have created an opportunity for China and India and other fast-growing economies to battle poverty on low-carbon pathways. (Which was the stated goal of “sustainable development” as championed in Rio.) Indeed this vision could have been built into the global trade architecture that would rise up in the early to mid-1990s. If we had continued to reduce our emissions at that pace we would have been on track for a completely de-carbonized global economy by mid-century. But we didn’t do any of those things. And as the famed climate scientist Michael Mann, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, puts it, “There’s a huge procrastination penalty when it comes to emitting carbon into the atmosphere”: the longer we wait, the more it builds up, the more dramatically we must change to reduce the risks of catastrophic warming.


pages: 286 words: 87,168

Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World by Jason Hickel

air freight, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, cognitive dissonance, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate personhood, COVID-19, David Graeber, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gender pay gap, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, land reform, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, passive income, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, quantitative easing, rent control, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, structural adjustment programs, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, universal basic income

., ‘Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet,’ Science 347(6223), 2015. 32 To see which countries are overshooting planetary boundaries, see goodlife.leeds.ac.uk/countries 33 See www.calculator.climateequityreference.org. 34 To have a 66% chance of staying under 1.5°C, global emissions must fall by 10% per year beginning in 2020. If the global economy grows at 2.6% per year (as PwC predicts), this requires decarbonisation of 14% per year. This is nearly nine times faster than the business as usual rate of decarbonisation (1.6% per year), and more than three times faster than the maximum rate assumed in best-case scenario models (4% per year). In other words, it is out of scope. To have a 50% chance of staying under 1.5°C emissions must fall by 7.3% per year, with decarbonisation of 10.7% per year, which is also out of scope. To have a 66% chance of staying under 2°C (as per the Paris Agreement) emissions must fall by 4.1% per year, with decarbonisation of 7% per year: again, out of scope (however, it may be feasible to achieve if the economy does not grow). These are global figures.

Even if we doubled or tripled the output of clean energy production, we would still make zero dent in global emissions. Growth keeps outstripping our best efforts to decarbonise. Think about it this way. If we continue to grow the global economy at projected rates, it will more than double in size by the middle of the century – that’s twice as much extraction and production and consumption than we are presently doing, all of which will suck up nearly twice as much end-use energy than would otherwise be the case.14 It will be unimaginably difficult for us to decarbonise the existing global economy in the short time we have left; impossible to do it nearly twice over. It would require that we decarbonise at a rate of 7% per year to stay under 2°C (which is dangerous), or 14% per year to stay under 1.5°C. That’s two to three times faster than what scientists say is possible even under best-case scenario conditions.15 As one team of researchers put it, it is ‘well outside what is currently deemed achievable’.16 Our insistence on perpetual growth is making our task much more difficult than it needs to be.

Of course, renewable energy is more efficient than fossil fuels, to the point where transitioning to renewables by 2050 could lead to no increase in total energy use, despite business-as-usual growth, but it would still be 1.83 times higher than it would otherwise be without growth (under any given energy mix). 15 These decarbonisation figures assume a 66% chance of staying under the target threshold, and average annual global GDP growth of 2.6% per year. The maximum decarbonisation rate assumed in best-case scenario models is 4% per year. For a review of relevant literature, see Hickel and Kallis, ‘Is green growth possible?’ 16 Christian Holz et al., ‘Ratcheting ambition to limit warming to 1.5 C: trade-offs between emission reductions and carbon dioxide removal,’ Environmental Research Letters 13(6), 2018. 17 The IPCC’s 2018 report has only one scenario for staying under 1.5°C without using BECCS.


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Stolen: How to Save the World From Financialisation by Grace Blakeley

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, David Graeber, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land value tax, light touch regulation, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Right to Buy, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, savings glut, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transfer pricing, universal basic income, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, yield curve, zero-sum game

Smart investment, aimed at raising incomes, reducing inequality and greening economic growth, would also increase tax revenues as well as achieving a variety of other objectives. This investment agenda should be undertaken under the mantle of the “Green New Deal”, involving a dramatic increase in state investment to decarbonise the economy. This would involve decarbonising transport, energy, and other infrastructures through nationalisation and a programme of green investment; investment in research and development in green technology; and investment in decarbonising production, at home and abroad. The first plank would require direct state spending, but the second two could be undertaken through a National Investment Bank. The returns from this lending could then be shared equally through the creation of a People’s Asset Manager. The UK Labour Party has recently put forward a proposal for a National Investment Bank (NIB) that has been designed to “avoid direct competition with conventional banks”.

Systemic breakdown can only be undone through systemic change — a transformation in the very logic of our political and economic systems. Only a mass mobilisation of society’s resources, along the lines of the Green New Deal recently advocated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the US, will be enough to avert climate catastrophe. And this will require an increase in state spending directed into greening production, promoting research and development in green technology, and decarbonising energy and transport infrastructure, which would be unthinkable under the political economy of finance-led growth. The fate of our planet will never be ascribed the same importance as the fate of our banks until we change who is in charge, and to whom they are accountable. It is no exaggeration to say that today we must choose between protecting free-market capitalism and safeguarding the future of the humanity.

This theory has been invoked many times before to predict the demise of the free-market system, and a new fix has always been discovered. The most recent fix was to allow capitalism to expand not just spatially, but temporally — financialisation allowed for profits to be extracted from the future through debt, ultimately leading to the financial crisis, but not before sustaining several decades of growth. It would be unwise to assume that such a fix will not be found again. But even if it is, without a massive decarbonisation programme — which would require coordinated state investment, tax changes, and regulatory changes of the kind unthinkable under finance-led growth — capitalism, and indeed human civilisation, may end anyway within our lifetimes. It is up to us to save ourselves. CHAPTER SEVEN THE WAY FORWARD You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. — Thomas Sankara In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, the global elite was shaken to its core.


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The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery

Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon footprint, clean water, cross-subsidies, decarbonisation, Doomsday Clock, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, uranium enrichment, Y2K

WILLIAM NORDHAUS, Climate Change, 1996 One of the key decisions in our war on climate change is whether to focus our efforts on transport or the electricity grid. Many would argue we must do both, and I would agree, if we had the resources and the time. But when it comes to the really big effort required to stop carbon emissions from one or the other, decarbonising the power grid wins hands down. For with that achieved, we can use the renewable power thus generated to decarbonise transport. Researchers Steven Pacala and Robert Socolow from Princeton University investigated whether the world possesses the technologies required to run an electricity network of the extent, scale and reliability of that we currently enjoy, while at the same time making deep cuts in CO2 emissions. They identified fifteen basic kinds of technologies, ranging from sequestration to wind, solar and nuclear power, which could play a vital role.

As a result humans are thrust into a protracted Dark Ages far more mordant than any that has gone before, for the most destructive weapons ever devised will still exist, while the means to regulate their use, and to make peace, will have been swept away. These changes could commence as soon as 2050. Humanity acts promptly—on individual, national and corporate levels—to reduce emissions, and so avoids serious climatic consequences. Based on current trends, we will need to have commenced significant decarbonising of our electricity grids by around 2030, and to have substantially decarbonised transport systems by 2050. If we are successful, by 2150 or thereabouts greenhouse gas levels will have dropped to the point where Gaia can once again control Earth’s thermostat. Emissions are reduced sufficiently to avoid outright disaster, but serious damage to Earth’s ecosystems results. With world climate on a knife-edge, Crutzen’s vision of internationally agreed geo-engineering projects becomes mandatory.

In 2002 the surface temperature of the planet as a whole was 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels, the land surface was 1.2°C warmer, while the troposphere at one to eight kilometres above our head (as measured by satellites) was 0.25°C warmer than it was on average over the preceding twenty years; different parts of the Earth system vary in their response to warming, and distributing the extra heat is one reason for the lag. Our commitment is also influenced by the CO2 we have already released, the positive feedback loops that amplify climate change, global dimming and the speed at which human economies can decarbonise themselves. Of these, the first—existing greenhouse gas volumes—is known and gives us our ‘existing commitment’. The second and third—positive feedback loops and global dimming—are still being explored by scientists. And the fourth—the rate at which we humans can change our emissions—is being argued over right now in parliaments and boardrooms around the world. It is also the only impact over which we have control.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-work, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

State and corporate repression of the left has significantly intensified in recent decades, legal changes have made it more difficult to organise, generalised precarity has made us more insecure, and the militarisation of policing has rapidly gathered speed.1 And beyond this lies the fact that our inner lives, our social world and our built environment are organised around work and its continuation. The shift to a post-work society, much like the shift to a decarbonised economy, is not just a matter of overcoming a few elite interests. More fundamentally, it is a matter of transforming society from the ground up. An engagement with the totality of power and capital is inevitable, and we should be under no illusions about the difficulties facing such a project. If full transformational change is not immediately possible, our efforts must be directed towards cracking open those spaces of possibility that do exist and fostering better political conditions over time.

It is something embedded in human minds, social and political organisations, individual technologies and the built environment that constitutes our world.20 And, whereas the social forces of hegemony must be continually maintained, the materialised aspects of hegemony exert a force of momentum that lasts long past their initial creation.21 Once in place, infrastructures are difficult to dislodge or alter, despite changing political conditions. We are facing up to this problem now, for example, with the infrastructure built up around fossil fuels. Our economies are organised around the production, distribution and consumption of coal, oil and gas, making it immensely difficult to decarbonise the economy. The flipside of that problem, though, is that once a postcapitalist infrastructure is in place, it would be just as difficult to shift away from it, regardless of any reactionary forces. Technology and technological infrastructures therefore pose both significant hurdles for overcoming the capitalist mode of production, as well as significant potentials for securing the longevity of an alternative.

A series of emerging contemporary phenomena must be thought through carefully: for instance, the causes and effects of secular stagnation; the transformations invoked by the shift to an informational, post-scarcity economy; the changes wrought by the introduction of full automation and a universal basic income; the possible approaches to collectivising automated manufacturing and services; the progressive potentials of alternative approaches to quantitative easing; the most effective ways to decarbonise the means of production; the implications of dark pools for financial instability – and so on. Equally, research should be revived on what postcapitalism might look like in practice. Beyond a few outdated classics, very little research has been done to think through an alternative economic system – even less so in the wake of emerging technologies like additive manufacturing, self-driving vehicles and soft AI.68 What role, for instance, could non-state cryptocurrencies have?


pages: 271 words: 79,367

The Switch: How Solar, Storage and New Tech Means Cheap Power for All by Chris Goodall

3D printing, additive manufacturing, decarbonisation, demand response, Elon Musk, energy transition, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Haber-Bosch Process, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, M-Pesa, Negawatt, off grid, Peter Thiel, smart meter, standardized shipping container, Tim Cook: Apple, wikimedia commons

Whether these individual numbers are accurate forecasts or not is not particularly important. The crucial thing is that a continuation of the trends of the last decades (40 per cent annual growth and a 20 per cent slope on the experience curve) can get the world free of fossil fuels within about thirty years. If world energy demand doesn’t rise as fast as I have assumed then the process of complete decarbonisation would be even quicker. If current trends continue, the price of installing solar PV will fall to less than a sixth of current levels by 2041. The even more surprising conclusion is that the net cost of this to the global economy may be less than zero. As solar increases, the amount of money that the world needs to spend on fossil fuels falls. There is simply less need for coal, oil and gas as PV replaces them as the source of energy.

An important part of the reason has been the woeful insulation of most British housing. Any attempt to build a renewables-based future in places like the UK and some other places in northern Europe will fail unless combined with massive reductions in the heat losses of almost all homes, and many commercial buildings. The average home in the UK uses over four times as much energy in the central heating boiler as all electric appliances and lights combined. Decarbonisation of heat is a harder challenge than creating a renewables-based electricity supply. Even if we invested in a huge oversupply of solar panels, countries in northern Europe could not easily supply enough heat from electricity to keep people warm in midwinter. What do we do? As well as enforcing the highest standards on new construction, we urgently need to improve older buildings. Partial programmes, such as better insulation of the walls of older homes, have had little effect on the overall energy use of the buildings.

In many places around the world the simple sugars in corn and wheat are fermented into fuels that can substitute for petrol. These are usually called ‘first generation’ biofuels because they have used these easily fermentable foods to make liquids. When combusted, the CO2 initially captured by the plant is returned to the atmosphere. So, in theory, using foods for making fuel can be done at near carbon neutrality. But using food for storing chemical energy in transport fuels is not a good means to decarbonise the world economy. The average person eats about 2.5 kilowatt hours of food energy each day, while a car driver in Western Europe uses about ten times that amount of energy in the form of motor fuel alone in the same period. So even if all the food in the world was fermented into a fuel, it would not come close to providing the energy needed to keep internal combustion engines on the road. And using foodstuffs for energy also tends to increase the price of food for people whose survival is already precarious.


pages: 396 words: 117,897

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization by Vaclav Smil

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, additive manufacturing, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, British Empire, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, global pandemic, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, megacity, megastructure, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, post-industrial society, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, rolodex, X Prize

5.1 Apparent Dematerializations 5.2 Relative Dematerializations: Specific Weight Reductions 5.3 Consequences of Dematerialization 5.4 Relative Dematerialization in Modern Economies 5.5 Declining Energy Intensities 5.6 Decarbonization and Desulfurization Chapter 6: Material Outlook 6.1 Natural Resources 6.2 Wasting Less 6.3 New Materials and Dematerialization 6.4 Chances of Fundamental Departures Appendix A: Units and Unit Multiples Units Used in the Text Unit Multiples Submultiples Appendix B: US Material Production, GDP and Population, 1900–2005 Appendix C: Global Population, Economic Product, and Production of Food, Major Materials, and Fuels 1900–2010 Appendix D: Global Energy Cost of Major Materials in 2010 Appendix E Decarbonization and Desulfurization of Global Fossil Fuel Supply, 1900–2010 Decarbonization and Desulfurization of the World's Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES), 1900–2010 References Index This edition first published 2014 © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd Registered office John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, United Kingdom For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services and for information about how to apply for permission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at www.wiley.com.

The actual H:C ratio of wood is variable but no higher than 0.5 compared to coal's 1.0, 1.8 for common fuels refined from crude oil (gasoline an kerosene), and 4.0 for methane (the actual ratio for natural gas is marginally lower due to the presence of higher homologs, C2H6 and C3H8, besides CH4). For comparison, when Ausubel (2003) charted the historic shift toward decarbonization, he worked with the following H:C average: 0.1 for wood (too low, I would argue), 1 for coal, 2 for crude oil and, naturally, 4 for methane. Decarbonization of the modern energy supply began first in the USA (already during the second half of the nineteenth century) but the process became widespread and proceeded at accelerated rates only after World War II. When comparisons are made on the basis of energy content (not on mass), high-carbon fuels (wood and coal) accounted for 94% of the global total in 1900 and still 73% in 1950, but by the year 2000 their share was down to about 38%. Decarbonization was also helped by rising shares of primary (hydro and nuclear) electricity: its share in the global primary energy supply rose from just 2% in 1950 to about 10% half a century later.

Accounting uncertainties cannot change this conclusion: unlike in the case of CO2 emissions, global dematerialization of sulfur emissions has taken place not only in relative, but also in absolute, terms and it has done so despite the rising combustion of coal because of an effective technical fix (FGD). Unfortunately, decarbonization of flue gases is a much greater technical challenge than their desulfurization, and recent years have seen too many exaggerated promises regarding its near-term performance and too many unrealistic forecasts (Metz et al., 2005; Muradov and Vezirolu, 2012). During the next two decades it should become clear if effective (and affordable) decarbonization of large stationary sources is a practical solution, or if the best way to decarbonize is to keep changing the make-up of the primary energy supply. Chapter 6 Material Outlook Those readers who have persevered (and have, along the way, complained about too many numbers) have now reached the point where they should be impressed by the magnitude and complexity of the global material edifice erected by modern civilization since the middle of the nineteenth century, and no less so by the magnitude of incessant material flows required to operate and maintain it.


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The Green New Deal: Why the Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028, and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life on Earth by Jeremy Rifkin

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, borderless world, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, decarbonisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, failed state, ghettoisation, hydrogen economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, megacity, Network effects, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, planetary scale, renewable energy credits, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, Steven Levy, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, union organizing, urban planning, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

In November, young protesters from the Sunrise Movement stormed the halls of Congress and staged sit-ins in the offices of Nancy Pelosi, soon to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Steny Hoyer, the incoming majority leader of the House. The protesters were joined by Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez called for the creation of a select committee in the incoming House tasked with the mission of creating a “Green New Deal” for America. The committee would set a one-year deadline to create an industrial plan to address climate change, decarbonize the economic infrastructure within ten years, create new business opportunities, and employ millions of disadvantaged workers in an emerging green economy—a bold “aspirational” proposal far beyond anything yet put forward by America’s cities, counties, and states.5 In the new term, congressional leadership equivocated on the proposal and ultimately established a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis with little power to act.

PART I THE GREAT DISRUPTION The Decoupling Stampede and Stranded Fossil Fuel Assets 1 IT’S THE INFRASTRUCTURE, STUPID! We need a Green New Deal economic vision for America and the world. It must be compelling and executable in big cities, small towns, and rural communities. And it will have to be deployed quickly and scaled within twenty years or so if we are to meet the deadline of decarbonizing the global economy and reenergizing it with green electricity and accompanying sustainable services. We should step back, then, and ask the question, “How do the great economic paradigm shifts in history emerge?” If we know how they occur, governments everywhere can draw up roadmaps to deliver the Green New Deal. The Third Industrial Revolution Paradigm The major economic transformations in history share a common denominator.

How EU Political Activists Launched the Green New Deal The enthusiasm around a Green New Deal that is echoing across America is music to my ears—a sweet refrain that takes me back to 2007. Just as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement have captured the attention of the country with an urgent “slap in the face” reality check, that feeling and sense of urgency surfaced across the European Union more than a decade ago. The EU was on the move. By 2007, Europe had surpassed the United States and become the “idea factory” and deployment engine for decarbonizing society. That year, the EU was finalizing the 20-20-20 formula, binding the EU member states to the Great Disruption that would bring on an ecological age. These new protocols required all EU member states to increase their energy efficiency by 20 percent, reduce their global warming emissions by 20 percent (based on 1990 levels), and increase their generation of renewable energies by 20 percent by the year 2020, making the EU the first major political power to establish a formal, legally binding commitment to address climate change and transform the economy of hundreds of millions of citizens.1 I’ll come back to the history of this path-changing event and what has happened since in the coming pages.


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

Chernobyl cancer deaths: Ridley 2010, pp. 308, 416. 82. Relative death rate from nuclear vs. fossil fuels: Kharecha & Hansen 2013; Swain et al. 2015. A million deaths a year from coal: Morton 2015, p. 16. 83. Nordhaus & Shellenberger 2011. See also note 76 above. 84. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project 2015. Deep decarbonization of the United States: Williams et al. 2014. See also B. Plumer, “Here’s What It Would Really Take to Avoid 2°C of Global Warming,” Vox, July 9, 2014. 85. Deep decarbonization of the world: Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project 2015; see also the preceding note. 86. Nuclear power and the psychology of fear and dread: Gardner 2008; Gigerenzer 2016; Ropeik & Gray 2002; Slovic 1987; Slovic, Fischof, & Lichtenstein 1982. 87. From “Power,” by John Hall and Johanna Hall. 88.

“Other” refers to the difference between estimated global CO2 emissions and the sum of the regional and national totals; it corresponds to the “Statistical difference” component. The long sweep of decarbonization shows that economic growth is not synonymous with burning carbon. Some optimists believe that if the trend is allowed to evolve into its next phase—from low-carbon natural gas to zero-carbon nuclear energy, a process abbreviated as “N2N”—the climate will have a soft landing. But only the sunniest believe this will happen by itself. Annual CO2 emissions may have leveled off for the time being at around 36 billion tons, but that’s still a lot of CO2 added to the atmosphere every year, and there is no sign of the precipitous plunge we would need to stave off the harmful outcomes. Instead, decarbonization needs to be helped along with pushes from policy and technology, an idea called deep decarbonization.73 It begins with carbon pricing: charging people and companies for the damage they do when they dump their carbon into the atmosphere, either as a tax on carbon or as a national cap with tradeable credits.

Some fourth-generation nuclear technologies are shovel-ready, but are trussed in regulatory green tape and may never see the light of day, at least not in the United States.95 China, Russia, India, and Indonesia, which are hungry for energy, sick of smog, and free from American squeamishness and political gridlock, may take the lead. Whoever does it, and whichever fuel they use, the success of deep decarbonization will hinge on technological progress. Why assume that the know-how of 2018 is the best the world can do? Decarbonization will need breakthroughs not just in nuclear power but on other technological frontiers: batteries to store the intermittent energy from renewables; Internet-like smart grids that distribute electricity from scattered sources to scattered users at scattered times; technologies that electrify and decarbonize industrial processes such as the production of cement, fertilizer, and steel; liquid biofuels for heavy trucks and planes that need dense, portable energy; and methods of capturing and storing CO2


The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations by Daniel Yergin

3D printing, 9 dash line, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, British Empire, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, failed state, gig economy, global pandemic, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, Lyft, Malacca Straits, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Masdar, mass incarceration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, new economy, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, paypal mafia, peak oil, pension reform, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ubercab, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce

The EU has established a 100-billion-euro “Just Transition” mechanism to help buffer the impacts for countries still reliant on coal. Yet, at this point, the costs of “net zero carbon” are murky. As a paper from the Peterson Institute for International Economics explained, “Whether the transition to a climate-neutral economy will improve or hurt growth is a quantitative issue. Unfortunately, we know too little about it.” While arguing that prosperity depends long-term on decarbonization, it said that over the next five to ten years, “decarbonization will inevitably reduce economic potential.” Figure 2: Emissions by Country/Region Global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, by major country/region (2019) Source: IHS Markit based on IPCC methodology © IHS Markit 2020 The green deal got a jump start in an $825-billion anti-crisis package that von der Leyen introduced in May 2020.

Yet, while energy transition has become a pervasive theme all around the world, disagreement rages, both within countries and among them, on the nature of the transition: how it unfolds, how long it takes, and who pays. “Energy transition” certainly means something very different to a developing country such as India, where hundreds of millions of impoverished people do not have access to commercial energy, than to Germany or the Netherlands. Solar and wind have become the chosen vehicles for “decarbonizing” electricity. Once “alternatives,” they are now mainstream. Yet, as their share of generation grows larger, they confront the challenge of “intermittency.” They can flood the grid with electricity when the sun shines and the wind blows, but then almost disappear when the day is cloudy or there is only a murmuring breeze. This points to major technological challenges: to maintain grid stability and find ways to store electricity at large scale for periods longer than a few hours.

It was not necessarily against long-term contracts, but it wanted market-related pricing—that is, based on the short-term prices that emerged at the “trading hubs”—the places primarily in the UK and the Netherlands, where pipelines, LNG terminals, and gas trading converged. The EU also wanted contracts to be transparent to prevent what it defined as “anti-competitive” behavior, and it prohibited Gazprom from owning the pipes through which its gas moved across Europe.3 The second major thrust of the EU was around climate, aiming at decarbonization and efficiency and making a rapid march to renewable energy. At the forefront was Germany. Under the rubric of its Energiewende, or “energy turn,” Germany provided extensive subsidies for wind and solar development. Although not the intent, it also ended up indirectly providing large subsidies to Chinese solar companies, which became the main low-cost suppliers of solar panels to the world.


Smart Grid Standards by Takuro Sato

business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, data acquisition, decarbonisation, demand response, distributed generation, energy security, factory automation, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Iridium satellite, iterative process, knowledge economy, life extension, linear programming, low earth orbit, market design, MITM: man-in-the-middle, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, performance metric, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, smart transportation, Thomas Davenport

These studies differ, inter alia, in their research approaches/tools as well as the geographic areas they cover. Consequently, detailed comparison is difficult. Here, we will briefly outline the research approaches and the most important findings related to the role of variable generators in the future grid. 9.3.1.1 Decarbonizing Scenarios for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) This study was performed using the SWITCH model that has been developed by researchers in our Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California – Berkeley [16–18]. SWITCH is a capacity expansion and dispatch model developed to study policy options for decarbonizing the power sector in the entire geographic extent of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). The model is a mixed-integer linear program whose objective function is to minimize the cost of meeting electricity demand between the present day and some future time, say the year 2030.

In this section, we will briefly present how the Smart Grid could deliver most of the aspired qualities. 10.2.1 Clean Electricity Decarbonizing the existing grid requires no less than abandoning our addiction to the cheap polluting fossil fuels and consequently existing fossil fuel burning power generators must gradually be replaced with the cleaner alternatives such as biomass firing generators, fossil-fuel generators with carbon capture and sequestrations, wind technologies, solar technologies, geothermal, hydropower, and possibly nuclear power [1–4]. Chapter 2 of this book provides more detailed information on the renewable electricity generating technologies. As discussed in Chapter 9 of this book, many regions have shown the presence of multiple paths to a decarbonized future grid. We would also like to note that energy storage together with curtailing limited excess variable energy could also produce another potential alternative path via increased use of intermittent renewable energy.

Such capability may be able to reduce the worry about the customer-side generators. 10.2.3 Affordable Service No one would expect that adding information and communication technologies, building new generating technologies, and providing better service could come at no cost. But, as usual, we expect electricity services to be affordable. According to various studies exploring options for decarbonizing the power grid, building the cleaner version of today’s grid costs a lot of money over a long period [1–4]. Nevertheless, many planning studies have shown that under almost all scenarios, the cost per unit of electricity by the year 2050 does not show a significant change, from their base case decarbonized scenario [1–3]. Figure 10.1 presents the average generation by technology and the cost of electricity, for various scenarios discussed in Chapter 9, in the geographic region of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) of North America as estimated using the SWITCH model [1].


pages: 505 words: 147,916

Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made by Gaia Vince

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, bank run, car-free, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Google Earth, Haber-Bosch Process, hive mind, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kickstarter, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mars Rover, Masdar, megacity, mobile money, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, supervolcano, sustainable-tourism

With global temperatures almost certain to exceed the 2°C of warming this century that scientists consider ‘safe’ for humanity, quick-cooling options look increasingly attractive. Deflecting the sun’s energy back into space would do nothing to counteract the ocean acidification effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide – which I’ll come to later – but it is a valuable way of buying time while societies decarbonise, adapt to warmer conditions and new climates, and figure out an effective and efficient way of removing the carbon dioxide we’ve put into the atmosphere. Some engineers are proposing erecting Earth-orbiting space mirrors that would bounce sunlight back out before it even enters our atmosphere. Terrestrial proposals include whitewashing roofs of houses and public buildings, planting lighter and more reflective crops (perhaps using genetically modified varieties), and covering deserts or ocean in reflective materials.

Perhaps it is because the intent is so explicit; although humans are artificially warming the atmosphere with greenhouse gas emissions, the intent behind burning fossil fuels has always been to produce energy, not to warm the planet. Some argue that even research in this area should be banned because it implies intent to carry out the practice; others say that it draws effort away from climate-change mitigation – from decarbonising our energy production. But surely freedom of inquiry should be preserved – carrying out scientific research into whether something would work and what its consequences might be does not make a scientist an advocate for deployment, and there are scientific questions that need to be answered, such as the impact on rainfall, and whether or not it would even be technologically possible, before society can start to decide whether or not to deploy such techniques.

‘We need to educate people and bring some of the more isolated villages into the twenty-first century so that they are better able to deal with the challenges ahead, whether that be moving to another island or country,’ he says. For oceans as much as anywhere, the extent of change in the Anthropocene depends on us – on how poor people develop their economies, on how rich people reduce their environmental impact. Anni is uniquely attempting to decarbonise the country’s energy supply and heed environmental limits while industrialising. It’s a brave decision, I say; perhaps unnecessarily painful . . . ? Anni interjects sharply: ‘No, it is the only way to progress. We have no choice. It is brave – foolhardy even – to build power stations using fossil fuels when we know it is making things worse for the climate, for sea levels. Britain, the United States and the industrial world has been poisoning the atmosphere for the last 300 years.


pages: 369 words: 98,776

The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans by Mark Lynas

Airbus A320, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Haber-Bosch Process, ice-free Arctic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Negawatt, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, planetary scale, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, special drawing rights, Stewart Brand, undersea cable, University of East Anglia

It is perhaps testament to our stupidity, however, that despite decades of research and advocacy on climate, all pointing at the need to control greenhouse gas production, human emissions today continue inexorably to rise. Thankfully the technologies and strategies that humanity needs to achieve the climate boundary are today no mystery. We have all the tools necessary to begin a wide-scale decarbonization of the global economy and to achieve this at the same time as both living standards and population numbers are rising rapidly in the developing world. But environmentalism will need to change at the same time. Much of what environmentalists are calling for will either not help much or is actually thwarting progress toward solving climate change. It is time for a new—and far more pragmatic—approach that does not hold climate change hostage to a rigid ideology. 350: CURRENT EVIDENCE First we need to establish whether 350 is actually the right number and one that is supported by science.

As the climate scientist Roger Pielke, Jr., writes in his 2010 book The Climate Fix, “if there is an iron law of climate policy, it is that when policies focused on economic growth confront policies focused on emissions reductions, it is economic growth that will win out every time.” Greens may despair, but I think Pielke is right. The implication, however, is not that we are all doomed, but that any successful policy to decarbonize the global economy “must be designed such that economic growth and environmental progress go hand in hand.”54 In a related sense, although Greens often insist that energy is too cheap, this too is incorrect. Energy is actually too expensive, certainly for the 1.5 billion poor people in the world who lack access to electricity because they do not have the purchasing power to demand it. Well-fed campaigners in rich countries may fantasize romantically about happy peasants living sustainably in self-reliant African villages, but the fact is that people across the developing world are desperate to increase their economic opportunities, security, and wealth.

One suggestion, proposed by the Canadian economists Isabel Galiana and Chris Green, is for a low—say $5 per tonne—price on carbon, which would barely be noticed by consumers (and hence not attract political opposition) but could raise $150 billion globally per year for RD&D.79 An analogy might be the nuclear industry, which has to pay a small charge for each megawatt-hour of nuclear-generated electricity toward eventual decommissioning costs. The airline industry, for example, could do the same, with a small fee per passenger or flight going to a technology fund that will find ways to decarbonize the industry and so reduce its damage to the atmosphere. Galiana and Green also suggest that this carbon price should rise gradually over time, sending a forward price signal to the energy markets. Another option is to remove the trading elements from cap and trade schemes like the European Emissions Trading Scheme, shifting the system into a simple auction of carbon credits with the proceeds allocated to an independently administered energy RD&D trust fund.


pages: 202 words: 62,901

The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations Are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips, Michal Rozworski

Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, call centre, carbon footprint, central bank independence, Colonization of Mars, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, corporate raider, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Elon Musk, G4S, Georg Cantor, germ theory of disease, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, index fund, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, linear programming, liquidity trap, mass immigration, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, post scarcity, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing

The Socialist Calculation Debate Since the neoliberal revolution of the 1970s and its acceleration following the end of the Cold War, economic planning at scale has been widely derided from right to center-left, and planned endeavors such as public healthcare have been under attack from marketization in most countries. In most jurisdictions, the electricity systems that were once in public hands have long since been privatized; therefore governments committed to efforts to decarbonize electricity companies have had little choice but to employ market mechanisms such as emissions trading or carbon taxation, rather than reducing greenhouse gas emissions via democratic fiat—that is, simply ordering the electricity provider to switch to non-emitting fuel sources. Almost everywhere, transportation, communication, education, prisons, policing and even emergency services are being spun off wholly or in part from the public sector and provided instead by market actors.

It would be useful, too, to increase input efficiency in agriculture, which, together with deforestation and land-use change, is responsible for most of the remaining third. We know how to do this. A vast build-out of dependable baseload electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric plants, supported by more variable renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar, could replace nearly all fossil fuels in short order, cleaning up the grid and delivering enough clean generation to electrify transport, heating, and industry. Decarbonizing agriculture is more complicated, and we still need better technology, but we understand the overall trajectory. Unfortunately, wherever these practices do not create profit, or do not create enough profit, companies will not put them in place. We hear regular reports claiming that investment in renewable energy is now outpacing investment in fossil fuels. This is good, though it is often the result of subsidies for market actors, themselves typically derived from hikes in the price of electricity that hit working-class communities, rather than from taxes on the wealthy.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that while nuclear energy is clean and non-intermittent, and has a tiny land footprint, “without support from governments, investments in new … plants are currently generally not economically attractive within liberalized markets.” Private firms refuse to begin construction without public subsidies or guarantees. This explains why the most rapid decarbonization effort so far occurred before European market liberalization wrapped its fingers around the neck of its member-state economies. The French government spent roughly a decade building out its nuclear fleet, which now covers almost 40 percent of the nation’s energy needs. Similarly, to integrate intermittent renewables to their maximum potential, we would need to build load-balancing, ultra high-voltage, smart transmission “super-grids” that span continents or even the entire globe so as to shave off as much as possible their volatile swings.


pages: 297 words: 95,518

Ten Technologies to Save the Planet: Energy Options for a Low-Carbon Future by Chris Goodall

barriers to entry, carbon footprint, congestion charging, decarbonisation, energy security, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kickstarter, land tenure, load shedding, New Urbanism, oil shock, profit maximization, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, statistical model, undersea cable

Is it too late, or perhaps just too technically difficult, to reduce our economic reliance on fossil fuels? This book argues that we have reason for very considerable optimism. Each of the ten chapters looks at a technology or technique that could reduce CO 2 emissions by at least 10 percent of the annual world total. All of them are comfortably within our scientific and technological reach. So, to use that ugly phrase, we should be able to “decarbonize our economy” at an affordable price. In fact, we can implement many of the technologies in this book, such as zero-till farming or improved home insulation, today with no permanent increase in costs. They will improve incomes, make agricultural yields more reliable, or reduce household expenditure. Other technologies, including second-generation biofuels and tidal energy, will probably be more expensive than their fossil fuel equivalents for some years or decades to come.

We cannot yet know whether CSP will turn out to provide cheaper power than solar photovoltaics. But CSP has the very substantial advantage of being based on simple and easily reproducible technology. PV technology is still the exclusive preserve of a small number of very secretive companies, all understandably eager to protect their intellectual property. This doesn’t improve the chances that PV will grow fast enough to decarbonize the world’s electricity production any time soon. CSP has more of a following wind: many companies around the world should be able to install relatively efficient power plants. The Spanish construction companies currently leading the world have fewer technological advantages over potential competitors than First Solar or Nanosolar have in the field of photovoltaics. In the language of venture capitalists, this means that the barriers to entry for new competitors in the CSP business are relatively low and we can expect substantial competition between firms striving to drive down costs.

But Vattenfall itself has optimistically said that it eventually hopes to be able to drive the cost down to below $30 when it learns the lessons from its early plants. Others aren’t quite so optimistic, and analysts talk of costs of $45 to $60 for several decades to come. Whatever the correct number turns out to be, it represents the single most important figure in the policy-making debate about how to decarbonize the world economy. If the eventual carbon price is significantly above this figure, we know that power station operators will have good financial reason to install CCS equipment and will do so voluntarily. Much below this level and we can be quite sure that they won’t do it except under determined legislative attack. I think we can be certain that the quickest way to cut carbon emissions from the single largest source of emissions—the world’s power stations—is to use the carrot of a high carbon price, not the stick of legislation.


pages: 197 words: 49,296

The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac

3D printing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, F. W. de Klerk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, new economy, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, the scientific method, trade route, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra

An increasing number of countries today fully understand that their development in the twenty-first century can and should be clean; that by decarbonizing their economies, they can reap the benefits of more jobs, cleaner air, more efficient transportation, more habitable cities, and more fertile lands. This shift toward a mindset of creating abundance does not negate the limitations of a carbon economy; instead, it gives every country a wealth of positive individual and collective reasons to stay within that limit. As one country moves forward demonstrating the national benefits of clean technologies and policies, others will follow, momentum will be built, and the global rate of decarbonization will increase, protecting the planet. When we are motivated by a desire for collaboration, we liberate ourselves from the restrictive framing of attaining “what I want, or think I need,” and open ourselves up to a broader framing of what is available and possible in many other forms—available to me, but not only to me, to others as well.

Globally, governments spend about $600 billion every year keeping prices of fossil fuels artificially low.36 That’s around three times as much as subsidies provided for renewable energy.37 Governments may claim their administrations support renewable energy, but until they stop subsidizing fossil fuels, our progress will stall. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, famously said that unless we make a smooth transition from today’s fossil-fuel-based economy to the fully decarbonized economy we need in the future, at some point there will be a “jump to distress,”38 meaning that high-carbon assets will suddenly drop in value by a large percentage. Carney urged us to avoid that at all costs. When you think about how much of our economy is built on a foundation of fossil fuels, his prediction comes as no surprise. Entire industries, companies, and governments could go bankrupt or lose a lot of value very suddenly if we delay transition to the point of crisis.

With AI algorithms, it is now possible to completely redesign our centralized energy grids. AI-informed energy grids can be much more decentralized, acting as neural networks, dynamically predicting what power is needed when. AI-informed grids would “intuitively” map supply and demand, flexing between storage and energy flow so that greater amounts of renewable energy can be produced, thus reducing gas and coal use, perhaps completely.80 AI is accelerating our decarbonization efforts in many other areas. Machine learning is being used to prevent the leakage of methane from gas pipelines, to accelerate the development of solar fuels (synthetic chemical fuels produced directly/indirectly from solar energy), to improve battery storage technologies, to optimize freight and transport for better efficiency, to reduce energy use in buildings, to plant forests using drones, and much more.81 AI is also showing promising signs of improving our ability to predict extreme weather and even of removing greenhouse gases directly from the air.


pages: 193 words: 51,445

On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Martin J. Rees

23andMe, 3D printing, air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic transition, distributed ledger, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, global village, Hyperloop, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, life extension, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanislav Petrov, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, the scientific method, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

It is hoped they’ll pledge to double their publicly funded R&D into clean energy by 2020 and to coordinate efforts. This target is a modest one. Presently, only 2 percent of publicly funded R&D is devoted to these challenges. Why shouldn’t the percentage be comparable to spending on medical or defence research? Bill Gates and other private philanthropists have pledged a parallel commitment. The impediment to ‘decarbonising’ the global economy is that renewable energy is still expensive to generate. The faster these ‘clean’ technologies advance, the sooner their prices will fall so they will become affordable to developing countries, where more generating capacity will be needed, where the health of the poor is jeopardised by smoky stoves burning wood or dung, and where there would otherwise be pressure to build coal-fired power stations.

But, just as in Fukushima, present guidelines would lead to a response that was unduly drastic, both in the extent and the duration of the evacuation. The immediate aftermath of a nuclear incident is not the optimum time for a balanced debate. That is why this topic needs a new assessment now and wide dissemination of clear and appropriate guidelines. *   *   * What will actually happen on the climate front? My pessimistic guess is that political efforts to decarbonise energy production won’t gain traction, and that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will increase at an accelerating rate through the next twenty years, even if the Paris pledges are honoured. But by then we’ll know with far more confidence—from a longer time base of data, and from better modelling—just how strong the feedback from water vapour and clouds actually is. If the ‘climate sensitivity’ is low, we’ll relax.


pages: 653 words: 155,847

Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes

Albert Einstein, animal electricity, California gold rush, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Copley Medal, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Dmitri Mendeleev, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, flex fuel, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, nuclear winter, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Simon Kuznets, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Vanguard fund, working poor, young professional

The great challenge of the twenty-first century will be limiting global warming while simultaneously providing energy for a world population not only increasing in number but also advancing from subsistence to prosperity. A world population in 2100 of ten billion people is two and a half billion more—25 percent more—than the world population of 2017. Another way to say “limiting global warming” is to speak, as energy experts do, of “decarbonizing” the energy sources the world uses. Switching from coal to natural gas is decarbonizing, since burning natural gas produces about half the carbon dioxide of burning coal. Switching from coal to nuclear power is radically decarbonizing, since nuclear power produces greenhouse gases (GHG) only during construction, mining, fuel processing, maintenance, and decommissioning—about as much as solar power does.10 Both nuclear and solar generate only about 2 percent to 4 percent as much CO2 as a coal-fired power plant and about 4 percent to 5 percent as much as a natural-gas-fired power plant.11 Yet nuclear power development was slowed in 2017 in the wake of the third nuclear accident worldwide in more than forty years of development.

I’ve focused on nuclear power in this chapter not because I imagine it to be the only solution to global warming. It’s not, any more than renewable energy systems alone are. Every energy system has its advantages and disadvantages, as this excursion through four hundred years of energy developments should have made clear. And given the scale of global warming and human development, we will need them all if we are to finish the centuries-long process of decarbonizing our energy supply—wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, natural gas. As a harbinger of what’s coming, the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshar suffered a heat index—a measure of temperature and humidity combined—of 165°F (74°C) in August 2015. Temperatures in the Middle East in recent years have frequently exceeded 125°F. Energy: A Human History originated in my encountering the work of an Italian physicist named Cesare Marchetti.

Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1991. Grosso, Michael. The Millennium Myth: Love and Death at the End of Time. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1997. Grübler, Arnulf. “Diffusion: Long-Term Patterns and Discontinuities.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 39 (1991): 159–80. ———. Technology and Global Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Grübler, Arnulf, and Nebojsa Nakicenovic. “Decarboning the Global Energy System.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 53 (1996): 97–110. Grübler, Arnulf, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, and David G. Victor. “Dynamics of Energy Technologies and Global Change.” Energy Policy 27 (1999): 247–80. Gugliotta, Angela. “Class, Gender, and Coal Smoke: Gender Ideology and Environmental Justice in the City: A Theme for Urban Environmental History.” Environmental History 5, no. 2 (2000): 165–93.


pages: 415 words: 103,231

Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence by Robert Bryce

addicted to oil, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, decarbonisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, financial independence, flex fuel, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, low earth orbit, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price stability, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Yom Kippur War

Over the coming decades, natural gas (CH4) consumption will increase because it is the cleanest of the fossil fuels, thanks to its C:H ratio of 1 to 4. That is, it has just 1 carbon atom for each 4 atoms of hydrogen. The inexorable decarbonization of the global economy is occurring because energy consumers are always seeking ever denser forms of energy to allow them to do ever greater and ever more precise amounts 284 GUSHER OF LIES of work. (Lasers are a prime example of this trend toward superconcentrated energy forms.) Jesse Ausubel, the director of the program for the human environment at Rockefeller University in New York City, said the trend toward decarbonization may waver for a decade or two as countries like India and China add massive amounts of new coalfired power plants, but “over the long term H gains in the mix at the expense of C, like cars replacing horses, colour TV substituting for black-and-white, or email gaining the market over hard copies sent through the post office.”84 Second, while the decarbonization trend is important, it’s just as important to realize that gas can be substituted for oil in many different applications.

The growing global supplies of gas—and the demand that’s eager to make use of those supplies—are positive trends that should be encouraged for a number of reasons. First and foremost among them is that gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. It emits about half as much carbon dioxide as coal and creates far fewer air pollutants.83 Environmentalists should applaud the increased use of natural gas, as it is part of the ongoing “decarbonization” of the world’s energy mix. This trend has been going on for about two centuries. And the trend can be understood from the ratio of carbon to hydrogen atoms in the most common fuels. From prehistory through, say, the 1700s and early 1800s, wood was the world’s most common fuel. Wood has a carbonto-hydrogen ratio (C:H) of 10 to 1. That is, wood has about 10 carbon atoms for every 1 hydrogen atom.

Jesse Ausubel, the director of the program for the human environment at Rockefeller University in New York City, said the trend toward decarbonization may waver for a decade or two as countries like India and China add massive amounts of new coalfired power plants, but “over the long term H gains in the mix at the expense of C, like cars replacing horses, colour TV substituting for black-and-white, or email gaining the market over hard copies sent through the post office.”84 Second, while the decarbonization trend is important, it’s just as important to realize that gas can be substituted for oil in many different applications. With some modifications, most standard automobiles can be converted to run on natural gas. Gas can be used to generate electricity and heat homes, and as a feedstock for an array of chemicals and other products. Unfortunately, gas infrastructure is more expensive than oil infrastructure. Pipelines are inherently expensive and are constrained by geography. But the booming global market for liquefied natural gas, carried aboard massive ships, as well as the advent of a less expensive technology, compressed natural gas, could make a big difference.


pages: 326 words: 48,727

Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard

addicted to oil, Berlin Wall, business continuity plan, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, defense in depth, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fixed income, food miles, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kickstarter, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, peak oil, Port of Oakland, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, the built environment, transatlantic slave trade, transit-oriented development, University of East Anglia, urban planning

Perhaps the biggest challenge, Van Zist said, was how to make mitigation strategies work within a growing economy: "Whatever we do to cut emissions from power plants and other single sources—and we've been fairly effective there—is being counteracted by the fact that there are more and more cars on the road, driving greater distances. And there is more aviation traffic as well. Schiphol airport is going to increase its volume by forty to fifty thousand flights a year and expand to six runways, which will make it a truly huge airport." Echoing Sips's call for systemic reform, Van Zist added that meeting the challenge of mitigation allowed for "only one option: we have to decarbonize our economies." But instead the Dutch have been slow to develop solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources. "All the visionary documents on this are okay—I've coauthored some of them—but the proof is where the rubber meets the road," sa id Van Zist. Complaining that the government has often reduced subsidies for alternative energy when short-term goals such as the Kyoto reductions appeared to be in sight, he argued, "That means the big industrial companies stop moving toward the larger goals.

Schellnhuber did not favor relying on geoengineering to solve this problem; like many scientists, he believed it would "only make things worse." Right or wrong, that assumption meant that global greenhouse gas emissions had to fall at incredible speed. To have a two-out-of-three chance of meeting the 2°C target—"worse odds than Russian Roulette," Schellnhuber wryly observed—the world's leading economies had to decarbonize completely within ten to twenty years, according to the WBGU study. In other words, they had to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent within the next two decades. Specifically, the United States had to cut its emissions by 100 percent by 2020—in other words, quit carbon entirely within ten years. Germany and other industrial nations had to do the same by 2025 to 2030. China had only until 2035, and the world as a whole had to be carbon-free by 2050.

The big surprise, though, was China. " People always think that China will benefit from the per-capita principle," Schellnhuber said. Indeed, I recalled Chinese officials lecturing me during my 1996–97 visit about the sanctity of the per-capita principle. "What do you expect us to do?" one asked rhetorically. "Go back to no heat in the winter?" But Schellnhuber explained that because China had already burned massive amounts of coal and had so many people, it had to decarbonize by 2035. Back in 2007, Chancellor Merkel surprised almost everyone when she endorsed the per-capita principle at the annual summit of the G8 nations, the only G8 leader to do so. Schellnhuber told me one reason Merkel had done so was that she was the daughter of a Protestant minister and fairness mattered to her. But now that the WBGU study had calculated the real-world implications of this moral stand, even Schellnhuber doubted that the chancellor would renew her pledge—the numbers were just too dire.


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Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow by Tim Jackson

"Robert Solow", bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, bonus culture, Boris Johnson, business cycle, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Graeber, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hans Rosling, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, paradox of thrift, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, Philip Mirowski, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, secular stagnation, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, universal basic income, Works Progress Administration, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Meeting these targets before 2035, instead of 2050, would mean reducing carbon intensity of the economy by anything up to 18 per cent year on year, at least one hundred times faster than we are doing at the moment. Beyond 2050, with incomes still growing at 2 per cent a year, the challenge is only exacerbated. The economy in 2100 would have to be 30 times the size of today’s economy. And to all intents and purposes, nothing less than a complete decarbonisation of every single dollar would do. Even before the middle of the century, we will need to be taking carbon out of the atmosphere. The long-run net carbon intensity of each dollar of economic output will have to be less than zero. What kind of economy is that? What are its consumption activities? What are its investment activities? What does it run on? What keeps it going? How is economic value created by removing carbon from the atmosphere?

Simplistic assumptions that capitalism’s propensity for efficiency will allow us to stabilise the climate or protect against resource scarcity are nothing short of delusional. The truth is that there is as yet no credible, socially just, ecologically sustainable scenario of continually growing incomes for upwards of nine billion people. And the critical question is not whether the complete decarbonisation of our energy systems or the dematerialisation of our consumption patterns is technically feasible, but whether it is possible in our kind of society. The analysis in this chapter suggests that it is entirely fanciful to suppose that ‘deep’ emission and resource cuts can be achieved without confronting the structure of market economies. It is to this question that we now turn. 6 THE ‘IRON CAGE’ OF CONSUMERISM As every hunted animal knows, it is not how fast you run that counts, but whether you are slower than everyone else.

This might seem like an arbitrary redefinition, but it has some profound ramifications. The same level of warmth (or thermal comfort), for instance, can be achieved in many different ways. In a well-insulated house, you can have comparable warmth with much lower consumption of oil or gas. And the critical point here is that lower consumption of oil or gas means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Thinking in terms of services reveals new ways to decarbonise or dematerialise human activities. When the value proposition of enterprise revolves around the delivery of dematerialised services rather than the manufacture of material products, there is a huge potential to rethink the relationship between economic output and material throughput. ‘Servicization’, this strategy has sometimes been called.4 It’s vital to note that this is not simply another framing of the transformation to ‘service-based economies’ that has characterised development in the rich world over recent decades.


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The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, basic income, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, endowment effect, energy transition, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, failed state, fiat currency, global pandemic, global supply chain, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Joan Didion, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, life extension, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, megastructure, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, postindustrial economy, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Whole Earth Catalog, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

* * * — If we do succeed, and pull up short of two or even three degrees, the bigger bill will come due not in the name of liability but in the form of adaptation and mitigation—that is, the cost of building and then administering whatever systems we improvise to undo the damage a century of imperious industrial capitalism has wrought across the only planet on which we all can live. The cost is large: a decarbonized economy, a perfectly renewable energy system, a reimagined system of agriculture, and perhaps even a meatless planet. In 2018, the IPCC compared the necessary transformation to the mobilization of World War II, but global. It took New York City forty-five years to build three new stops on a single subway line; the threat of catastrophic climate change means we need to entirely rebuild the world’s infrastructure in considerably less time.

To a wealthy American or Swede or Japanese, the market penetration may seem total, but more than a decade after its introduction, the device is used by less than 10 percent of the world; for all smartphones, even the “cheap” ones, the number is somewhere between a quarter and a third. Define the technology in even more basic terms, as “cell phones” or “the internet,” and you get a timeline to global saturation of at least decades—of which we have two or three, in which to completely eliminate carbon emissions, planetwide. According to the IPCC, we have just twelve years to cut them in half. The longer we wait, the harder it will be. If we had started global decarbonization in 2000, when Al Gore narrowly lost election to the American presidency, we would have had to cut emissions by only about 3 percent per year to stay safely under two degrees of warming. If we start today, when global emissions are still growing, the necessary rate is 10 percent. If we delay another decade, it will require us to cut emissions by 30 percent each year. This is why U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres believes we have only one year to change course and get started.

It also helps explain frustration with other leaders, from Justin Trudeau, who has seized the rhetorical mantle of climate action but also approved several new Canadian pipelines, to Angela Merkel, who has overseen an exhilarating expansion of Germany’s green energy capacity, but also retired its nuclear power so quickly that some of the slack has been taken up by existing dirty plants. To the average citizen of each of these countries, the criticism may seem extreme, but it arises from a very clearheaded calculus: the world has, at most, about three decades to completely decarbonize before truly devastating climate horrors begin. You can’t halfway your way to a solution to a crisis this large. In the meantime, environmental panic is growing, and so is despair. Over the last several years, as unprecedented weather and unrelenting research have recruited more voices to the army of environmental panic, a dour terminological competition has sprung up among climate writers, aiming to coin new clarifying language—in the mode of Richard Heinberg’s “toxic knowledge” or Kris Bartkus’s “Malthusian tragic”—to give epistemological shape to the demoralizing, or demoralized, response of the rest of the world.


pages: 309 words: 78,361

Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet B. Schor

Asian financial crisis, big-box store, business climate, business cycle, carbon footprint, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Gini coefficient, global village, IKEA effect, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, life extension, McMansion, new economy, peak oil, pink-collar, post-industrial society, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, sharing economy, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, smart grid, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, Zipcar

Supermarket chains now label packages with carbon scores, and chains such as Marks and Spencer have signed on to carbon neutrality. In 2007 Parliament passed a major climate-change bill that mandated a 26 percent reduction below 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2020, and a 60 percent cut by 2050. On the other hand, the Labour government has been adamant about its commitment to growth, arguing that efficiency, clean energy, and a market for carbon will do the trick. They claim that they can decarbonize, or sever the link between emissions and GDP. The environment ministry has enacted programs on food waste and plastics use to encourage behavior change among citizens, and a variety of efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of businesses. In the academic literature, this approach is known as ecological modernization. It holds that the fundamentals of the market economy can remain intact. Green production, with eco-conscious consumers and a price for carbon, will be sufficient to solve environmental problems.

So all the work of reducing impact must be done by technology, and in sixteen years it’ll need to do twice as much as today. Reductions in carbon emitted per dollar of income under BAU will be 1.2 percent per year. That just about offsets the population increase, with no contribution to reducing emissions or to counteracting higher income. Estimates are that we’ll need 5-7 percent annual improvements in decarbonization alone, or a quadrupling of carbon productivity, to stay within the now-inadequate two degrees Celsius target. This is already far outside the range of experience. To achieve the safe 350 ppm level, improvements in technology have to be even larger. This simple arithmetic makes clear that we’ve got to address the growth of production. But greenhouse gas emissions are not all we need to fix.

John Holdren: Ehrlich and Holdren (1971). 95 more complex formulations have been developed: For different functional forms, see York, Rosa, and Dietz (2003). 95 medium scenario is that population will peak at 9.1 billion in 2050: United Nations (2009). 95 world population is growing at just under 1.2 percent per year: Central Intelligence Agency (2009). 95 Reductions in carbon emitted per dollar of income under BAU will be 1.2 percent: McKinsey and Company (2009), p. 24. 96 5-7 percent annual improvements in decarbonization alone: McKinsey & Company (2009), p. 26. See Speth (2008) for a discussion of these issues. 96 improvements in technology have to be even larger: For a new study of the economics of 350 ppm, see Ackerman et al. (2009). 96 From 1980 to 2005 . . . 30 percent on a worldwide basis: Sustainable Europe Research Institute (2009b), p. 23. Forty-five percent increase in total materials use from p. 10. 96 decoupling in North America has only been about 25 percent: Author’s calculations from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2008b), table on p. 40. 96 per capita annual income is already . . . $47,200: 2008 figure from the Economic report of the president (2009), table B-31, p. 321.


pages: 138 words: 40,525

This Is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook by Extinction Rebellion

3D printing, autonomous vehicles, banks create money, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, feminist movement, full employment, gig economy, global pandemic, ice-free Arctic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, mass immigration, Peter Thiel, place-making, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, Sam Altman, smart grid, supply-chain management, the scientific method, union organizing, urban sprawl, wealth creators

The strikes by school students hammer home the point, as hundreds of thousands of pupils across Europe walk out of their classrooms to protest and demand action on the climate. Change won’t come from above but from below – and change cannot happen unless it addresses the monstrous injustices that are built into our highly destructive, unsustainable, high-carbon economy. An economy in which the wealthiest 10 per cent are responsible for more than half of all greenhouse-gas emissions. One based on an industrialized farming system that destroys forests, decarbonizes and depletes soil, drives biodiversity loss and yet, globally, receives hundreds of billions in taxpayer subsidies. Above all, an economy sustained by a finance sector that fuels endless consumption with seemingly endless credit – all in the name of vast capital gains, regardless of the ecological cost to both this generation and future generations. So where to begin? Well, any programme for ensuring a liveable planet must first acknowledge our collective failure to confront capitalism’s financial and political power and its commitment to exponential increases in rates of consumption, fuelled by carbon.

That means cuts in consumption, more recycling and drastic improvements to resource-use efficiency – especially of our leaky, Victorian housing stock. We must also abandon the fetish of ‘growth’ – a fetish first devised by neoliberal economists at the OECD and the Financial Times in the 1960s. They sought to encourage exponential economic growth to parallel the vast expansion of the globalized finance sector. Instead, our goal must be a decarbonized economy of full employment, based on renewables, recycling technologies, biodiversity, stock replenishment, sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices and other areas necessary for this transformation. This transformative programme will redefine what it is to be progressive. As the parliamentary debate on Heathrow’s expansion demonstrated, the twenty-first-century Left will split down into two camps.


Battling Eight Giants: Basic Income Now by Guy Standing

basic income, Bernie Sanders, centre right, collective bargaining, decarbonisation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, full employment, future of work, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), job automation, labour market flexibility, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, open economy, pension reform, precariat, quantitative easing, rent control, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, universal basic income, Y Combinator

Moreover, in 2018, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that to avoid massive and dangerous environmental destruction the world should be aiming to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C, rather than the 2°C targeted by the Paris Agreement. Yet, without urgent and decisive action, we will hit the critical 1.5°C temperature rise from pre-industrial levels by 2030. Rapid decarbonization is the only way forward. One necessary measure is a substantial increase in carbon taxes. A statement issued at the UN Climate Summit in Poland in December 2018 by a powerful group of multinational investment funds managing $32 trillion of investors’ money called for ‘meaningful’ taxes on carbon and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. According to calculations by Schroders, one of the signatories, failure to keep the rise in global temperatures to 2°C would cause long-term economic damage on three or four times the scale of the 2007–08 financial crash.73 A consensus is building.

See also individual entries definition 1, 4–8 reasons for need 8–9 security 98, 113, 114 system 1, 20, 23, 26, 32, 37, 52, 70, 84, 90–1, 122 n.7 Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) 94 behavioural conditionality 70, 73, 77, 114 behaviour-testing 4, 39, 70, 84 benefits 5, 7, 27 conditional schemes 41 social assistance 23 BET365 11 Beveridge, William 8–9, 38 Beveridge model 21 Big Bang liberalization 18 BJP 92 black economy 40, 60 B-Mincome 99–100 Booker, Cory 101 brain development 98–9 132 Branson, Richard 54 Brexit 53 Britain 6, 8–10, 12–18, 20, 23–4, 26–7, 30–1, 33–4, 37–8, 40–2, 55, 57, 59, 90, 101, 104, 112 British Columbia 95 British Constitution 1 Buck, Karen 57 bureaucracy 40, 49, 100, 102 Bureau of Economic Analysis 16 Business Property Relief 58 California 69, 96–7 Canada 35 capacity-to-work tests 6, 104 cap-and-trade approach 34 Capita 50 capital dividend 59 capital fund 89–90 capital grants 59, 75, 76, 92 carbon dividends 37 carbon emissions 33–4 carbon tax 34–5, 37 care deficit 53 care work 36, 53, 67, 74, 84 cash payments 111 cash transfers 99 ‘casino dividend’ schemes 88 charities 48 The Charter of the Forest (1217) 1 Chicago 99 Child Benefit 57, 58, 72, 123 n.4 childcare 99, 110–11 child development 88 Child Tax Credits 81 chronic psychological stress 26 Citizens Advice 46–8 Citizen’s Basic Income Trust 7, 122 n.7, 123 n.4 citizenship rights 1, 29 civil society organizations 79 Index climate change 34 Clinton, Hillary 126 n.4 Clinton, Bill 105 Coalition government 41, 50 cognitive performance 33 collateral damage 53 common dividends 7, 20, 21, 59–60, 69, 73, 75, 83, 84, 85 Commons Fund 8, 35, 57, 59, 89 community cohesion 3 resilience 23 work 84 ‘community payback’ schemes 102 Compass 59 compensation 2, 7, 16, 104 ‘concealed debt’ 24–5 conditional cash transfer schemes 90 Conservative government 9, 85 Conservatives 23 consumer credit 24 consumption 23 contractual obligations 46 Coote, Anna 113 cost of living 25, 49, 52, 83 council house sales 76 council tax 25 Crocker, Geoff 122 n.15 cross-party plans 80 crowd-funded schemes 100 deadweight effects 102 ‘deaths of despair’ 27 Deaton, Angus 10 debt 23–6, 67, 85 debt collection practices 24–5 decarbonization 34 dementia 33 democratic values 69 Democrats 37 demographic changes 15 Index 133 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 11–12, 42–8, 50–2, 73, 81, 92, 129 n.6 depression 28, 94 direct taxes 56, 58 disability benefits 6, 49–52, 83 Disability Living Allowance (DLA) 49–51 Disabled People Against Cuts 52 Dividend Allowance 58 ‘dividend capitalism’ 8 domestic violence 29, 87 Dragonfly 92 due process 46, 49 ecological crisis 33, 37, 39, 114 ecological developments 21 ecological disaster 35 ecological taxes and levies 37 economy benefits 20, 60 crisis 106 damage 34 growth 20, 36, 106 industrialized 20 insecurity 21, 35, 39, 89 security 75, 80, 84, 88 system 15, 27, 38 tax-paying 60 uncertainty 8, 22–3, 31 ‘eco-socialism’ 8 ecosystems 33 Edinburgh 80 education 88, 108 Elliott, Larry 122 n.15 employment 16, 22, 39, 60–1, 81, 89, 93–4, 102, 106, 107, 110, 114 Employment Support Allowance (ESA) 27, 41, 49–51 England 28, 63, 110–11 Enlightenment 85 Entrepreneurs’ Relief 18 equality 31, 85 Europe 37 European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) 120 n.1 European Heart Journal 33 European Union 6, 17, 41 euthanasia 113 extinction 33–7 ‘Extinction Rebellion’ 33 Fabian Society 57–8 Facebook 97 family allowances 56 family benefits 56 family insecurity 23 federal welfare programs 106 Fife 24, 80 financial crash (2007–8) 23, 26, 34 financialization 116 n.22 financial markets 18 Financial Services Authority 123 n.15 Financial Times 19, 123 n.15 financial wealth 18 Finland 28, 61, 93–5 food banks 10, 29–30, 43, 109 food donations 29 food insecurity 108–9 fossil fuels 33–4 France 12, 17, 18, 32, 38, 57 free bus services 112 freedom 8, 30, 84, 85, 101, 114 ‘free food’ 108–9, 129 n.6 ‘free’ labour market 106 free trade 13 Friends Provident Foundation 75 fuel tax 35 fund and dividend model 89 funding 29, 59, 62, 69, 71–2, 112 134 G20 (Group of 20 large economies) 15 Gaffney, Declan 57 Gallup 105 GDP 14, 17–18, 23–4, 34, 36, 59, 89, 108 General Election 91–2, 94 ‘genuine progress indicator’ 36 Germany 17–18, 38, 100 Gillibrand, Kirsten 101 Gini coefficient 9, 12 GiveDirectly 91 Glasgow City 80 globalization 14 Global Wage Report 2016/17 14 global warming 33, 37 Good Society 75, 106 The Great British Benefits Handout (TV series) 92 Great Depression 9 Great Recession 23 greenhouse gas emissions 34, 36 gross cost 110 The Guardian 101, 103, 122–3 n.15 Hansard Society 37 Harris, Kamala 101 Harrop, Andrew 57 Hartz IV 100 HartzPlus 100 health 67, 87, 100 human 33 insurance premiums 35 services 60 healthcare costs 28 hegemony 14 help-to-buy loan scheme 76 Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) 64, 73, 81 Hirschmann, Albert 56 household debt 24 Index household earnings 16 household survey 12 House of Commons 110–11 housing allowance 95 Housing Benefit 24, 41, 53, 71 housing policy 53 hub-and-spoke model 112 Hughes, Chris 97 humanity 33 human relations 3 ‘immoral’ hazard 109 ‘impact’ effects 78 incentive 62 income 81 assistance 88 average 83 components 11 distribution system 4, 13–14, 38, 67, 84, 107, 114 gap 9 growth 16 insecurity 27 men vs. women 15–16 national 14, 36 pensioners’ 16 rental 13–15, 20 social 14, 16–17 support payments 110 tax 1, 7, 57, 89, 111 transfer 85 volatility 22 India 68, 80, 90–2 Indian Congress Party 91 inequality 2, 4, 9–13, 21, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 38, 39, 54, 80, 85, 114 growth 17 income 9–10, 15–17, 19 living standard 20 wealth 18–19, 76 informal care 111 Index 135 inheritance tax 58 in-kind services 111 insecurity 21–3, 29, 38, 39, 47, 67, 85, 106 Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) 10 Institute for Public Policy Research 125 n.17 Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) 75, 111 Institute of New Economic Thinking 123 n.15 Institute of Public Policy Research 59 insurance schemes 8 intellectual property 14–15 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 34 International Labour Organization (ILO) 14, 122 n.4 International Monetary Fund (IMF) 31, 34 international tax evasion 18 interpersonal income inequality 83 inter-regional income inequalities 83 intra-family relationships 3 involuntary debt 26 in-work benefits 22 Ireland 35 Italy 18 labour 31, 107 inefficiency 106 law 101 markets 8, 14, 32, 39, 40, 60, 62–3, 96, 100, 106 regulations 13 supply 67, 95 Labour governments 85 labourism 106 Lansley, Stewart 59 Latin America 90 Left Alliance 94 Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich 113 Liberal government 35 life-changing errors 51 life-threatening illness 33 Liverpool 80 living standards 20, 23, 33, 36, 53, 59, 92 Local Housing Allowances 24 London Homelessness Project 92–3 low-income communities 33 low-income families 21 low-income households 17 low-income individuals 86 Low Pay Commission 63 low-wage jobs 60, 107 Luddite reaction 32 lump-sum payments 35, 59, 76 Jackson, Mississippi 99 JobCentrePlus 47 job guarantee policy 101–7 job-matching programs 106 Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) 41, 46 Joseph Rowntree Foundation 21 McDonnell, John 129 n.13 McKinsey Global Institute 31 Macron, Emmanuel 35 Magna Carta 1 ‘Making Ends Meet’ 97 ‘mandatory reconsideration’ stage 51 Manitoba 87–8 Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment (Mincome) 87 market economy 105, 114 master-servant model 101 Kaletsky, Anatole 123 n.15 Kenya 90–2 Khanna, Ro 103 Kibasi, Tom 113 136 Index Maximus 50 means-testing 4, 39, 42, 48, 58, 61–2, 70, 84, 88, 90, 109–10, 114 benefits 5, 7, 27, 40, 46, 56, 71–3, 81, 129 n.6 social assistance 23, 41, 95, 122 n.7 system 6 medical services 28 Mein Grundeinkommen (‘My Basic Income’) 100 mental health 26, 28, 94 disorders 88 trusts 28 mental illness 33, 68 migrants 7, 113 ‘minimum income floor’ 45 Ministry of Justice 51 modern insecurity 22 modern life 31 monetary policy 59 Mont Pelerin Society 13 moral commitment 75 moral hazard 109 mortality 27, 76 multinational investment funds 34 Musk, Elon 31, 54 Namibia 90–2 National Audit Office (NAO) 24, 43–4, 46, 76 National Health Service (NHS) 8, 24, 27–8, 44, 68, 80, 108, 111 National Insurance 18, 22, 124 n.4 nationalism 37 National Living Wage 63 National Minimum Wage 63–4 national solidarity 3 Native American community 88 negative income tax (NIT) 23, 87, 95, 100 neo-fascism 37–8 neoliberalism 13, 84 Netherlands 96 New Economics Foundation (NEF) 57, 113, 122 n.15 non-resident citizens 113 non-wage benefits 16 non-wage work 74 North America 67 North Ayrshire 80 North Carolina 88 North Sea oil 89–90 Nyman, Rickard 23 Oakland 96–7 Office for National Statistics (ONS) 14–15, 17, 36 Ontario, Canada 95–6 open economy 84 open ‘free’ markets 13, 15 opportunity dividend 59 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 18, 23, 27, 31 Ormerod, Paul 23 Osborne, George 19 Paine, Thomas 2, 75 Painian Principle 2 panopticon state 55 Paris Agreement (2015) 34 participation income 74–5 paternalism 42, 55 pauperization 63 Pawar, Alderman Ameya 99 pay contributions 21 pension contributions 18, 58 Pension Credit 41 Pericles Condition 75 permanent capital fund 71 personal care services 110–11 Index 137 personal income tax 35 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 49–51 personal insecurity 23 Personal Savings Allowance 58 personal tax allowances 17, 58, 59 perverse incentives 50 physical health 26, 94 piloting in Britain 67–81 applying 80–1 rules in designing 70–80 policy development 3, 69 political decision 78 political discourse 92 political instability 35 political system 38 populism 37–8, 75 populist parties 37 populist politics 39 Populus survey 55 post-war system 8 poverty 2, 4, 10–12, 22, 27, 29, 36, 38, 40, 60–1, 89, 100, 108–9, 114, 125 n.17, 129 n.6 precarity 29–30, 38, 39, 60–1, 85, 103, 129 n.6 Primary Earnings Threshold 124 n.4 private debt 23–4, 39 private inheritance 2 private insurance 85 private property rights 13 private wealth 18 privatization 13, 17, 112 property prices 76 prostitution 43 Public Accounts Committee (PAC) 51 public costs 28 public debt 23 public inheritance 61 public libraries 47 public policy 97 public sector managers 103 public services 4, 17, 62, 108, 112, 114 public spending 89 public wealth 18 ‘quantitative easing’ policy 59 quasi-basic income 89, 98 quasi-universal basic services 30 quasi-universal dividends 35 quasi-universal system 61, 70, 90 Randomised Control Trial (RCT) 124–5 n.14 rape 44 Ratcliffe, Jim 12 Reagan, Ronald 13 Reed, Howard 59 refugees 7 regressive universalism 57 regular cash payment 7 rent arrears 24 controls 53 rentier capitalism 13–21, 107, 116 n.22 republican freedom 2–3, 30, 84 Republicans 37 Resolution Foundation 10, 15, 19, 25, 76 ‘revenue neutral’ constraint 7 right-wing populism 37–8 robot advance 31–3 Royal College of Physicians 33 Royal Society of Arts 55, 59, 124 n.12 RSA Scotland 125 n.17 Rudd, Amber 9 Russia 113 138 Sanders, Bernie 101 scepticism 31 schooling 67, 89 Scotland 69, 80, 111 Second World War 19, 21 security 8, 38, 55, 68, 84 economic 3, 4, 49, 56 income 73–4 social 8, 22, 49 Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) 68 self-employment 45 Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 3, 115 n.3 Smith, Iain Duncan 42 ‘snake oil’ 113 social assistance 3, 28 social benefit 20 social care 102, 104, 110–11 social crisis 106 social dividend scheme 92 Social Fund 29 social inheritance 2 social insecurity 21 social insurance 22, 85 social integration 44 social justice 2, 8, 20, 69, 84, 101, 114 social policy 8, 23, 26, 30, 42, 53, 84–5, 96 social protection system 32 social relation 100 social security 10, 70–1, 95 social solidarity 3, 8, 39, 61, 84–5, 91 social spending 17 social status 104 social strife 35 social value 29 ‘something-for-nothing’ economy 19–20, 61 Index Speenhamland system 63 State of the Global Workplace surveys 105 statutory minimum wages 106 stigma 47, 55 stigmatization 41, 109 Stockton 97–9 Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) 97 stress 26–9, 39, 51, 67, 68, 85, 93 student loans 24 substitution effects 102–3 suicides 26–7 Summers, Larry 105–6 Sweden 113 Swiss bank Credit Suisse 12 Switzerland 35 tax advantages 49 and benefit systems 17, 18, 69, 110 credits 3, 17, 24, 63, 105, 106 policies 16 rates 72 reliefs 17–18, 57–8, 61 tax-free inheritance 19 technological change 105 technological revolution 14, 31, 114 ‘teething problems’ 42 Thatcher, Margaret 13 Thatcher government 9, 18 The Times 92 Torry, Malcolm 122 n.7 Trades Union Congress 24 tribal casino schemes 76 ‘triple-lock’ policy 16 Trump, Donald 37 Trussell Trust 29, 43 Tubbs, Michael 97–8 Index 139 Turner, Adair 123 n.15 two-child limit 44 UK.


pages: 348 words: 102,438

Green and Prosperous Land: A Blueprint for Rescuing the British Countryside by Dieter Helm

3D printing, Airbnb, barriers to entry, British Empire, clean water, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, digital map, facts on the ground, food miles, Haber-Bosch Process, illegal immigration, Internet of things, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, precision agriculture, quantitative easing, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, urban planning, urban sprawl

In national taxing and spending, this is the Treasury and the national budget.4 At the environmental level, the best way to entrench and manage the separation is in the creation of a Nature Fund. Looking after the future The helpful analogy here is with the sovereign wealth funds that many countries that are depleting non-renewable resources have set up. The poster example is Norway. It has abundant oil and gas that it is extracting now. These resources will run out, or if we decarbonise effectively, the market for them will fall away.5 It would be unfair for the current generation to reap all the benefits of the oil and gas production and for the next generation to get the global warming that results. It is a non-renewable resource. It can be used only once. So the Norwegians put the surplus economic rents into their sovereign wealth fund for the benefit of future generations.

See House of Commons Library, ‘Carbon Price Floor (CPF) and the Price Support Mechanism’, Briefing Paper, 8 January 2018, https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/­ResearchBriefing/­Summary/­SN05927. 3 It is small compared with Stamp Duty. There is an opportunity to reduce Stamp Duty and use some of the reduction for the compensation payments, therefore leaving the total cost constant to the house buyer (but not to the developer). 4 Even local taxation is determined to a considerable extent by the Treasury. 5 In Burn Out I explain how the oil price is likely to fall as decarbonisation takes effect. Helm, D., Burn Out: The Endgame for Fossil Fuels, London: Yale University Press, 2017. 6 www.nbim.no/­. 7 Stern, N., ‘The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review’, HM Treasury, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, January 2007. For my discussion of the objections to Stern’s approach to discounting, see Helm, D., The Carbon Crunch: How We’re Getting Climate Change Wrong – And How to Fix it, Revised and Updated, London: Yale University Press, 2015. 8 See Williams, B., Moral Luck, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. 9 Two versions of aggregate natural capital rules are set out in my book Natural Capital.


pages: 195 words: 52,701

Better Buses, Better Cities by Steven Higashide

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, autonomous vehicles, business process, congestion charging, decarbonisation, Elon Musk, Hyperloop, income inequality, intermodal, jitney, Lyft, mass incarceration, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, place-making, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, smart cities, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, young professional

Even so, Uber posts large losses every quarter; its rides are subsidized with billions of dollars in venture capital, even though its drivers are low-wage independent contractors.22 What so many private sector transportation innovators offer is not scalable mass mobility but boutique express service. Not surprisingly, Elon Musk envisions charging $25 to ride his Chicago electric skate. When it comes to decarbonizing transportation, we also need to look past technological magic bullets. Electric vehicles are a hugely needed solution, but climate scientists have repeatedly found that they are not sufficient on their own. California’s Air Resources Board found that even if every car in the state were electric, and 75 percent of the electricity came from renewable sources, driving would need to decline by 15 percent for the state to reach its climate goals.23 In Hawaii, a 100 percent electric vehicle policy will not be enough to end the state’s dependence on imported oil without complementary policies, including transit, that can convince people to drive less.24 Project Drawdown, one of the most comprehensive efforts to model the ability of different policies to reduce greenhouse gases, has concluded that the most immediate transportation priority in urban areas is not electric vehicle policy but maximizing the share of trips taken by bicycle and public transit.25 Government leaders can’t make a passive bet that the market will absolve them of responsibility.

But there is incredible new energy in the environmental movement, especially from young activists represented by groups such as the Sunrise Movement.21 They have influenced a new generation of Congress members such as Massachusetts’ Pressley and New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have injected climate change into the national agenda in a way I have not seen in years, under the banner of the “Green New Deal,” a blueprint for rapidly decarbonizing U.S. energy, transportation, buildings, agriculture, and industry.22 At its core is the idea that America must make its economy carbon-neutral, in ways that create well-paying jobs and repair historical oppression of marginalized communities. Doing this with urgency (whether by passing a Green New Deal or through some other legislation) requires, among many other things, enabling cities to provide first-class bus networks.


pages: 338 words: 104,684

The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People's Economy by Stephanie Kelton

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, central bank independence, collective bargaining, COVID-19, Covid-19, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, discrete time, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, floating exchange rates, Food sovereignty, full employment, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, liquidity trap, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Nixon shock, obamacare, open economy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, trade liberalization, urban planning, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yield curve, zero-sum game

Even major food importing countries with mostly desert climates can adopt a sustainable agriculture program by investing in more water efficient hydroponic and aquaponics food production. And even countries with no oil or natural gas reserves can adopt a renewable energy program by installing solar and wind farms, and by investing in energy efficiency for housing and transportation. And to the extent that we encourage a global effort to contain the effects of climate change, policies that help the developing world to decarbonize their economies not only lessens their dependency on US dollars to purchase fossil fuels, but also enhances global cooperative efforts to reduce harmful carbon emissions that continue to threaten our planet’s long-term survival. As long as most developing countries have to import basic necessities, they will remain “developing”—caught in a desperate scramble to acquire the currencies of the rich world.

One possibility might be that the federal government could allow electric utilities to sell to the government at book value any high-emission generator, no matter its age, in order to remove those costs from rates—a bit like the “cash for clunkers” program (Car Allowance Rebate System), which encouraged US residents to trade in their old, less-fuel-efficient vehicles for more-fuel-efficient ones, but aimed at grid decarbonization. This would free up private capital for a rapid transition to renewable energy and avoid burdening households and businesses with higher costs for electricity due to a change in public policy. The federal government could go further and increase funding for research and development and scaled-up deployment of energy storage technologies. The US could have the lowest electricity costs in the world while rapidly transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy.

In the United States, where we have an abundance of resources and labor, there is no reason we cannot embark on a policy agenda that results in provisioning our entire population with quality health services, providing each worker with adequate and appropriate advanced education and job training, upgrading our infrastructure to meet the demands of a low-carbon world, and ensuring adequate housing for everyone while redesigning our cities to be clean, beautiful, and nurturing of community spirit. We can be a global force for good, leading the way in decarbonization, providing assistance to countries with real needs, while ensuring our domestic economy thrives and no communities, from small towns to urban neighborhoods, are left behind. With the knowledge of how we can pay for it, it’s now in your hands to imagine and to help build the people’s economy. Acknowledgments I COULD NOT have written this book without the support and emotional encouragement of my husband, Paul Kelton.


pages: 133 words: 36,528

Peak Car: The Future of Travel by David Metz

autonomous vehicles, bike sharing scheme, Clayton Christensen, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Just-in-time delivery, low cost airline, Network effects, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, Skype, urban sprawl, yield management, young professional

Rail is not subject to traffic congestion, although route capacity is limited by safe operational headways, and carriages with uncontrolled entry can be uncomfortably overcrowded. There is scope for adding capacity by means of longer trains, better signalling and new track. The rail network as a whole can offer travel that is speedy, reliable, safe, secure, seamless, productive, and also sustainable, when, as is largely the case, electric traction is employed and when, in time, the electricity supply system is decarbonised. There are prospects for a considerable revival of rail travel, particularly in countries where there is an existing network that can be developed. Population growth and urbanisation result in larger, denser cities whose travel needs cannot be met by road transport. To be successful they must invest in rail‑based transport. Increased urban rail use reduces the need for car ownership and use, resulting in increased demand for inter‑urban rail travel.


pages: 433 words: 124,454

The Burning Answer: The Solar Revolution: A Quest for Sustainable Power by Keith Barnham

Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, carbon footprint, credit crunch, decarbonisation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Naomi Klein, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, uranium enrichment, wikimedia commons

Even Professor MacKay, another solar sceptic, has made calculations that, for the same assumptions as Leggett, are consistent with Leggett’s statement and with my own. Another example of Professor MacKay’s scepticism about renewable energy can be found in a memorandum he wrote for the House of Commons, Environmental Audit Committee in 2009. You can find the reference in the Bibliography. It was written in response to the question, ‘Is it technically possible to decarbonise Britain by 2050?’ MacKay predicts that by 2050 the UK will need a massive 70 GW of nuclear power, as large as France has currently. In contrast, MacKay’s prediction for PV is that expanding ‘at roughly the maximum rate I think is plausibly achievable’ there will be 7.5 GW of PV in the UK by 2050. Had MacKay looked to Germany for guidance on the expansion of PV as he looked to France for nuclear, his prediction would have been very different.

The fossil fuels that power our cars, trucks and aeroplanes make the next biggest contribution to global warming after electricity and heat generation. We urgently need to start making major reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by transport. So, before we look at my manifesto for the solar revolution, and consider how the revolution might develop round the globe, I want to introduce you to the existing technology, and the research and development of new technologies that can decarbonise our transport. One low carbon technology, the electric car, is already performing well. Some future developments, such as fuel cells, will encourage more people to use electric cars. Fuel cells will extend the range of the electric car and reduce the time spent refuelling them. We will also meet solar fuels and the challenge of producing them from carbon dioxide in the air and sunlight on our own rooftops.


pages: 501 words: 134,867

A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice by Tony Weis, Joshua Kahn Russell

addicted to oil, Bakken shale, bilateral investment treaty, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial exploitation, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, Deep Water Horizon, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, global village, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, immigration reform, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, liberal capitalism, LNG terminal, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, profit maximization, race to the bottom, smart grid, special economic zone, WikiLeaks, working poor

They have argued that this could be done through a strategy of carbon intensity (more output per unit of carbon emitted from fossil fuels burned), by “green growth” and a range of “market ecology” measures to shift consumer behaviour towards energy saving. On the other side, many Aboriginal nations and ecological and labour organizations have pushed for a transition to an “ecologically sustainable” economy built around “green” technologies, a renewable energy regime, and “green jobs” that would “de-carbonize” production processes. (For the Aboriginal nations, this also could involve reclamation, if on an entirely different foundation, of traditional territories and economies.) This could be accomplished, it is argued, through “Keynesian-style” public policies that build non-market institutions that embed and guide capitalist markets along a more sustainable and equitable growth path—in effect, an “institutional ecology.”3 For reasons of both theoretical clarity and the political injunction to address climate change, the varied strategies for “greening work” need dissection.

As noted above, this is set narrowly as retraining policies for workers as fossil fuel extraction is phased down and workers shift to indeterminate prospects elsewhere in the economy. Workers and communities adjust as the capitalist classes shift to value extraction in new “green” sectors. A more ambitious just transition would extend workers’ collective rights and point towards new socio-ecological relations21—that is, a militant rejection of the quantitative commodification of nature and life, for a transition to qualitative growth in de-carbonized and de-commodified sectors of production and work. Such an “eco-imaginary” is a rupture with the chase after “green jobs” in a thoroughly commodified society. It could inform specific interventions at the scale of workplaces and building workers’ collective capacities, such as: the incorporation of carbon-reduction strategies within collective agreements through clauses on reductions of the carbon footprint, energy committees, and adjustment plans for jobs affected by climate change; workers’ plans forged to extend best practices for carbon reduction in labour processes and between workplaces; building democratic planning capacities for plant conversion to sustain capital equipment, workers’ skills, and community infrastructure as ecologically responsible production norms are internalized; and participatory planning structures built at the level of local wards for carbon reduction and ecological clean-up in neighbourhoods.

The core left program is also strikingly carbon reducing in its implications: a sharp reduction in standard work time, to share out work and increase the time for democracy and self-management of workplaces; a shift from private to public transit in electrified systems tied to “transit justice” and “free fares”; the extension of de-commodified public spaces in terms of parks, museums, galleries, and other cultural and recreational spaces; the mass public expansion of the caring sectors; the universalization of free post-secondary education for all age groups; the dismantling of military production and mobilization of civil brigades for ecological restoration. These demands could easily be extended.26 They should be at the centre of any ecological justice movement. In practical outline, they present a possible future directly connecting a de-carbonized energy regime to quality-intensive, democratized work, and from there to the provisions of everyday life as social need. They are essential to overcoming the claims the neo-liberal period has had on our political imaginary, even in activist circles, and the claptrap of carbon markets and “greening growth.” Beyond Green Jobs An alternate agenda for the democratization of work, and over the production and supply of energy, is ecologically necessary and economically feasible.


pages: 258 words: 83,303

Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin

addicted to oil, air freight, banking crisis, big-box store, BRICs, business cycle, carbon footprint, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, energy security, food miles, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Just-in-time delivery, market clearing, megacity, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, profit maximization, reserve currency, South Sea Bubble, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, zero-sum game

The answer to that riddle lies with disaggregating world oil consumption regionally to see where oil demand has been coming from and, just as importantly, where it has not been coming from. Regional differences aren’t just important; they are absolutely critical to understanding what has been driving global oil consumption. Beneath the surface of seemingly robust growth in world crude demand over the last decade run two very divergent trends. While one part of the world is attempting to decarbonize its economies and wean itself off oil, the rest of the world is burning oil along with other hydrocarbons at a record pace. The global average is simply the netting out of two opposite forces. Where the demand for oil is the weakest is where historically it’s been the strongest. Whereas in the past, economists would have looked at North America and Western Europe to gauge the pace of world demand, now they need to consider the bustling energy demand from developing countries to determine that pace.

Just as oil consumption has peaked in the US, so too have US greenhouse gas emissions. Ironically, the US may ultimately yet comply with the Kyoto commitments it never signed on to. Emission reductions will be mandated not by legislation or international treaties, but by soaring fuel prices at the pumps and comparable increases in the price of jet fuel. A smaller world is a less carbon-intensive world. But the developed countries have not begun to decarbonize just by traveling less. They have done it by turning their backs on the fuel that set them up as industrial powers in the first place—coal. France, for example, gets about 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear generators, while Denmark and Germany are world leaders in renewables. The mix of nuclear and hydroelectric power in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec is particularly climate-friendly.


pages: 262 words: 83,548

The End of Growth by Jeff Rubin

Ayatollah Khomeini, Bakken shale, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, decarbonisation, deglobalization, energy security, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, flex fuel, full employment, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Hans Island, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, illegal immigration, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, McMansion, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

If they don’t, governments could squander billions implementing measures to help the environment that will ultimately prove unnecessary. The specter of climate change takes on a very different shape in a world of fuel abundance and robust economic growth than it does when fuel is scarce and economies are faltering. WHY EMISSIONS CONTROLS DON’T WORK To date, attempts to regulate emissions have been driven by a belief that we need to decarbonize our economies. Therefore, governments try to reduce fossil fuel consumption by putting a price on carbon emissions. Some countries do this through carbon taxes, while others try to control pollution using elaborate cap-and-trade systems, which involve shuffling around carbon credits. The rationale behind these policies is straightforward: make emitters pay for emissions and they’ll emit less.

Before that happens, however, higher energy prices are set to make emissions intensity targets even more superfluous than they are now. Indeed, triple-digit prices for oil and coal could relegate government emissions policies to the sidelines. WHERE WILL WE GET ALL THAT COAL? Higher energy prices will accomplish what politicians and environmentalists can’t: a permanent reduction in carbon emissions. Governments around the world have long thought that the path to a greener atmosphere begins with decarbonizing our energy systems—electricity generation in particular. Despite efforts to usher in more renewable power generation, however, the amount of carbon emitted per unit of electricity produced has actually increased by 6 percent globally in the last two decades. Even environmentally unfriendly coal still commands a 41 percent share of global power generation. Regardless, when it comes to reducing emissions, altering the energy mix by adding more renewable sources is a red herring.


pages: 182 words: 53,802

The Production of Money: How to Break the Power of Banks by Ann Pettifor

Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, clean water, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mobile money, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, The Chicago School, the market place, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail

Above all, it will require a great deal of finance, for example to transform the transport system, erect flood defences, retrofit ageing housing stock, or to make buildings more energy efficient. Such investment will, however, generate employment and other economic activity. Employment in turn will generate income with which to repay the credit or debt. The fact is that carefully managed and regulated public and private credit will help finance vital de-carbonising activities. The small, individual pools of money from savings accounts, credit unions or crowdfunding would be woefully insufficient for the Herculean task of transforming the economy away from fossil fuels. The ‘People’s QE’ and ‘helicopter money’ With the discovery that private banks can create money ex nihilo – out of thin air – came a simultaneous discovery: that central banks can do the same.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

That does not make the optimists right, but the poor track record of pessimists should at least give one pause. After all, we have been here before. ‘I want to stress the urgency of the challenge,’ said Bill Clinton once: ‘This is not one of the summer movies where you can close your eyes during the scary parts.’ He was talking not about climate change but about Y2K: the possibility that all computers would crash at midnight on 31 December 1999. Decarbonising the economy In short, a warmer and richer world will be more likely to improve the well-being of both human beings and ecosystems than a cooler but poorer one. As Indur Goklany puts it, ‘neither on grounds of public health nor on ecological factors is climate change likely to be the most important problem facing the globe this century.’ The results of thirteen economic analyses of climate change, assuming consensus amounts of warming, conclude that it will either add or subtract about one year of global economic growth in the second half of the twenty-first century.

Technology Review, November/December, 56–61. pp. 344–5 ‘Once solar panels can be mass-produced at $200 per square metre and with an efficiency of 12 per cent, they could generate the equivalent of a barrel of oil for about $30’. Ian Pearson, 8.9.08: http://www.futurizon.net/blog.htm. p. 345 ‘human energy use over the past 150 years as it migrated from wood to coal to oil to gas’. Ausubel, J.H. 2003. ‘Decarbonisation: the Next 100 Years’. Lecture at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 2003. http://phe.rockefeller.edu/PDF_FILES/oakridge.pdf. p. 346 ‘Jesse Ausubel predicts’. Ausubel, J.H. and Waggoner, P.E. 2008. Dematerialization: variety, caution and persistence. PNAS 105:12774–9. See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/science/earth/21tier.html. p. 346 ‘carbon-rich oceanic organisms called salps’.


pages: 417 words: 109,367

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Bailey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, phenotype, planetary scale, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, yield curve

In an April 16, 2014, article in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers sort through various climate sensitivity scenarios ranging from a low of 1.5° to a high of 6.0°C. They calculate that it would take another twenty years of temperature observations for us to be confident that climate sensitivity is on the low end and more than fifty years of data to confirm the high end of the projections. This ongoing controversy is important because lower climate sensitivity would mean that future warming will be slower, giving humanity more time to adapt and to decarbonize its energy production technologies. Higher climate sensitivity would mean the opposite. Ocean Acidification As the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the amount of carbonic acid is increased, thus making the ocean more acidic. As noted previously, the acidity of the surface waters of the oceans has increased by about 26 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

This is a Chinese menu of provisions that highlights just how much discord there is over global climate policy. For example, the draft offers several options with regard to setting a firm goal for greenhouse gas emissions cuts. Countries might agree to cut emissions to 40 to 70 percent below their 2010 levels by 2050; or cut them by 50 percent below their 1990s levels with a continued decline thereafter; or go for full decarbonization by 2050. Or rich countries could agree that their emissions will peak in 2015 and then aim for zero net emissions by 2050. The section on the financial resources to be provided to poor countries to help them to adapt to climate change and to pay for losses stemming from climate change suggests an annual floor of $100 billion in aid from rich countries; or, alternately, the agreement might not specify any amount of climate aid at all.


pages: 443 words: 112,800

The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World by Jeremy Rifkin

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, American ideology, barriers to entry, borderless world, carbon footprint, centre right, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate governance, decarbonisation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, global supply chain, hydrogen economy, income inequality, industrial cluster, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, knowledge economy, manufacturing employment, marginal employment, Martin Wolf, Masdar, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, urban planning, urban renewal, Yom Kippur War, Zipcar

Here was a man who had spent a lifetime at General Motors and was among a select few responsible for the company’s future car development, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. His response was quick and earnest: “Where do I sign up?” As our team finished its business in Monaco, packed up, and headed for the airport, my thoughts turned to whether the mecca that drew the rich and famous could be rebranded as the place where cutting-edge, high-tech sustainability became the new aesthetic standard for the world. “DECARBONIZING” UTRECHT If Monaco is all about play, Utrecht is all about work. Industrious by nature, entrepreneurial in spirit, and pragmatic to a fault, this small province, tucked into the hinterland of the Netherlands, is a no-nonsense place where business rules the day. The province is one of the fastest-growing regions in the European Union. Unemployment is low, the standard of living is relatively high, and the region boasts a world-class university, which makes it a critical hub in the European knowledge economy.

After the energy savings potential is quantified, the next step is to estimate the cost of retrofitting each of the structures. Once this information is available, it then becomes much clearer where the first investments should be made. With both the energy savings potential identified and the investment cost estimated, the only steps remaining are securing financing and vetting projects and proposals. The virtual, 3-D decarbonization model creates an online marketplace for energy. One of the largest barriers to residential retrofits is profitability. For this reason, energy services companies (ESCOs) mostly focus on large, commercial projects because they are more profitable, while the margin on a single house, by comparison, is very small. Energy information freely available to the public via the Internet, however, creates the potential for solutions at scale.


Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities by Vaclav Smil

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, agricultural Revolution, air freight, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, colonial rule, complexity theory, coronavirus, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, endogenous growth, energy transition, epigenetics, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Law of Accelerating Returns, longitudinal study, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, megastructure, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, optical character recognition, out of africa, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Republic of Letters, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, technoutopianism, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, yield curve

Taking temporarily high rates of annual exponential growth as indicators of future long-term developments is a fundamental mistake—but also an enduring habit that is especially favored by uncritical promoters of new devices, designs, or practices: they take early-stage growth rates, often impressively exponential, and use them to forecast an imminent dominance of emerging phenomena. Many recent examples can illustrate this error, and I have chosen the capacity growth of Vestas wind turbines, machines leading the shift toward the decarbonization of global electricity generation. This Danish maker began its sales with a 55 kW machine in 1981; by 1989 it had a turbine capable of 225 kW; a 600 kW machine was introduced in 1995; and a 2 MW unit followed in 1999. The best-fit curve for this rapid growth trajectory of the last two decades of the 20th century (five-parameter logistic fit with R2 of 0.978) would have predicted designs with capacity of nearly 10 MW in 2005 and in excess of 100 MW by 2015.

In contrast to the uninterrupted evolution of water-powered prime movers, there was no gradual shift from improved versions of traditional windmills to modern wind-powered machines. Steam-powered electricity generation ended the reliance on windmills in the early 20th century, but it was not until the 1980s that the first modern wind turbines were installed in a commercial wind farm in California. The subsequent development of these machines, aided both by subsidies and by the quest for the decarbonization of modern electricity generation, brought impressive design and performance advances as wind turbines have become a common (even dominant) choice for new generation capacity. Waterwheels The origins of waterwheels remain obscure but there is no doubt that the earliest use of water for grain milling was by horizontal wheels rotating around vertical axes attached directly to millstones. Their power was limited to a few kW and larger vertical wheels (Roman hydraletae), with millstones driven by right-angle gears, became common in the Mediterranean world at the beginning of the common era (Moritz 1958; White 1978; Walton 2006; Denny 2007).

Techno-optimists are convinced that technical fixes (those already emerging and those to come in the future in response to critical problems) will solve even seemingly intractable challenges. Anticipations of technical progress have been always affected by unrealistic expectations belonging to several categories of distinct errors. The combination of the early hype and of the replacement hype error is perhaps the most common, with recent cases including the claims of extraordinarily rapid decarbonization of global energy use and, perhaps most notably, the promise of a fourth industrial revolution “that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before” (Schwab 2016, 1). Impact errors are also common, as economic, environmental, and social aspects of new techniques and processes are underestimated or are naively portrayed as innocuous and easily manageable.


pages: 219 words: 61,720

American Made: Why Making Things Will Return Us to Greatness by Dan Dimicco

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American energy revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, carbon footprint, clean water, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, fear of failure, full employment, Google Glasses, hydraulic fracturing, invisible hand, job automation, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Loma Prieta earthquake, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration

That would lower the price of goods Americans buy, boost our competitive advantage with other countries, and create millions of jobs in the process. What’s not to like?” But in order for that to happen, the United States needs a new energy policy. DiMicco favors an “all of the above approach” that includes other energy resources, including wind and solar, but also nuclear power. But he doesn’t believe it’s feasible to “decarbonize” the U.S. economy anytime soon. Government can encourage all of this without picking winners and losers or taxing less-favored sources of energy out of existence. Spurring energy development must go hand in hand with revitalizing American manufacturing. As DiMicco explains in chapter 10, creating real wealth is the only path back to full employment. There are some signs of a manufacturing renaissance in the United States, owing to a growing disenchantment with China and the natural gas boom here at home.


pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

We already face the adverse consequences of a total accumulation of greenhouse gases amounting to over 430 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent – the loss of land‐based ecosystems, the desertification of the land and ocean surfaces, and the loss of polar ice; these act together in positive feedback and probably commit the Earth to irreversible heating. There may be no alternative but the direct use of the global cooling techniques discussed in Chapter 5 on geoengineering, including an attempt to massively decarbonize the atmosphere by burying charcoal. Whether or not these efforts succeed in cooling the Earth to its previous self‐regulating interglacial state, we have to prepare for failure by adaptation. The crux of it is that there are far too many of us living as we do – Paul and Ann Ehrlich said so forty years ago in their book The Population Bomb. But we did not listen. They tended to exaggerate, but their insight about the dangers of overpopulation was right.


The Techno-Human Condition by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel R. Sarewitz

airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, different worldview, facts on the ground, friendly fire, industrial cluster, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, prediction markets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, smart grid, source of truth, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Whole Earth Catalog

We have gone from technology as a particular artifact or machine that just does its job to understanding that it emerges from social systems and thus necessarily reflects, internalizes, and often changes power relations and cultural assumptions. We recognize that social systems are in reality techno-social systems, that these systems impose certain orders of behavior on our lives about which we have little choice, and that these systems lock in paths of dependency that make a mockery of human agency-just try decarbonizing the global energy system! Techno-social systems also make possible hierarchies of expertise, influence, and exploitation-who, today, can argue with an auto mechanic? We know that technological systems are now as complex, pervasive, and incomprehensible as natural systems; in fact we know that the distinction between technological and natural systems is no longer very meaningful. We know that the dependence of modern market economies on continual growth means that we have to keep inventing and consuming new technologies, whether we really Level I and Level II Technology 33 need them or not-indeed, it is not clear what "need" means in our modern framework, Abraham Maslow to the contrary.3 Moreover, this process of continual innovation, productivity enhancement, and economic growth leads to apparently unavoidable spasms of severe unemployment and socioeconomic disruption and transformation, along with the wealth creation that seems to have become an underpinning for civil stability.


pages: 424 words: 108,768

Origins: How Earth's History Shaped Human History by Lewis Dartnell

agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, clean water, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, Google Earth, Khyber Pass, Malacca Straits, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Pax Mongolica, peak oil, phenotype, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spice trade, supervolcano, trade route, transatlantic slave trade

Thus the oxygen-poor soil of the Carboniferous coal swamps and the sediment of the Cretaceous sea floor also locked up future acid rain.46 Burning fossil fuels has been like releasing a trapped genie: it granted us our seventeenth-century wish for virtually limitless energy, but has done so with mischievous malice for the unintended consequences further down the line. The challenge facing us now is to reverse the trend since the Industrial Revolution and once again decarbonise our economy. As we saw earlier in the chapter, throughout history, our intensification of agriculture and harvesting of woodland has enhanced the rate at which humanity could gather solar energy. This sunlight is transformed into nutrition for our bodies, as well as into the raw materials and fuel we need, and we learned how to harness mechanical power from the natural world with waterwheels and windmills.


pages: 379 words: 108,129

An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Leonard Kleinrock, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, off grid, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize

In a 2006 paper published in Science, François-Marie Bréon at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement suggested human aerosol emissions ‘may increase cloud cover by up to five per cent, resulting in a substantial net cooling of Earth’s atmosphere.’ Indeed, one technique proposed to offset global warming is a fleet of ‘cloud seeding ships’ that will scoop up seawater and force it through a system a bit like an inkjet printer to place tiny droplets of just the right size into the air, around which clouds can form. The argument is that more clouds could temporarily offset the heating effects of global warming, giving us longer to decarbonise our economies.* We also know that some aerosols can reflect sunlight away from the planet by themselves. In 1991, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines sent roughly twenty million tons of volcanic ash twelve miles high into the atmosphere and average global temperatures went down by about half a degree centigrade the following year. The ice across Hudson Bay melted almost a month later than normal, and polar bears, who feed and give birth on the ice, had a greater number of healthy cubs that summer (offspring dubbed ‘Pinatubo cubs’).


pages: 319 words: 75,257

Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy by David Frum

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-globalists, Bernie Sanders, centre right, coronavirus, currency manipulation / currency intervention, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, employer provided health coverage, illegal immigration, immigration reform, labor-force participation, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nate Silver, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QAnon, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley

They say that global warming is all the fault of evil energy companies and selfish plutocrats. “We have got to be super aggressive if we love our children and if we want to leave them a planet that is healthy and is habitable,” Senator Bernie Sanders said at the Democratic presidential debate in Detroit in July 2019. “What that means is we got to take on the fossil fuel industry.”21 Progressive Democrats united upon a plan for a Green New Deal that rapidly pivoted away from decarbonization to endorse state ownership of industries, government-guaranteed unionized jobs, and a proliferation of committees of “frontline and vulnerable communities” to “plan, implement, and administer” the spending of government clean-energy money, all while protecting “every business person” from “unfair competition.”22 Climate is a summons to human reason and problem solving. The rusted-out Marxism that so miserably failed to solve the twentieth-century challenge of housing, clothing, and feeding human beings will equally miserably fail to solve the twenty-first-century challenge of preserving a livable environment for human beings.


pages: 693 words: 204,042

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

availability heuristic, back-to-the-land, Black-Scholes formula, Burning Man, central bank independence, creative destruction, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, decarbonisation, East Village, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, income inequality, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, liquidity trap, Mason jar, mass immigration, megastructure, microbiome, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, the built environment, too big to fail

People stopped burning carbon much faster than they thought they could before the First Pulse. They closed that barn door the very second the horses had gotten out. The four horses, to be exact. Too late, of course. The global warming initiated before the First Pulse was baked in by then and could not be stopped by anything the postpulse people could do. So despite “changing everything” and decarbonizing as fast as they should have fifty years earlier, they were still cooked like bugs on a griddle. Even tossing a few billion tons of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere to mimic a volcanic eruption and thus deflect a fair bit of sunlight, depressing temperatures for a decade or two, which they did in the 2060s to great fanfare and/or gnashing of teeth, was not enough to halt the warming, because the relevant heat was already deep in the oceans, and it wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, no matter how people played with the global thermostat imagining they had godlike powers.

Average weight loss for adults worldwide through the late 2070s amounted to several kilos, less in the prosperous countries where it was sometimes welcomed as a diet that worked (at last), more in developing countries where the kilos were not there to be lost, except to death. So this incident forced the governments of the world to refocus attention not just on agriculture, which they did posthaste, but also on land use more generally, meaning civilization’s technological base, meaning, as a first order of business, what got called rapid decarbonization. Which meant even some interference with market forces, oh my God! And so the closing of the barn door began in earnest, and the sophisticates advocating adaptation slid away and found other hip causes with which to demonstrate their brilliance. At that point, as it turned out, despite the chaos and disorder engulfing the biosphere, there were a lot of interesting things to try to latch that barn door closed.


The Ages of Globalization by Jeffrey D. Sachs

Admiral Zheng, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, Columbian Exchange, Commentariolus, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, domestication of the camel, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, European colonialism, global supply chain, greed is good, income per capita, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, packet switching, Pax Mongolica, precision agriculture, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, South China Sea, spinning jenny, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons

That so-called demographic transition would lead to a peaking of the world population in this century of perhaps 9 billion, a faster reduction in poverty, and far less adverse stress on the natural environment than if the world population continues to rise throughout the century to more than 10 billion. 9.2 Low, Medium and High Fertility Projections Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019). World Population Prospects 2019, Online Edition Social-Democratic Ethos The 193 UN member states are pursuing sustainable development with widely varying degrees of consistency and commitment. Some countries are on track to achieve most or all of the SDGs, including the decarbonization of their energy systems and reduced levels of inequality. Others continue on the path of highly polluting fossil fuels and growing inequality. An examination of the relative progress and commitment of different countries can provide evidence of “what works” to achieve the SDGs. The countries in the global forefront of achieving the SDGs are the countries of northern Europe. In 2019, the ranking of countries according to SDG progress showed that the world’s top five countries were Denmark, Sweden, Finland, France, and Austria.2 Interestingly, the 2019 rankings of countries by their self-reported levels of life satisfaction (“subjective wellbeing”) were similar: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands.3 Indeed, when we compare the full rankings of SDG achievement and the rankings of life satisfaction, we find a strong degree of correlation, with the countries of northern Europe at the top of both sets of world rankings.


pages: 330 words: 91,805

Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism by Robin Chase

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Andy Kessler, banking crisis, barriers to entry, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business climate, call centre, car-free, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, congestion charging, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, decarbonisation, different worldview, do-ocracy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Ferguson, Missouri, Firefox, frictionless, Gini coefficient, hive mind, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, openstreetmap, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Turing test, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Zipcar

It would be hard for either companies or individuals to hide from a global carbon tax, particularly if the tax was collected at the point where the carbon was mined or drilled rather than at the point of use. Using the revenues from a global carbon tax to protect and reinvest in the environment, as well as provide for national basic incomes, could compensate for damage to the environment we all share. This would set up the right system of incentives for rapidly decarbonizing the global economy while giving ordinary people the economic freedom and support that they need to be genuinely productive in this new world of ours. What could be better? * * * Next up, more revolutionary ideas: how Peers Inc could democratize power. As Cory Ondrejka, former vice president of engineering at Facebook, asked me: “What is the role of corporations and governments in a world where individuals have superpowers?”


pages: 372 words: 94,153

More From Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources – and What Happens Next by Andrew McAfee

back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, humanitarian revolution, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, Landlord’s Game, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, precision agriculture, profit maximization, profit motive, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, World Values Survey

In addition to interacting with governments to make them more responsive to good ideas, individuals and families have two other levers for bringing about change: their spending and their personal activities. As we saw earlier in this chapter, businesses are increasingly sensitive about their contributions to global warming. In the future we’ll see more companies launch efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, households will have more ways to determine which of these efforts are most sincere and effective. This will allow them to reward decarbonizers by buying their goods and services. Strong evidence suggests that efforts to highlight good corporate behavior and socially responsible business practices work. Economists Raluca Dragusanu and Nathan Nunn studied the effects of Fair Trade certification on coffee growers in Costa Rica from 1999 to 2014. The Fair Trade label certifies (among other things) that producers are treating their workers according to a set of standards and that the companies that buy from them are paying above-market prices that can never fall below a minimum level.


pages: 457 words: 128,640

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain From the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge

Ada Lovelace, British Empire, decarbonisation, garden city movement, high net worth, invisible hand, Louis Pasteur, new economy, period drama, Ralph Waldo Emerson, social web, Thorstein Veblen, traveling salesman, women in the workforce

Looking back at his butlering glory days in the late nineteenth century, he missed the ‘gaily caparisoned horses’ of the past and found the people of the 1920s worn down by speed and ‘hurry and scurry’; he even speculated that marriages were breaking down, the old order of discretion rotting from within, now that a chauffeur could be kept waiting for hours while his master or mistress conducted assignations.4 But at Rectory Farm House, the new automobile was a great source of enjoyment to Alice and Daphne. Alice’s entries are full of details about the car, its ‘de-carbonisation’ problems and its too-long spells spent in the garage for repairs. Most pleasurably of all, she records the two of them, Daph and Obbs, motoring all over the country visiting friends, shopping in Maidenhead, collecting weekend visitors from the station, driving to Brighton. Daphne plays tennis, goes to house parties and to London (unchaperoned), and takes part in charity theatricals put on by her friend Imogen Grenfell at Taplow Court.


pages: 337 words: 103,273

The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring on the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World by Paul Gilding

airport security, Albert Einstein, Bob Geldof, BRICs, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, Climategate, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, decarbonisation, energy security, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fear of failure, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Joseph Schumpeter, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, nuclear winter, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, University of East Anglia

Many analyses focus on the cost of all this change and wonder how we can afford it, especially if the economy is struggling at the time we choose to act. What they’re not taking into account is the similarly breathtaking opportunities to save money through energy efficiency, perhaps one of the most exciting areas of short-term opportunity for investors in this whole space. The IEA’s current estimates suggest that the economic benefits of energy efficiency will be significantly greater than all the costs of the investments required to start decarbonizing the energy system. Their assessment suggests that from now to 2050, the incremental investment required to reduce emissions by 50 percent is around $46 trillion, with a major focus on energy efficiency. It sounds like a lot until you consider that resulting fuel cost savings of $112 trillion delivers a net economic benefit of around $66 trillion. Even discounted at 10 percent, this means a net savings today of $8 trillion.7 So again we see that the actual action required isn’t hard or expensive, it’s the decision to get on with the job that seems to be challenging.


pages: 389 words: 98,487

The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor, and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car by Tim Harford

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business cycle, collective bargaining, congestion charging, Corn Laws, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, information asymmetry, invention of movable type, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, market design, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, new economy, Pearl River Delta, price discrimination, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, Shenzhen was a fishing village, special economic zone, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, Vickrey auction

This would cause no problems: the same emissions take place in the end but are delayed. If • 99 • T H E U N D E R C O V E R E C O N O M I S T it turned out that the permits were expensive, then we would have the information for an informed debate. We could ask if the costs of climate change were worse than the cost of emission reduction. But many economists believe that, like sulfur permits in California, the carbon permits would quickly reveal that decar-bonization is cheaper than we expected, and we will wonder why we took so long to start. Is the environment too important to be a moral issue? “How did you travel here today?” “I’m sorry?” I’m puzzled. Here I am, going to a panel discussion organized by an environmental charity, and a very earnest young member of staff is grilling me before I even get past the door of the lecture hall. “How did you travel here today?


pages: 398 words: 100,679

The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch by Lewis Dartnell

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, clean water, Dava Sobel, decarbonisation, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, global village, Haber-Bosch Process, invention of movable type, invention of radio, invention of writing, iterative process, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, lone genius, low earth orbit, mass immigration, nuclear winter, off grid, Richard Feynman, technology bubble, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route

The innovation that really made possible the later stages of the Industrial Revolution was a means for easily transforming blast-furnace pig iron into steel. In terms of carbon content, steel lies in between pure wrought iron (usually less than .01 percent carbon) and brittle pig or cast iron (3–4 percent carbon): from about 0.2 percent carbon for tough steel for machine gears or structural members, to about 1.2 percent for particularly hard steel for ball bearings or the cutting tools of your lathes. So how do you decarbonize pig iron? The Bessemer converter is a giant pear-shaped bucket, lined with refractory bricks and mounted on pivots so it can be tipped. The vessel is charged with molten pig iron, and then air is pumped in through holes in the bottom, not unlike the action of a bubbling aquarium aerator. The excess carbon reacts with the oxygen and escapes as carbon dioxide gas, and other impurities are also oxidized and scrubbed out into the slag.


pages: 349 words: 98,868

Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason by William Davies

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, citizen journalism, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, Colonization of Mars, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, credit crunch, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, Filter Bubble, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gig economy, housing crisis, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mutually assured destruction, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, post-industrial society, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Turing machine, Uber for X, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Valery Gerasimov, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

10 The alternative to “fighting back” is to accept temperatures 2°C or more above pre-industrial levels, something that—in addition to the submergence of many coastal cities beneath water—would render current global levels of agricultural production impossible. Fighting back is therefore essential. The Climate Mobilization is an environmental advocacy group that seeks to draw together lessons from the Second World War to consider how a rapid decarbonization of the economy might work in practice. They point to the way car manufacturers rapidly retooled to become arms manufacturers to demonstrate that widespread “mobilization”—including divestments and reinvestments—is possible. Such action does require vast levels of state intervention, of up to 45% of total GDP (US defense spending peaked in 1944 at 44% of GDP). The Climate Mobilization claims that, unlike the Second World War, there would be no violence or “dehumanizing propaganda” in this war.


pages: 471 words: 109,267

The Verdict: Did Labour Change Britain? by Polly Toynbee, David Walker

banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, call centre, central bank independence, congestion charging, Corn Laws, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Etonian, failed state, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, high net worth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, market bubble, mass immigration, millennium bug, moral panic, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, Right to Buy, shareholder value, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, working-age population, Y2K

Labour was on course to meet its target of achieving 12 per cent growth in bus and light rail use in England by 2010, but only because the number of bus journeys was increasing in London (which accounted for 44 per cent of bus use in England). Elsewhere, bus use kept falling. A ‘carbon-conscious’ government would have joined buses, cars and trains to land use, planning and housing, both the existing stock and homes yet to be built. Instead, Labour made only desultory efforts to decarbonize new housing. From 2007 stamp duty would not be payable on new dwellings worth up to half a million that had a zero carbon rating – a standard for the building materials and use of solar panels. Two years later only twenty-four homes hitting that target were sold. On what households threw out, Labour made some progress. Here, again, it is too easy to blame the politicians. Households did not need government to tell them to recycle; consumers could insist on less packaging.


pages: 431 words: 107,868

The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future by Levi Tillemann

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, car-free, carbon footprint, cleantech, creative destruction, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demand response, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, factory automation, global value chain, hydrogen economy, index card, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, manufacturing employment, market design, megacity, Nixon shock, obamacare, oil shock, Ralph Nader, RFID, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, smart cities, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, too big to fail, Unsafe at Any Speed, zero-sum game, Zipcar

To thrive in a field of twenty-first-century leviathans, America will have to formulate a more coherent national mission; we will have to renew and reengineer the building blocks of our economy and politics; we will have to evolve into a new industrial species; but we will also have to trade, cooperate, and work with others. The world is on the cusp of a physical revolution that could make our roads safe, clean, fast, and efficient—and could free our society from the shackles of oil. We simply need to reach out and grasp it. These changes are part of a broader transformation and decarbonization of the global economy in the twenty-first century that is in fact quite urgent. In this sense, victory in the Great Race, and in the $70 trillion global economy, is not a zero-sum game—at least not necessarily. At the end of the day, this sprint to build the car of the future is a race we all run together. That “we” is not only Americans, Japanese, and Chinese, but all of humanity and life on earth itself.


pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour: How 500 Million Commuters Survive the Daily Journey to Work by Iain Gately

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, corporate raider, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, global pandemic, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, low skilled workers, Marchetti’s constant, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Differences between projections and the truth wouldn’t have been quite so great if foreign telecommuters had been included in domestic counts. Advocates of virtual commuting overlooked the impact of globalization on their dream, and its unintended consequence of outsourcing, in the sense of sending jobs overseas. Employers in both the EU and the USA, obedient to the letter if not the spirit of pro-telework legislation, decarbonized (and gave their ex-workers more social time) by Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), i.e. relocating their call centres and sundry other corporate functions to Asia. In consequence, a Westerner looking to telecommute in their own country would be best advised to emigrate to India, Mexico, Bangladesh or some other developing nation, where literacy is high and talk is cheap. India, for example, is home to as many British telecommuters as actually live in the UK.


pages: 543 words: 147,357

Them And Us: Politics, Greed And Inequality - Why We Need A Fair Society by Will Hutton

Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low cost airline, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, money market fund, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, zero-sum game, éminence grise

National rejuvenation demands a vibrant democracy that empowers the government of the day to take on incumbent elites and monopolists and build a powerful, legitimate national narrative. Fortunately, the new coalition government seems to appreciate this, and has already outlined its commitment to political reform. The rest of the world is confronting multiple challenges too. Growth must be progressively decarbonised to limit atmospheric concentrations of ‘CO2 equivalent’ to 450 parts per million, a level that is believed to be consistent with a global average temperature increase of about two degrees centigrade. During the 2010s the foundations will be laid of an economy and society that must burn fewer fossil fuels and generate a lower carbon footprint. A start must be made on transforming the civilisation that was built on the car, the suburb and cheap individual mobility.


pages: 504 words: 143,303

Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, land value tax, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

At the same time fierce competition between companies to maximise profit pressures firms into producing more with a given number of employees. If they can’t keep up with rivals, they go out of business. A capitalist economy in which consumption, particularly of energy, levels off and ‘enough is enough’ is an impossibility. Green growth in the rich countries of the world is a pipe dream. The idea that once we get over the financial crisis and annual compound growth resumes at 2–3% per annum we can decarbonise the economy is absurd. Carbon-capture technology is still in the experimental phase. ‘Geoengineering’ projects, such as cloud seeding or putting giant reflectors in space or fertilising the oceans to absorb more CO2 are hugely risky, and only encourage governments to stall on CO2 reduction. So is there another way out of the double crisis? Reduced consumption: sufficiency? For the rich countries at least, not growth but zero growth or even ‘de-growth’ are likely to be the only feasible ways of cutting greenhouse gases fast enough to stop runaway global warming, and that of course would mean more modest consumption, including reduced mobility, particularly for the rich and well-off.


pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, lateral thinking, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, working-age population, Y2K

Pronuclear public opinion in England went from below 5 percent to over 40 percent. In a reversal of previous policy, the government is planning ten new reactors to replace and add to the nineteen reactors that currently provide 20 percent of England’s electricity. Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, convened a pioneering conference on climate change back in 1979. He originated the idea of decarbonization, noting the two-hundred-year trend of humans using fuels with ever fewer carbon atoms—wood to coal to oil to gas, down to zero carbon with hydrogen and nuclear. In 2007 he published a paper in the International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology in which he declared, “Nuclear energy is green. Renewables are not green.” His argument was based on footprint analysis. “As a Green,” he wrote, “I care intensely about land-sparing, about leaving land for Nature. . . .


pages: 389 words: 119,487

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon-based life, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deglobalization, Donald Trump, failed state, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Freestyle chess, gig economy, glass ceiling, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invisible hand, job automation, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, obamacare, pattern recognition, post-work, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, transatlantic slave trade, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

., ‘Monitoring EU Emerging Infectious Disease Risk Due to Climate Change’, Science 336:6080 (2012), 418–19; Frank Biermann and Ingrid Boas, ‘Preparing for a Warmer World: Towards a Global Governance System to Protect Climate Change’, Global Environmental Politics 10:1 (2010), 60–88; Jeff Goodell, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2017); Mark Lynas, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (Washington: National Geographic, 2008); Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014); Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction, op. cit. 10 Johan Rockström et al., ‘A Roadmap for Rapid Decarbonization’, Science 355:6331, 23 March 2017. 11 Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not (London: Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 2013), 12. 12 Paul Shapiro, Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World (New York: Gallery Books, 2018). 13 ‘Russia’s Putin Says Climate Change in Arctic Good for Economy’, CBS News, 30 March 2017; Neela Banerjee, ‘Russia and the US Could be Partners in Climate Change Inaction,’ Inside Climate News, 7 February 2017; Noah Smith, ‘Russia Wins in a Retreat on Climate Change’, Bloomberg View, 15 December 2016; Gregg Easterbrook, ‘Global Warming: Who Loses—and Who Wins?’


pages: 420 words: 124,202

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention by William Rosen

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, barriers to entry, collective bargaining, computer age, Copley Medal, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, delayed gratification, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flynn Effect, fudge factor, full employment, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, iterative process, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, moral hazard, Network effects, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Simon Kuznets, spinning jenny, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, zero-sum game, éminence grise

This kind of iron—pig iron, supposedly named because the relatively narrow channels emerging from the much wider smelter resembled piglets suckling—is so brittle, however, that it is only useful after being poured into forms usually made of loam, or clay. Those forms could be in the shape of the final iron object, and quite a few useful items could be made from the cast iron so produced. They could also, and even more usefully, be converted into wrought iron by blowing air over heated charcoal and pig iron, which, counterintuitively, simultaneously consumed the carbon in both fuel and iron, “decarbonizing” it to the <1 percent level that permitted shaping as wrought iron (this is known as the “indirect method” for producing wrought iron). The Cistercians had been doing so from about 1300, but they were, in global terms, latecomers; Chinese iron foundries had been using these techniques two thousand years earlier. Controlling the process that melted, and therefore hardened, iron was an art form, like cooking on a woodstove without a thermostat.


Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, Corn Laws, coronavirus, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy transition, failed state, Gary Taubes, global value chain, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, land tenure, Live Aid, LNG terminal, long peace, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, renewable energy transition, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Y2K

Projected Costs of Generating Electricity, 2015 Edition, International Energy Agency, Nuclear Energy Agency, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2015, https://www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/pubs/2015/7057-proj-costs-electricity-2015.pdf. The cost of generating electricity is designated as the sum of operations and maintenance, fuel, waste, and carbon costs. 29. Mark Nelson et al., “Power to Decarbonize,” Environmental Progress, 2017, last updated 2019, accessed October 24, 2019, http://environmentalprogress.org/the-complete-case-for-nuclear. Updated in 2019, in both cases using BP Energy Data for electricity production and Bloomberg New Energy Finance data for wind and solar investment volume. 30. U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Disposal of High-Level Nuclear Waste,” GAO, accessed January 31, 2020, https://www.gao.gov/key_issues/disposal_of_highlevel_nuclear_waste/issue_summary. 31.


India's Long Road by Vijay Joshi

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Basel III, basic income, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, central bank independence, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Doha Development Round, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, financial intermediation, financial repression, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, Induced demand, inflation targeting, invisible hand, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, obamacare, Pareto efficiency, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, school choice, school vouchers, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, smart cities, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, universal basic income, urban sprawl, working-age population

Naturally, one of the country’s aims is to achieve universal access to electricity. But electricity in India is mostly coal-​based and thus highly carbon-​intensive. How should this circle be squared? A detailed discussion of the policies that India should follow would require a whole book on its own but the essential elements are clear enough. The crux of the matter is that growth has to be decarbonized, for which the critical policy requirement is to raise the price of carbon. The ideal policy would be a carbon tax that rises over time (coal as the dirtiest fuel would pay the highest tax).45 Raising the price of carbon would signal to every consumer and producer that carbon-​intensive goods and services should be used more sparingly. Just as important, it would provide a strong incentive for technical progress in developing ‘clean’ low-​ carbon products and processes.


pages: 470 words: 148,730

Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, basic income, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, charter city, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, experimental subject, facts on the ground, fear of failure, financial innovation, George Akerlof, high net worth, immigration reform, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, land reform, loss aversion, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open economy, Paul Samuelson, place-making, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, smart meter, social graph, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, urban sprawl, very high income, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y2K

The Stern Review16 optimistically concludes: Yet despite the historical pattern and the business as usual projections, the world does not need to choose between averting climate change and promoting growth and development. Changes in energy technologies and the structure of economies have reduced the responsiveness of emissions to income growth, particularly in some of the richest countries. With strong, deliberate policy choices, it is possible to “decarbonize” both developed and developing economies on the scale required for climate stabilization, while maintaining economic growth in both. Amen to this. Still, it would not quite be free. The Stern report concludes that, assuming a rate of technological progress in the “green sector” based on extrapolating from recent history, it would cost about 1 percent of world GDP annually to stabilize emissions at the level necessary to stave off global warming.


pages: 513 words: 152,381

The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity by Toby Ord

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, availability heuristic, Columbian Exchange, computer vision, cosmological constant, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, defense in depth, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Ernest Rutherford, global pandemic, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, p-value, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, survivorship bias, the scientific method, uranium enrichment

It is entirely possible that the permafrost melting and methane clathrate release are overblown and will make a negligible contribution to warming. Or that they will make a catastrophically large contribution. More research on these two feedbacks would be extremely valuable. Feedbacks aren’t the only way to get much more warming than we expect. We may simply burn more fossil fuels. The IPCC models four main emissions pathways, representing scenarios that range from rapid decarbonization of the economy, through to what might happen in the absence of any concern about the environmental impact of our emissions. The amount we will emit based on current policies has been estimated at between 1,000 and 1,700 Gt C (gigatons of carbon) by the year 2100: around twice what we have emitted so far.69 I hope we refrain from coming anywhere close to this, but it is certainly conceivable that we reach this point—or that we emit even more.


pages: 944 words: 243,883

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll

addicted to oil, anti-communist, Atul Gawande, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, call centre, carbon footprint, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, energy security, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, kremlinology, market fundamentalism, McMansion, medical malpractice, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart meter, statistical model, Steve Jobs, WikiLeaks

Early in 2011, the research group Climate Central, working from BP forecasts about future energy demand, calculated that stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations by 2050 at five hundred parts per million (about a quarter higher than current levels) would require reducing average emissions per unit of energy used in the world by 4.2 percent per year. The analysts noted, “The highest previously recorded rate of decarbonization in a country probably took place in France between 1975 and 1990, when that country’s nuclear power system expanded very rapidly,” and yet even in that extreme instance, France’s emissions fell by only 2.6 percent annually.29 The numbers argue that global warming on a scale scientists describe today as dangerous will occur. On July 1, 2011, ExxonMobil’s Silvertip pipeline, running from Wyoming to the corporation’s refinery in Billings, Montana, sprang a leak and poured about 1,000 barrels of oil into the majestic Yellowstone River.


pages: 1,373 words: 300,577

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin

"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

The biggest question is climate change and carbon. Over 80 percent of world energy continues to be supplied by what Carnot called the “combustibles”—carbon-based fuels. About 75 to 80 percent of world energy is expected to be carbon based two decades from now. The growing importance of the climate change question ensures that this ratio will be strongly challenged both politically and technologically as people strive to decarbonize energy. While climate is the mega-issue, many other environmental questions will affect supply. Coal—the source of 40 percent of world electricity—is challenged about other emissions. Two of the most important innovations that are particularly important to energy security—oil sands, and shale gas, and tight oil—encounter determined opposition. Some seek changes in how these supplies are produced; some do not want them produced at all.