energy transition

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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

But the endeavor will take on greater urgency as public opinion becomes more aroused and new policies seek to implement “net zero carbon.” All this takes us to the “Energy Transition”: the shift from the world of today, which depends on oil, natural gas, and coal for more than 80 percent of its energy—just as it did thirty years ago—to a world that increasingly operates on renewables. The Paris Agreement of 2015 galvanized the march toward a lower carbon future. Indeed, in terms of energy and climate, there are two distinct eras: “Before Paris” and “After Paris.” 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.

Or a “net zero carbon” system, in which emissions are canceled out by mechanisms that absorb the carbon? There is certainly no consensus as to the speed of the transition, nor as to what the transition will look like decades from now, nor as to the cost—nor as to how it is all to be achieved. Energy transitions are not new. They have been going on for a long time and unfold over time. Previous energy transitions have primarily been driven by technology, economics, environmental considerations, and convenience and ease. The current one has politics, policy, and activism more mixed in. The first energy transition began in Britain in the thirteenth century with the shift from wood to coal. Rising populations and destruction of forests made wood scarce and expensive, and coal came to be used for heating in London, despite fumes and smell. The need for coal for warmth became more urgent during Europe’s several-century-long Little Ice Age, from which the world has since warmed.

., 47 and China’s development of petroleum resources, 160 and current geopolitical challenges, 427 and Eastern Mediterranean petroleum resources, 254–57 and electric vehicles, 341 and energy transition in the developing world, 408–9 and energy transition in U.S., xv and gas supplies to Europe, 84–89 and Nixon administration, 53 and opposition to Russian gas exports, 109 and politics of U.S. shale production, 55 and Russia-Europe relations, 83 and South China Sea tensions, 171 and varied approaches to climate change, 412–13 “energy superpower” status, xv, 57, 70–71 Energy Transfer Partners, 49, 51 energy transition and breakthrough energy technologies, 403–6 and carbon capture technology, 419 and current global challenges, xiii–xx, 427–29 and developing world, 407–10 emerging consensus on climate issues, 382–87 and “green deal” proposals, 388–91, 391–93 historical perspective on, 377–79 and IPCC, 379–80 and Paris climate agreement, 380–82 and push for renewable energy sources, 394, 400–401 and U.S. position, xv and varied approaches to climate change, 412 Eni, 256 environmental issues and activism and American shale gas reserves, 113 and Fukushima nuclear disaster, 87 and global power politics, xiii and hydraulic fracturing, 28–29 and indoor air pollution in developing countries, 407–8 and opposition to pipeline projects, 46–51 and U.S. transition to LNG exporter, 37 See also carbon emissions; climate change Environmental Defense Fund, 28–29 EOG, 14–17 Erbil, Kurdistan, 232 Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip, 247, 305, 315 ESPO pipeline, 118 Estonia, 69 EU Council, 102 Eurasian Economic Union, 92, 93, 189 Europe and China Belt and Road Initiative, 182, 184 and Eastern Mediterranean petroleum resources, 258 and impact of U.S. shale and LNG, 38, 55, 61–62 and push for renewable energy sources, 398–99 See also European Union (EU); specific countries European Central Bank, 187 European Commission, 388–90 European Union (EU) and energy security issues in Europe, 85–88 and energy transition challenges, 381 and “green deal” proposals, 388–91 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline, 102, 104, 108–9 and Russian annexation of Crimea, 95 and Russian gas supplies to Europe, 85 and Russian geopolitical ambitions, 70, 115 and Russia-Ukraine tensions, 93 and Syrian refugees, 248 Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and territorial waters, 142–45, 148, 159, 170, 257 extraterritoriality, 108, 139 ExxonMobil, 15, 65, 76, 395 Fabius, Laurent, 381 Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 214 Faisal I, King of Iraq, 198–200, 202–3 Falcon rockets, 332 Farouk I, King of Egypt, 203 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 103 financial crisis of 2008, 26–27, 333, 429 Financial Stability Board, 385 Financial Times, 113, 273 financing for energy projects and China Belt and Road Initiative, 182–83 and “green recovery” proposals, 428 and push for renewable energy sources, 397, 400–401 and Russian interests in Central Asia, 125–26 and Russian LNG, 112 Fink, Larry, 385 First Opium War, 139 First Sino-Japanese War, 154 5G technology, 175, 354 “flight shaming,” 387, 415 Ford, Bill (and Ford Motor Company), 329, 338, 346, 351, 369–70, 373 Ford, Henry, 372–73 Fort Laramie Treaty, 49 Fracking Debate, The (Raimi), 28 France, 138, 195–96, 201–2, 227, 232, 247, 343 Freeport LNG facility, 24, 35–37, 38 Free Syrian Army (FSA), 244 Fukushima nuclear accident, 63, 87, 401, 430 G7, 129 G8, 129 G20, 129, 280, 319–20, 388, 426 Gadhafi, Muammar, 239 Gadkari, Nitin, 342 Gaidar, Yegor, 73 gasoline and Auto-Tech advances, 368, 370–72 and “clean diesel,” 335 and consumer behaviors, 421 Mexican imports, 41, 43 and oil embargo of 1973, 53–54 and oil price war, 316–17, 323 and pipeline battles in U.S., 47 Gates, Bill, 315, 385–86 Gates, Robert, 237–38 Gaza, 253 Gazprom, 76, 80, 86, 89, 105, 107–8, 109, 125 Geely, 338 General Motors, 171, 329, 333–34, 369 Georges-Picot, François, 194–95, 196–98, 201–2 Georgia (country), 82 Germany and “clean diesel,” 336 economic growth before World War I, 132 and energy security issues in Europe, 86–88 and energy transition challenges, xix and global order after First World War, 200 and Iranian nuclear ambitions, 223, 227 and Khashoggi affair, 305–6 and Nord Stream 2 pipeline, 102, 104–5, 107–8 and push for renewable energy sources, 395–96, 400–401 and Russia’s “pivot to the east,” 117 and Syrian refugees, 248 and the Thucydides Trap, 131, 154 and U.S.


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

(Secondary energies, by contrast, are things like electricity, kerosene, hydrogen, LPG, and gasoline, which must be made from primary energies.) Throughout the next summer, Marchetti and a colleague inputted data from three hundred cases of energy transitions from around the world. The transitions were from wood to coal, whale oil to petroleum, coal to oil, and many other combinations. “I could not believe my eyes,” he wrote, “but it worked.”44 He added, “The whole destiny of an energy source seems to be completely predetermined in the first childhood.”45 The study of what we today call energy transitions was born. Wars, big changes in energy prices, and even depressions, Marchetti found, had no effect on the rate of energy transition. “It is as though the system had a schedule, a will, and a clock,” he wrote.46 Older histories emphasized the role of scarcity in raising prices and stimulating innovation, such as how Europeans had to import wood from increasingly distant forests, making it more expensive, and the newcomer fuel, coal, relatively cheaper.47 But Marchetti found that “the market regularly moved away from a certain primary energy source, long before it was exhausted, at least at world level.”48 While scarcity helps incentivize entrepreneurs like Drake’s investors to create alternatives, it is often rising economic growth and rising demand for a specific energy service, like lighting, transportation, heat, or industry, that allows fossil fuels to replace renewables, and oil and gas to replace coal.

It was petroleum’s abundance and superior power density that ultimately led to its triumph over biofuels.49 Coal started declining as a share of energy around World War I, even though “coal reserves were in a sense infinite” as oil and natural gas started to replace it.50 Energy transitions have occurred in the way that Marchetti predicted, from more energy-dilute and carbon-dense fuels toward more energy-dense and hydrogen-dense ones. Just as coal is twice as energy-dense as wood, petroleum is more energy-dense than coal, as is natural gas, when converted to liquid form.51 The chemistry is simple to understand. Coal is comprised of roughly one carbon atom for every hydrogen atom. Petroleum is comprised of one carbon atom for every two hydrogen atoms. And natural gas, or rather, its main component, methane, has four hydrogen atoms to one carbon atom, hence its molecular expression as CH4.52 As a consequence of these energy transitions, the carbon-intensity of energy has declined for more than 150 years.

“What probably sustains the whaling industry against the inroads of vegetable oil,” reported The New York Times in 1959, “is the desire of the whaling nations to conserve their foreign exchange. In general, they do not produce enough vegetable oil for their own needs and hence must either catch whales or buy fats and oil abroad.”100 The moral of the story is that economic growth and the rising demand for food, lighting, and energy drive product and energy transitions, but politics can constrain them. Energy transitions depend on people wanting them. When it comes to protecting the environment by moving to superior alternatives, public attitudes and political action matter. 7 Have Your Steak and Eat It, Too 1. Eating Animals When Jonathan Safran Foer was nine years old, he asked his babysitter why she wasn’t eating the chicken that he and his brother Frank were having.


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

And anyone interested in the carbon footprints of modern lifestyles should also read Berners-Lee’s How Bad are Bananas (Profile Books, new edition in Spring 2020). CLOTHING AND STUFF The website of Ellen MacArthur’s foundation (www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org) contains much of interest on the circular economy, and clothing in particular. WRAP (www.wrap.org.uk), the waste minimisation institute, publishes consistently interesting material on cutting the use of resources. The work of the Energy Transitions Commission (www.energy-transitions.org) is exceptional and includes detailed reports on sectors of the economy which are most difficult to decarbonise. REFORESTATION George Monbiot, Feral (Penguin, 2014). This is only in part about reforestation, alerting us more widely to the damage to the environment caused by sheep grazing and offering climate-friendly solutions for the restoration of our environment.

How will we obtain consensus about giving over the land around cities to solar power unless we deliver lower electricity bills for those in energy poverty? And how do we reduce (as we must) the sales of clothing when over a third of a million people work in the fashion business? Some argue that a transition to zero emissions is impossible in a world controlled by short-term modern capitalism, noting that few shareholder-owned companies have done much to speed up the energy transition (although there are notable exceptions, often from Nordic Europe). Most fossil fuel businesses have doggedly opposed rapid change at the same time as shamelessly and relentlessly advertising minor initiatives to reduce responsibility for climate breakdown. However, my contention in this book is that a global carbon tax at a high enough level could rapidly rotate fossil fuel companies into allies in combating climate change.

This will ensure that forests increase the carbon dioxide they capture through photosynthesis, offsetting those greenhouse gas emissions we find it hard to avoid. 8 Collect carbon dioxide directly from the air and either sequester it safely or use it to make synthetic, very low carbon chemicals, using the hydrogen generated with surplus electricity. This, again, will help counterbalance remaining greenhouse gas emissions. 9 Introduce a meaningful carbon tax, remitting its proceeds to the less well-off, with the principal objective of incentivising the big fossil fuel companies to switch from oil and gas to zero carbon energy. Capitalism can and should be the servant of the energy transition. 10 Research and plan geoengineering techniques. The world will need to have safe, equitable means to artificially hold down global temperatures. Although ‘geoengineering’ has its risks, we probably have no alternative if we want to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 or 2 degrees celsius. Even the fastest action now looks insufficient to avert dangerous amounts of climate breakdown without measures to block a portion of the sun’s energy.


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 what if they’re wrong? After the nuclear false start, the world is running out of time to switch over to clean energy. It doesn’t help that global energy transitions take a very long time. As the energy scholar Vaclav Smil has pointed out, global energy transitions—for example, from wood to coal to oil—have each taken roughly a half-century.45 If the world can zero out its carbon emissions within a half-century, then it stands a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.46 But if the transition toward solar energy sputters by midcentury, there will be no opportunity for another do-over. A particularly rosy 2016 study suggested that a clean energy transition could happen much faster—in just a decade or two—with the right support from policymakers.47 And some argue that more sensible climate policies than the ones we have today are inevitable.

Varun Sivaram, Gireesh Shrimali, and Dan Reicher, “Reach for the Sun: How India’s Audacious Solar Ambitions Could Make or Break Its Climate Commitments,” Stanford Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, December 8, 2015, https://law.stanford.edu/reach-for-the-sun-how-indias-audacious-solar-ambitions-could-make-or-break-its-climate-commitments. 21.  Varun Sivaram, “Can India Save the Warming Planet?” Scientific American (May 2017), https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-india-save-the-warming-planet. 22.  “Financing India’s Energy Transition,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance, November 1, 2016, https://about.bnef.com/blog/financing-indias-clean-energy-transition. 23.  Rajesh Kumar Singh and Saket Sundria, “Living in the Dark: 240 Million Indians Have No Electricity,” Bloomberg, January 24, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-01-24/living-in-the-dark-240-million-indians-have-no-electricity. 24.  Rajesh Kumar Singh and Anindya Upadhyay, “Modi’s Plan to Clean up World’s Worst Air Resisted by Indian Power Generators,” Bloomberg, March 30, 2016, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-30/modi-s-picnic-spot-plan-resisted-by-indian-power-generators. 25.  

Stefan Nicola, Weixin Zha, and Lorenzo Totaro, “Solar Age’s First Eclipse Passes with Brief Surge in Power Price,” Bloomberg, March 20, 2015, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-20/eclipse-tests-european-power-grid-flooded-by-solar-farms-i7hlfkm0. 6.  Soren Amelang and Jakob Schelandt, “Germany’s Electricity Grid Stable Amid Energy Transition,” Clean Energy Wire, October 24, 2016, https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-electricity-grid-stable-amid-energy-transition. 7.  Amy Gahran, “Germany’s Course Correction on Solar Growth,” Greentech Media, November 3, 2016, https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/germanys-course-correction-on-solar-growth. 8.  Fraunhofer ISE, “Recent Facts About Photovoltaics in Germany,” Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, 2017, https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/publications/veroeffentlichungen-pdf-dateien-en/studien-und-konzeptpapiere/recent-facts-about-photovoltaics-in-germany.pdf. 9.  


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

Tomorrow’s energy sources will look a lot like today’s, because energy transitions are always difficult and lengthy. “There is one thing all energy transitions have in common: they are prolonged affairs that take decades to accomplish,” wrote Vaclav Smil in November 2008. “And the greater the scale of prevailing uses and conversions, the longer the substitutions will take.”23 Smil, the polymath, prolific author on energy issues, and distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba, wrote that while a “world without fossil fuel combustion is highly desirable ... getting there will demand not only high cost but also considerable patience: coming energy transitions will unfold across decades, not years.”24 Indeed, energy transitions unfold slowly and are always under way whether we recognize them or not.

Power is like sex and Internet bandwidth: The more we get, the more we want. And that’s one of the biggest problems when it comes to energy transitions. We have invested trillions of dollars in the pipelines, wires, storage tanks, and electricity-generation plants that are providing us with the watts that we use to keep the economy afloat. The United States and the rest of the world cannot, and will not, simply jettison all of that investment in order to move to some other form of energy that is more politically appealing. Yes, we will gradually begin moving toward other forms of energy. But that move will be just that: gradual. And for those who doubt just how lengthy energy transitions can be, history offers some illuminating examples. Power Equivalencies of Various Engines, Motors, and Appliances, in Horsepower (and Watts) Saturn V rocket: 160,000,000 (120 billion W)19 Boeing 757: 86,000 (64.1 million W)20 Top fuel dragster: 7,500 (5.6 million W)21 M1A1 tank: 1,500 (1.1 million W)22 Formula 1 race car: 750 (560,000 W)23 2009 Ferrari F430: 490 (365,000 W)24 1999 Acura 3.2 TL sedan: 225 (168,000 W)25 2010 Ford Fusion: 175 (130,000 W)26 1908 Ford Model T: 22 (16,000 W)27 Average home air-conditioning compressor: 5.6 (4,200 W)28 Honda Cub motorbike: 4 (3,000 W)29 Average lawnmower: 3.5 (2,600 W)30 Dyson vacuum cleaner: 1.68 (1,250 W)31 Toaster: 1.67 (1,250 W)32 Lance Armstrong, pedaling at maximum output: 1.34 (1,000 W)33 Coffeemaker: 1.08 (800 W)34 Cuisinart: 0.16 (117 W)35 Human walking at a brisk pace: 0.14 (106 W)36 20-inch iMac computer: 0.11 (80 W)37 Ryobi 3/8-inch cordless drill battery charger: 0.07 (49 W)38 60-watt lamp: 0.07 (54 W)39 Table fan: 0.03 (25 W)40 Recharging an Apple iPhone: 0.0013 (1 W)41 CHAPTER 4 Wood to Coal to Oil The Slow Pace of Energy Transitions GIVEN OUR CURRENT OBSESSION with Big Oil and Big Coal, it’s worth noting that the fuel source that has had the longest reign in the American energy business is plain old firewood.

Over the past century or so, the United States has built a $14-trillion-per-year economy that’s based almost entirely on cheap hydrocarbons. 10 No matter how much the United States and the rest of the world may desire a move away from those fossil fuels, the transition to renewable sources of energy—and to no-carbon sources such as nuclear power—will take most of the twenty-first century and require trillions of dollars in new investment. So, given the Four Imperatives and the stark realities posed by the long energy transition that lies ahead, what are we to do? FIGURE 1 Annual U.S. Energy Production: Comparing Wind and Solar with Other Energy Sources Sources: Energy Information Administration, South Texas Nuclear Operating Company, and Alliance Resource Partners. That question brings us to the other purpose of this book: to debunk some of the energy myths that have come to dominate our political discussions and to lay out the best “no-regrets” energy policy for the United States and the rest of the world.


pages: 327 words: 84,627

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

Kingsmill Bond, 2020 Vision: Why You Should See the Fossil Fuel Peak Coming, Carbon Tracker, September 2018, https://www.carbontracker.org/reports/2020-vision-why-you-should-see-the-fossil-fuel-peak-coming/ (accessed March 23, 2019), 31.   7.  Kingsmill Bond, Myths of the Energy Transition: Renewables Are Too Small to Matter, Carbon Tracker, October 30, 2018, https://www.carbontracker.org/myths-of-the-transition-renewables-are-too-small/ (accessed March 23, 2019), 1.   8.  Roger Fouquet, Heat, Power and Light: Revolutions in Energy Services (New York: Edward Elgar, 2008).   9.  Bond, Myths of the Energy Transition, 3–4. 10.  Bond, 2020 Vision, 4. 11.  Ibid., 5. 12.  Ibid., 32. 13.  Bobby Magill, “2019 Outlook: Solar, Wind Could Hit 10 Percent of U.S. Electricity,” Bloomberg Environment, December 26, 2018, https://news.bloombergenvironment.com/environment-and-energy/2019-outlook-solar-wind-could-hit-10-percent-of-us-electricity (accessed March 23, 2019); Bond, 2020 Vision, 18, 22. 14.  

According to a November 2018 study by Lazard—one of the world’s largest independent investment banks—the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of large solar installations has plummeted to 36 dollars/megawatt hour, while wind has fallen to 29 dollars/megawatt hour, making them “cheaper than the most efficient gas plants, coal plants, and nuclear reactors.”16 “LCOE is an economic assessment of the average total cost to build and operate a power-generating asset over its lifetime divided by the total energy output of the asset over that lifetime.”17 Within the next eight years, solar and wind will be far cheaper than fossil fuel energies, forcing a showdown with the fossil fuel industry.18 The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a London-based think tank serving the energy industry, reports that the steep decline in the price of generating solar and wind energy “will inevitably lead to trillions of dollars of stranded assets across the corporate sector and hit petro-states that fail to reinvent themselves,” while “putting trillions at risk for unsavvy investors oblivious to the speed of the unfolding energy transition.”19 “Stranded assets” are all the fossil fuels that will remain in the ground because of falling demand as well as the abandonment of pipelines, ocean platforms, storage facilities, energy generation plants, backup power plants, petrochemical processing facilities, and industries tightly coupled to the fossil fuel culture. Behind the scenes, a seismic struggle is taking place as four of the principal sectors responsible for global warming—the Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/telecommunications sector, the power and electric utility sector, the mobility and logistics sector, and the buildings sector—are beginning to decouple from the fossil fuel industry in favor of adopting the cheaper new green energies.

According to Chairman Liu Zhenya, if we “can firmly grasp the historical opportunity for the Third Industrial Revolution, [it] will largely determine our position in future global competition.”50 In November 2014, President Xi Jinping surprised the world community by announcing his country’s commitment to increase the use of non–fossil fuel energies in primary energy consumption—primarily solar and wind—to 20 percent by 2030.51 Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) annual long-term economic analysis of the world’s power sector has China benefiting from having 62 percent of its electricity being supplied by renewables by 2050.52 This would mean that the majority of energy powering the Chinese economy would be generated at near-zero marginal cost, making China and the European Union the two most productive and competitive commercial spaces in the world. While China followed the EU’s lead in the first generation of the solar and wind energy transition, a visionary Chinese green energy pioneer, Li Hejun, the founder and CEO of Hanergy, leaped ahead in second-generation green energy adoption, becoming the world’s number-one solar thin-film producer. In his 2015 biography, China’s New Energy Revolution, Li Hejun said that he “was deeply moved [by the] powerful set of coordinates and insights” in The Third Industrial Revolution and was particularly struck by the contention that solar energy was “more suitable for future independent and distributed production.”53 In September 2013, Li Hejun, who at the time was also the vice chairman of the powerful All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, invited me to Beijing to share the vision, theory, and practical application of renewable energies—and the role China might play in the next great energy revolution—with twenty of China’s key policy leaders, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs.


There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years by Mike Berners-Lee

air freight, autonomous vehicles, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, food miles, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Hans Rosling, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land reform, neoliberal agenda, off grid, performance metric, profit motive, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, urban planning

The price of solar power has been coming down too, by about 20% every time the rate of installation doubles, and this may well continue for a long time12. The problem is that as the scale goes up, it becomes a lot harder to maintain the growth rate. Already it is starting to fall to around 30% per year. That is still huge, but the declining trend is not good. Sceptics of the solar silver bullet point out that energy transitions of the past – from animals to coal, from steam to internal combustion engines and so on – have taken a long time13. The counter argument is that never before has there been such a globally acknowledged imperative to make a fast energy switch for the sake of humanity, not to mention many other species. That has to be able to make a difference, right? Surely, we humans are capable of some deliberate influence!?

There could be millions of species of these microscopic organisms, potentially giving us humans a wealth of genetic resources to tweak and develop efficient biofuel resources. However, algae are far from commercialisation, with challenges ranging from species selection (breeding and genetics) to refining and Should we frack? 79 processing of oils26. Exxon invested $100m in this before pulling out. At best it looks too far off to put into energy transition plans. So, to answer the question, biofuels in moderation are not entirely bonkers, but do need treating with a great deal of caution lest they become so. If carefully handled, they can provide a small but worth-having part of the energy mix. If an unregulated free market were allowed to run its course in the transition to a low carbon world they could be a disaster. We could see biofuel for the rich becoming more profitable than providing essential food for the poor, and we could see yet more natural habitats trashed in exchange for monocultures.

In particular, to get electricity from oil or coal entails putting it through steam turbines at a power station where over 60% of the energy dissipates as heat that is usually not used for anything and less than 40% is turned into electricity30. Solar, wind and hydro power don’t have this problem because they are in the form of electricity from the start. This means that if it is electricity that you need, a kilowatt hour of any of these is worth about two and a half kilowatt hours of coal or oil. This mark-up factor gives renewables a huge boost in the early stages of the clean energy transition. A similar mark-up also applies to land vehicles for almost the same reason. The efficiency of electric motors compared to 86 3 ENERGY internal combustion engines means that a unit of electricity can power a car two or three times further than the same energy in the form of liquid hydrocarbon. However, once we get to the point at which all our electricity is already coming from renewable sources, and all our transport has been electrified, we start having to use renewables to replace fossil fuel as a source of heat.


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

This fits with the lessons that Arnulf Grübler, an academic at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis outside Vienna, has drawn from decades spent studying the history of energy systems, and in particular the ‘energy transitions’ in which one energy technology displaces another; the steam engine replacing the draft animal and the waterwheel, for example. One general principle, he says, is that energy transitions have been slow – they take about a century. Things are different now, say the mainstream environmentalists and the environmentally conscious politicians in the Yes/No camp. Previous energy transitions were for the most part realized with no overarching plan. This one will be deliberate. And there has already been a renewables revolution on which the transition can be built. In the past couple of decades wind and solar power have been deployed on an industrial scale for the first time.

And as far as the end user is concerned, renewable electricity is just another form of electricity – it offers no advantage as a means of powering things, even if generating the electricity that way has various charms. Its benefits are felt at the level of the system, not at the level of the individual buyer. That means a renewable-energy transition will need significant pushing. As with Grübler’s observations about the time transitions take, this points merely to decarbonization being unprecedented, not impossible. But the best example in recent history of an energy transition that governments tried to push through, rather than simply letting users pull, is not very encouraging. Governments in various countries pushed quite hard for a transition to nuclear power in the 1960s and 1970s. In many of them, though, the technology’s early growth subsequently stalled.

And the supply of fossil fuels can fluctuate wildly, either because of changes in the market or because of politics. The fuel costs for some renewables, on the other hand, are fixed and very low – wind, sunshine and the tendency of water to flow downhill come for free, and the plants grown to burn as biomass can often be furnished pretty cheaply, too. It is a fine list of benefits. But there is a second lesson from Grübler’s studies of past energy transitions to be confronted. They have, in the main, been driven not by the availability of new ways of providing energy, but by new ways of using it: transitions are pulled by demand, not pushed by supply. Electricity and internal combustion engines were adopted because they allowed people to do things they hadn’t done before, and people demanded those new energy services in ever-greater numbers. The requisite fuel supplies, generating technologies and distribution systems raced to catch up.


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

Although its scale is so significant precisely because it will unfold in a multigenerational – and therefore unpredictable – manner, it must be present generations that take decisive action. Yet more than simply an intervention determining the future capacity of our planet to maintain life, the politics of energy transition must also articulate its ambition of bringing limitless energy to the world’s rich and poor alike. That is the prize on offer with solar and wind, almost as much as saving the planet, and should be stated as such when demanding energy transition alongside UBS. Switching to renewable energy won’t just mitigate increasingly chaotic climate systems, it will also deliver greater prosperity for all of us. But while the opportunities are huge, and the political scope for integrating ecology and economic development increasingly clear, there is little time to act.

Of course, profit wouldn’t be the bottom line, but as John Clancy has written, their returns from investments in overseas equities often prove distinctly underwhelming, which means funds are actively looking for more sustainable and, if necessary, local investments. In keeping with the new ethos of municipal protectionism, these banks would be similarly restricted in their lending both by amount and geographical area. What is more, their remit would be to maximise social value as well as returns, focusing on energy transition and accelerating specific sectors as well as financing a new wave of worker-owned business. The positive benefits of growing the cooperative and worker-owned economy are well documented, from helping deal with low productivity to under-investment in small and medium-sized enterprises – not to mention reducing economic and regional inequality. Most importantly, however, within the context of the Third Disruption they offer a practical means by which society can navigate the forward march of automation and, ultimately, artificial intelligence.

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. What is more, they tend to enjoy robust state institutions and a significant base of renewable energy capacity. The worker-led economy will be financed by locally based and geographically restricted institutions. But because of the shortened timeframe, financing energy transition will be the responsibility for much larger National Energy Investment Banks (NEIBs) operating through regional hubs and capitalised – depending on the country – to the tune of hundreds of billions of pounds. Alongside financing renewable energy generation and storage for public buildings, homes and workplaces, with this new infrastructure being democratically owned at the local level, these banks will also offer credit for local energy cooperatives.


pages: 235 words: 65,885

Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines by Richard Heinberg, James Howard (frw) Kunstler

addicted to oil, anti-communist, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Fractional reserve banking, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land reform, means of production, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, urban planning

So the overall message of this book is not necessarily one of doom — but it is one of inevitable change and the need for deliberate engagement with the process of change on a scale and speed beyond anything in previous human history. Crucially: we must focus on and use the intangibles that are not peaking (such as ingenuity and cooperation) to address the problems arising from our overuse of substances that are. Our One Great Task: The Energy Transition As we have seen, just a few core trends have driven many others in producing the global problems we see today, and those core trends (including population growth and increasing consumption rates) themselves constellate around our ever-burgeoning use of fossil fuels. Thus, a conclusion of startling plainness presents itself: our central survival task for the decades ahead, as individuals and as a species, must be to make a transition away from the use of fossil fuels — and to do this as peacefully, equitably, and intelligently as possible.

Again, my thesis: many problems rightly deserve attention, but the problem of our dependence on fossil fuels is central to human survival, and so as long as that dependence continues to any significant extent we must make its reduction the centerpiece of all our collective efforts — whether they are efforts to feed ourselves, resolve conflicts, or maintain a functioning economy. But this can be formulated in another, more encouraging, way. If we do focus all of our collective efforts on the central task of energy transition, we may find ourselves contributing to the solution of a wide range of problems that would be much harder to solve if we confronted each one in isolation. With a coordinated and voluntary reduction in fossil fuel consumption, we could see substantial progress in reducing many forms of environmental pollution. The decentralization of economic activity that we must pursue as transport fuels become more scarce could lead to more local jobs, more fulfilling occupations, and more robust local economies.

Perhaps unemployment will have to rise to 10 or 20 or 40 percent, with families begging for food in the streets, before embattled policy makers begin to reconsider their commitment to industrial agriculture. But even in that case, as in Cuba, all may depend upon having another option already articulated. Without that, we will be left to the worst possible outcome. Rather than consigning ourselves to that fate, let us accept the current challenge — the next great energy transition — as an opportunity not to try vainly to preserve business as usual (the American Way of Life that, we are told, is not up for negotiation), but rather to re-imagine human culture from the ground up, using our intelligence and passion for the welfare of the next generations, and the integrity of nature’s web, as our primary guides. 3 (post-) Hydrocarbon Aesthetics THOUGH I COULD HARDLY call myself a professional violinist these days, I still get the occasional call for a wedding or other special function, and I cherish these increasingly rare opportunities to work alongside competent players.


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

Things become even more extreme when we start accounting for growth into the future. As energy demand continues to rise, material extraction for renewables will become all the more aggressive – and the more we grow, the worse it will get. Even after achieving a full energy transition, to keep the global economy growing at projected rates would mean doubling the total global stock of solar panels, wind turbines and batteries every thirty or forty years, for ever. It’s important to keep in mind that most of the key materials for the energy transition are located in the global South. Parts of Latin America, Africa and Asia are likely to become the target of a new scramble for resources, and some countries may become victims of new forms of colonisation. It happened in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with the hunt for gold and silver from South America.

And natural gas is less intensive still.17 As the global economy has come to rely more on these less polluting fuels, one might think that emissions would begin to decline. This has happened in a number of high-income nations, but not on a global scale. Why? Because GDP growth is driving total energy demand up at such a rapid pace that these new fuels aren’t replacing the older ones, they are being added on top of them. The shift to oil and gas hasn’t been an energy transition, but an energy addition. The same thing is happening right now with renewable energy. Over the past couple of decades there has been extraordinary growth in renewable energy capacity, which is worth celebrating. In some nations, renewables have begun to displace fossil fuels. But on a global scale, growth in energy demand is swamping growth in renewable capacity. All that new clean energy isn’t replacing dirty energies, it’s being added on top of them.18 This dynamic should give us pause.

It’s not difficult to imagine that the scramble for renewables might become similarly violent. If we don’t take precautions, clean energy firms could become as destructive as fossil fuel companies – buying off politicians, trashing ecosystems, lobbying against environmental regulations, even assassinating community leaders who stand in their way, a tragedy that is already unfolding.22 This is important. Progressives who promote the idea of a Green New Deal or other plans for rapid energy transition also tend to promote values of social and ecological justice. If we want the transition to be just, we need to recognise that we cannot increase our use of renewable energy indefinitely. Some hope that nuclear power will help us get around these problems – and surely it will need to be part of the mix. But nuclear comes with its own constraints. The main problem is that it takes so long to get new power plants up and running that they can play only a small role in getting us to zero emissions by the middle of the century.


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 Percheron quickly became America’s favorite horse,” the breed association history claims. The US Census for 1930 found three times as many registered Percherons in America as the other four draft breeds combined. Horses increased in number after the commercialization of the steam engine because horsepower filled the niche below steam power. A horse stood ready to pull a cart or plow a field on command, without the delay of building up a head of steam. Energy transitions are seldom so complete that they drive out every competitor. Much of the world still relies on animals for farm work and transportation: horses, oxen, camels, llamas, water buffalo, elephants, even fellow humans. Feeding the urban fleet of horses hay and grain supported many thousands of farmers. An idle riding horse in New York City required about 9,000 calories of oats and hay per day.

They estimated as well, “on the basis of global projection data that take into account the effects of the Fukushima accident,” that “nuclear power could additionally prevent an average of 420,000–7.04 million deaths and 80–240 [gigatons of CO2-equivalent] emissions due to fossil fuels by midcentury [2050], depending on which fuel it replaces.”45 This projection, needless to say, assumes that nuclear power will continue to find political support as one component of the largest energy transition in human history, the ultimate transition, the one the world faces today as it confronts global climate change. Or can renewables save the day? * * * I. Trofim Denisovich Lysenko was a Soviet biologist who promoted a pseudoscientific theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Under Stalin’s patronage, he purged many reputable Soviet geneticists. II. R for “roentgen,” a measure of radiation, named after Wilhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of X-rays.

With support from the Club of Rome, IIASA was established in 1972 as a think tank that might bridge the increasing digital (and continuing political) divide between the United States and Europe and the Soviet bloc countries. Marchetti’s earlier work had been in nuclear power technology, including reactor design and nuclear waste processing. His interest at IIASA has been energy, especially modeling the regularities of energy transitions. An informative graph based on research he and his colleagues pursued in the late 1970s drew my attention. In an autobiographical sketch, Marchetti writes that he was asked when he joined IIASA in 1973 to find “a simple and predictive model describing energy markets for the last century or so.” His economist colleagues, he jokes, “thought it better to look at their nails”—that is, wanted nothing to do with the assignment—so “with a certain spirit of adventure,” Marchetti took up the challenge.


pages: 382 words: 92,138

The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato

"Robert Solow", Apple II, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, computer age, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demand response, deskilling, endogenous growth, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, G4S, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, incomplete markets, information retrieval, intangible asset, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, natural language processing, new economy, offshore financial centre, Philip Mirowski, popular electronics, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Many who write on the subject of energy policy forget that until wind turbines and solar PV panels (the focus of Chapter 7) can produce energy at a cost equal to or lower than those of fossil fuels they will likely continue to be marginal technologies that cannot accelerate the transition so badly needed to mitigate climate change. Understanding how businesses transform government support mechanisms into lower-cost, higher-performance products through the innovation process is typically the ‘missing link’ in discussions of energy policy, and this missing link can undermine not just our desire to push an energy transition – but to do it with high-road investments in innovation. State support for clean technologies must continue until they overcome the sunk-cost advantage of incumbent technologies, and these sunk costs are a century long in some cases. That is why much of this chapter focuses on supply-side support mechanisms (although I of course also discuss crucial demand-side policies). In the current policy environment, many countries have been aggressively deploying public finance with the aim of promoting green industry – and this is the most direct support possible for business development.

The fourth section concludes by analysing the different national approaches discussed in the second and third sections. Funding a Green Industrial Revolution First, what is a ‘green industrial revolution’? There are many ways to conceptualize a green industrial revolution, but the basic premise is that the current global industrial system must be radically transformed into one that is environmentally sustainable. Sustainability will require an energy transition that places non-polluting clean energy technologies at the fore. It moves us away from dependence on finite fossil and nuclear fuels and favours ‘infinite’ sources of fuel – the ‘renewable’ fuels that originate from the sun. Building a sustainable industrial system also requires technologies for recyclable materials, advanced waste management, better agricultural practices, stronger energy efficiency measures across sectors, and water desalinization infrastructures (to address resource and water scarcity, for instance).

The problem with using climate change as a primary justification for investing in energy technologies is that it is not the only relevant environmental issue faced today. It is also an issue that can be partially ‘solved’ with the aid of non-renewable technologies like nuclear power or carbon sequestration. Is that really what we want? Deployment of resources meant to facilitate the innovative process must occur alongside the courage to set a technological direction and follow it. Leaving direction setting to ‘the market’ only ensures that the energy transition will be put off until fossil prices reach economy-wrecking highs. Pushing – Not Stalling – Green Development The history of US government investment in innovation, from the Internet to nanotech, shows that it has been critical for the government to have a hand in both basic and applied research. National Institute of Health (NIH) labs, responsible for 75 per cent of the most radical new drugs, performs applied research.


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

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. An energy transition extends beyond particular labour processes, and the fossil fuel branches of production, to the energy sector as a whole.22 In providing the general conditions facilitating production and consumption, the energy sector tends to be both highly concentrated and monopolistic, as well as highly decentralized and diversified. An energy transition entails concerns not only with the phasing out of fossil fuel production (and immediate limits on extreme energy, such as the tar sands) and the reversal of the neo-liberal privatization of power supplies. It also needs to be conceived in terms of “energy democracy”: public ownership and control; diversity, decentralization, and localization in production and control; and transparency and accountability in ecological impacts.23 For the most part, renewable energy production also fails miserably on all these accounts.

This will, so the market logic goes, encourage preventative measures and shift relative prices favourably towards “green” production. In a striking example of market fetishism, more prices and more markets are proposed. Nature and pollution are put forward as new zones of accumulation, with the state facilitating the creation of markets and property rights where none existed before. With more complete and transparent markets, capitalist growth will be “greener,” and an energy transition from fossil fuels towards renewables will “naturally” occur via firm responses to more efficient price signals. “Green jobs” will follow in due course. The market imperatives that drive capital accumulation and carbon emissions are now offered up, without any sense of paradox or doubt, as the solution to the climate crisis. “Green Jobs” and Institutional Ecology The long-standing failure of “protecting the environment through privatizing it” has led many environmental and labour organizations to take a different tack.

The shift to renewables is likely, in almost all forecasts, to have a positive impact on employment during both construction and steady-state operations due to the lower capital intensity. But this should not be exaggerated (as renewables producers do), as this is still quite capital-intensive production. A shift to renewable energy is a solution to neither the general problem of unemployment in capitalism, nor to the employment instability resulting from climate change. The political imaginary of a climate justice movement cannot be confined, therefore, to a market-led energy transition, whether spurred by further institutional coordination or not. It can become a vital example of societal political alliances co-joining in programmatic alternatives. At the scale of the workplace, this struggle has formed around the notion of a just transition. 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.


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

Moreover, the overwhelming majority of people who use the term certainly do not mean it in that sense. That said, people who use the term would be well advised to explain what they do and do not mean by it. 6 THE ROLE OF CLEAN ENERGY This chapter will focus on the energy technologies most widely discussed for a transition to a low carbon economy. It will explore the scale of the energy transition needed to explain why some energy technologies are considered likely to be major contributors to the solution and others not. What kind of changes in our energy system would a 2°C target require? To have a significant chance of keeping total warming below 2°C, we need to cut global emissions of carbon dioxide and other major greenhouse gas (GHG) pollutants by more than 50% by mid-century.

That means that solar power can be a sustainable source of very low carbon power in the coming decades. It is ironic, as one of the Stanford authors noted, “At the moment, Germany makes up about 40% of the installed market, but sunshine in Germany isn’t that great. So from a system perspective, it may be better to deploy PV systems where there is more sunshine.” Germany has done the world a great favor by investing so heavily in its renewable energy transition, which has helped to bring down the cost of solar energy for every country. However, solar power is considerably more cost-effective in places where it is sunnier longer during both the day and year, such as the Southwest United States and the Middle East. This is another reason we can expect the amount of solar PV generated to continue its rapid increase. Concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) is the use of mirrors to focus sunlight to heat a fluid that runs an engine to make electricity.

There are many other low carbon forms of electricity, particularly ones that make use of water. These include extracting energy from the tides and from waves, as well as ocean thermal energy conversion, which uses the temperature difference between warm shallow water and cooler deep water to generate electricity. Currently, these are niche technologies whose future potential is unknown, but at this point, they do not seem significant relative to the scale of the energy transition required to stabilize at or near 2°C. Finally, fusion remains a popular long-term hope for carbon-free power, as it has for a half-century now. Re-creating the sun’s power source on Earth in a practical and cost-effective fashion has proved intractable even after decades of research. We currently do not know whether practical or affordable fusion is possible. The New York Times editorialized in 2012 about the high price of the current U.S. fusion program, “If the main goal is to achieve a power source that could replace fossil fuels, we suspect the money would be better spent on renewable sources of energy that are likely to be cheaper and quicker to put into wide use.”58 Put another way, harnessing the power of fusion, from 93 million miles away, is likely a better investment.


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

The cities of Frankfurt and Munich, which had never sold off their energy grids, had already joined the transition and pledged to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and 2025, respectively. But Hamburg and Berlin, which had both gone the privatization route, were lagging behind. And this was a central argument for proponents of taking back Hamburg’s grid: it would allow them to get off coal and nuclear and go green.5 Much has been written about Germany’s renewable energy transition—particularly the speed at which it is being achieved, as well as the ambition of its future targets (the country is aiming for 55–60 percent renewables by 2035).6 The weaknesses of the program have also been hotly debated, particularly the question of whether the decision to phase out nuclear energy has led to a resurgence of coal (more on that next chapter). In all of this analysis, however, scarce attention has been paid to one key factor that has made possible what may be the world’s most rapid shift to wind and solar power: the fact that in hundreds of cities and towns across the country, citizens have voted to take their energy grids back from the private corporations that purchased them.

Boulder’s local power movement began with the desire to switch to clean energy, regardless of who was providing it. Yet in the process of trying to achieve that goal, these residents discovered that they had no choice but to knock down one of the core ideological pillars of the free market era: that privately run services are always superior to public ones. It was an accidental discovery very similar to the one Ontario residents made when it became clear that their green energy transition was being undermined by free trade commitments signed long ago. Though rarely mentioned in climate policy discussions, there is a clear and compelling relationship between public ownership and the ability of communities to get off dirty energy. Many of the countries with the highest commitments to renewable energy are ones that have managed to keep large parts of their electricity sectors in public (and often local) hands, including the Netherlands, Austria, and Norway.

Current experience from around the world, including the markets of Europe, also shows that private companies and electricity markets cannot deliver investments in renewables on the scale required.”16 Citing various instances of governments turning to the public sector to drive their transitions (including the German experience), as well as examples of large corporate-driven renewable projects that were abandoned by their investors midstream, the Greenwich research team concludes, “An active role for government and public sector utilities is thus a far more important condition for developing renewable energy than any expensive system of public subsidies for markets or private investors.”17 Sorting out what mechanisms have the best chance of pulling off a dramatic and enormously high-stakes energy transition has become particularly pressing of late. That’s because it is now clear that—at least from a technical perspective—it is entirely possible to rapidly switch our energy systems to 100 percent renewables. In 2009, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and Mark A. Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, authored a groundbreaking, detailed road map for “how 100 percent of the world’s energy, for all purposes, could be supplied by wind, water and solar resources, by as early as 2030.”


pages: 372 words: 107,587

The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality by Richard Heinberg

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, business cycle, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, liberal capitalism, mega-rich, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, naked short selling, Naomi Klein, Negawatt, new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, price stability, private military company, quantitative easing, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, short selling, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade liberalization, tulip mania, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game

Cleveland, “Energy Quality,” The Encyclopedia of Earth, eoearth.org/article/Energy_quality#gen11. 19. David Stern, “Energy Mix and Energy Intensity,” Stochastic Trend, posted April 17, 2010, stochastictrend.blogspot.com/2010/04/energy-mix-and-energy-intensity.html. 20. Cutler J. Cleveland, “Energy Quality, Net Energy and the Coming Energy Transition,” in Frontiers in Ecological Economic Theory and Application, Jon D. Erickson and John M. Gowdy, eds. (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2007), pp. 268–284. 21. Cleveland, “Energy Quality, Net Energy, and the Coming Energy Transition,” 7; Kenneth S. Deffeyes, chapter 3 in Beyond Oil: The View From Hubbert’s Peak (New York: Hill and Wang, 2005); David I. Stern, “Energy and Economic Growth in the USA: A Multivariate Approach,” Energy Economics 15, no.2 (1993), pp. 137–150. 22. Cleveland, “Energy Quality,” The Encyclopedia of Earth (online). 23.

Whether we like or hate globalization and specialization, we will nevertheless have to bend to the needs of an energy-constrained economy — and that will mean relying more on local resources and production capacity, and being able to do a broader range of tasks. Of course, this is not to say that all activities will be localized, that trade will disappear, or that there will be no specialization. The point is simply that the recent extremes achieved in the trends toward specialization and globalization cannot be sustained and will be reversed. How far we will go toward being local generalists depends on how we handle the energy transition of the 21st century — or, in other words, how much of technological civilization we can preserve and adapt. The near-religious belief that economic growth depends not on energy and resources, but solely on increasing innovation, efficiency, trade, and division of labor, can sometimes lead economists to say silly things. Some of the silliest and most extreme statements along these lines are to be found in the writings of the late Julian Simon, a longtime business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.

Cleveland, “Energy Quality,” The Encyclopedia of Earth (online). 23. In 2009, the US imported nearly $300 billion in consumer goods from China. For information on the trade balance between the two nations see US Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics, census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/. 24. Cleveland, “Energy Quality, Net Energy, and the Coming Energy Transition.” 25. David Murphy and Charles A. S. Hall, “EROI, Insidious Feedbacks, and the End of Economic Growth,” pre-publication, 2010. 26. Ernst von Weizsacker, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins, Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use — The New Report to Rome (Sydney, AU: Allen & Unwin, 1998). 27. Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution (London: Earthscan, 2000). 28. Apsmith, “What’s Wrong With Amory Lovins?


pages: 665 words: 146,542

Money: 5,000 Years of Debt and Power by Michel Aglietta

bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, energy transition, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, German hyperinflation, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, liquidity trap, margin call, means of production, money market fund, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Northern Rock, oil shock, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, reserve currency, secular stagnation, seigniorage, shareholder value, special drawing rights, special economic zone, stochastic process, the payments system, the scientific method, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, Washington Consensus

In Europe, the euro no longer succeeds in incarnating a common project or any shared prosperity, due to its incompleteness and to the austerity policies associated with it. It is no surprise, then, that we are seeing the emergence of localised currency initiatives seeking to reappropriate money as a common good and reattach it to the ethical and community principles shared by its users. Here we can take the example of carbon currency. In connecting money to the major challenge of the energy transition, carbon currency constitutes a different, more global means of rehabilitating money in a way that enables it to serve the common good. Part II The Historical Trajectories of Money In Part I, we saw that money is a total social phenomenon. This has been true throughout history. Wherever anthropologists have been able to discern something that we could call an economy, money existed.

These mechanisms are tied to the official monetary system, so there is no need for the monetary authority to provide specific regulation in order for them to be properly structured. Their development benefits from a collective learning process, which draws lessons from past experiences that posed problems of fraud and inflation. Such was the case of the local currency initiatives taken in Argentina.15 Beyond Local Currencies: The Monetary Financing of the Energy Transition Taking action against global warming and emerging from economic stagnation are the two urgent tasks of our time. The public authorities – especially in Europe – are addressing these as if they were totally separate problems. And up until now, they have failed on both counts. On the one hand, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s mean projection tells us that the world is on course for a 4°C rise in temperatures by the end of the century, and there is a non-negligible possibility of an extreme risk of around 6°C.

This increased the concentration of capital ownership and offered elite managers gigantic windfalls, camouflaged as salary benefits. Finally, and most importantly, this meant that profits were monopolised by financial intermediaries and the services associated with them (which is to say, all manner of consultancy firms and law offices). The planetary challenge of the new industrial revolution – both the second phase of IT innovation and the energy transition necessary to meet the threats of climate change – consists in placing finance at the service of the economy. Finance must be deployed in the interests of a massive new wave of productive investment at the global level. The principle guiding this new age in societies’ development must be the promotion of the commons. This principle unfolds from the local level – accompanied by the local currency innovations mentioned above – to the global level.


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

It will also hugely improve the economics of collecting carbon dioxide directly from the air. As importantly, and this is not something extensively discussed by Smil, we will need no new physical infrastructure in the form of tanks, storage caverns and pipes for storing and moving these zero carbon fuels. Smil makes the correct assertion that energy transitions normally need new networks, meaning such things as pipelines and electric grids. One of the most positive aspects of THE SWITCH is that the cost of this will be tiny in the case of the move to PV. It will be the first energy transition that has ever occurred that does not require a new distribution network. Equally important, for poorer countries with weak or nonexistent electricity grids there will be no need to build a large infrastructure for electricity distribution. Instead entrepreneurs will construct energy ‘islands’ for villages and towns, based around PV farms and batteries for overnight storage.

According to my calculations, to meet all of November 2014’s requirements would have meant having eight times as much wind capacity as Germany has today. Combined with eight times as much PV, this would, over the full year, have given the country about twice as much power as it needs. This may be the right thing to do, but covering the winter months by hugely investing in wind will approximately double the cost to Germany of the remainder of its energy transition. What might we do instead to provide stored power? The four main storage options The best way of providing storage of months’ worth of energy is either to use plants and trees as the source of seasonal storage or to convert electricity into hydrogen in periods of substantial surplus, possibly then using the gas to make storable fuels, either methane or liquids. Four possible options are: a Transform plant matter into fuels to provide a buffer of energy in the form of liquid fuels.


pages: 357 words: 94,852

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

Airbnb, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collective bargaining, Corrections Corporation of America, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy transition, financial deregulation, greed is good, high net worth, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, income inequality, Internet Archive, Kickstarter, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transatlantic slave trade, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban decay, women in the workforce, working poor

We were inspired by these models—and by the hundreds of thousands of jobs they have created—but we were equally inspired by examples in the United States, where, through networks like the Climate Justice Alliance, low-income communities of color have been fighting to make sure the places that have been most polluted and neglected benefit first from a large-scale green energy transition. In Canada, the same patterns are clear: our collective reliance on dirty energy over the past couple of hundred years has taken its highest toll on the poorest and most vulnerable people, overwhelmingly Indigenous and immigrant. That’s whose lands have been stolen and poisoned by mining. That’s who gets the most polluting refineries and power plants in their neighborhoods. So in addition to calling for “energy democracy” on the German model, we placed reparative justice at the center of the energy transition, calling for Indigenous and other front-line communities (such as immigrant neighborhoods where coal plants have fouled the air) to be first in line to receive public funds to own and control their own green energy projects—with the jobs, profits, and skills staying in those communities.

Obama and the Democrats could have buried that claim once and for all. Other countries, in the same period, did bury the claim. Over the past decade, the German government has treated the green economy as the main way to revive its manufacturing sector. In the process, it has created 400,000 jobs, and now 30 percent of the country’s energy comes from renewables. And Germany has the strongest economy in Europe by far. The energy transition there is incomplete—Germany remains excessively reliant on coal—and its government has inflicted merciless austerity on other countries while choosing another course for itself. But if the US had followed Germany’s domestic example, it would have been so far along the road to a renewables-based economy that it would have been impossible for Trump to undo—no matter how many executive orders he signed.


pages: 105 words: 18,832

The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future by Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway

anti-communist, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, oil shale / tar sands, Pierre-Simon Laplace, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, stochastic process, the built environment, the market place

It garnered particular attention is for this reason that we now among wealthy Westerners, know this era as the Period of but what was anomalous in the Penumbra. 2023 soon became the new normal. . . . A shadow of It is clear that in the early ignorance and denial had fallen twenty-first century, imme- over people who considered diate steps should have been themselves children of the taken to begin a transition enlightenment. to a zero-net-carbon world. Staggeringly, the opposite occurred. At the very time that the urgent need for an energy transition became palpable, world production of greenhouse gases increased. This fact is so hard to understand that it calls for a closer look at what we know about this crucial juncture. Bangladesh Among North Americans, Bangladesh—one of the poorest nations of the world—served as an ideological battleground. Self-described “Climate Hawks” used it to levy moral demands for greenhouse gas reductions so that it would not suffer inundation, while so-called “Climate Realists” insisted that only economic growth powered by cheap fossil fuels would make Bangladeshis wealthy enough to save themselves.


pages: 288 words: 85,073

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund

animal electricity, clean water, colonial rule, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, global pandemic, Hans Rosling, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), jimmy wales, linked data, lone genius, microcredit, purchasing power parity, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steven Pinker, Thomas L Friedman, Walter Mischel

Crosby (1989), in his book America’s Forgotten Pandemic, estimated that the Spanish flu caused 50 million deaths. The number is confirmed by Johnson and Mueller (2002) and CDC[1]. The world population in 1918 was 1.84 billion, which means this pandemic wiped out 2.7 percent of the entire global population. TB and swine flu. The data on swine flu comes from WHO[17], and the data for TB from WHO[10,11]. See gapm.io/bswin. Energy sources. The data comparing energy sources is from Smil, Energy Transitions: Global and National Perspectives (2016). Smil describes the slow transition away from fossil fuels and also debunks myths about food production, innovation, population, and mega-risks. See gapm.io/tene. Future consumers. For an interactive visualization of the graphs on page 138, see gapm.io/incm. Two great books on this are The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria (2008) and The World Is Flat by Thomas L.

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Doubleday, 1990. Shengmin, Yu, et al. “Study on the Concept of Per Capita Cumulative Emissions and Allocation Options.” Advances in Climate Change Research 2, no. 2 (June 25, 2011): 79–85. gapm.io/xcli11. SIPRI Trends in world nuclear forces, 2017. Kile, Shannon N. and Hans M. Kristensen. SIPRI, July 2017. gapm.io/xsipri17. Smil, Vaclav. Energy Transitions: Global and National Perspectives. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2016. gapm.io/xsmilen. . Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008. gapm.io/xsmilcat. Spotify. Web API. https://developer.spotify.com/web-api. Stockholm Declaration. Fifth Global Meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, 2015. https://www.pbsbdialogue.org/en.


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

Long II) Biomass Energies The Bad Earth Carbon Nitrogen Sulfur Energy Food Environment Energy in China’s Modernization General Energetics China’s Environmental Crisis Global Ecology Energy in World History Cycles of Life Energies Feeding the World Enriching the Earth The Earth’s Biosphere Energy at the Crossroads China’s Past, China’s Future Creating the 20th Century Transforming the 20th Century Energy: A Beginner’s Guide Oil: A Beginner’s Guide Energy in Nature and Society Global Catastrophes and Trends Why America Is Not a New Rome Energy Transitions Energy Myths and Realities Prime Movers of Globalization Japan’s Dietary Transition and Its Impacts (with K. Kobayashi) Harvesting the Biosphere Should We Eat Meat? Power Density Natural Gas Still the Iron Age Energy Transitions (new edition) Energy: A Beginner’s Guide (new edition) Energy and Civilization: A History Oil: A Beginner’s Guide (new edition) Growth From Microorganisms to Megacities Vaclav Smil The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England © 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology All rights reserved.

Besides, all of this misses the most obvious point of such curve-fitting exercises based on cumulative numbers of creative acts (compositions, novels, or paintings): those analyzed numbers are mere quantities devoid of any qualitative content and they do not reveal anything about the course of a creative process or about the appeal and attractiveness of individual creations. Marchetti has been also an enthusiastic user of logistic curves in forecasting technical developments in general and composition of global primary energy demand in particular. In his studies of energy transitions, he adopted a technique developed by Fisher and Pry (1971). Originally used to study the market penetration of new techniques, it assumes that the advances are essentially competitive substitutions which will proceed to completion (that is, to capturing most of the market or all of it) in such a way that the rate of fractional substitution is proportional to the remainder that is yet to be substituted.

IEEE Spectrum (April):26. Smil, V. 2015b. Natural Gas. Chichester: Wiley. Smil, V. 2015c. Power Density. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Smil, V. 2016a. Embodied energy: Mobile devices and cars. Spectrum IEEE (May):26. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=7459114. Smil, V. 2016b. Still the Iron Age. Oxford: Elsevier. Smil, V. 2017a. Energy and Civilization. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Smil, V. 2017b. Energy Transitions. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. Smil, V. 2017c. Oil: A Beginner’s Guide. London: Oneworld. Smil, V. 2017d. Transformers, the unsung technology. Spectrum IEEE (August):24. Smil, V. 2018a. February 1878: The first phonograph. Spectrum IEEE (February):24. Smil, V. 2018b. It’ll be harder than we thought to get the carbon out. Spectrum IEEE (June):72–75. Smil, V., and K. Kobayashi. 2012. Japan’s Dietary Transition and Its Impacts.


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Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices by Robert McNally

American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, collective bargaining, credit crunch, energy security, energy transition, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Induced demand, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, joint-stock company, market clearing, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price discrimination, price stability, sovereign wealth fund, transfer pricing

Fuel efficiency of new U.S. passenger cars, even excluding gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and pickups, increased at an annual rate of just 2.5 percent since 1973.7 And efficiency gains are partly offset by consumer preferences (such as for bigger cars and SUVs) and what economists call the “rebound effect”—higher efficiency lowers the cost of driving, inducing motorists to drive more.8 So while oil has been displaced in electricity generation, there are no scalable substitutes on the horizon for oil use in transportation, which accounts for 55 percent of world consumption.9 Oil’s strong and likely enduring advantage in transportation stems from its application in a variety of vehicle types, cost competitiveness, infrastructure availability and supportive government policies.10 Scale also is critical to thinking about energy transformations. The larger the scale of prevailing energy forms—in this case, the near-total dominance of transportation by gasoline and diesel—the longer energy transitions will take. “Even if an immediate alternative were available,” leading energy researcher Vaclav Smil has written, “writing off this colossal infrastructure that took more than a century to build would amount to discarding an investment worth well over $5 trillion—but it is quite obvious that its energy output could not be replicated by any alternative in a decade or two.”11 As for policy, and the call that we must stop using oil because of climate change: Although elected officials from many nations pledged to reduce future carbon emissions in Paris in 2015, we are not going to see a forced march off of oil in the foreseeable future.

In the case of peak oil, the timing and pace of peak production is not just an academic matter. While economists believe people could adjust to steadily rising prices, and abrupt spike caused by unexpected peaking would be catastrophic, economically and politically. Modern transportation, agriculture, defense, and other core systems depend on oil, and there is no near term alternative to oil in these vital sectors. Peak oil adherents warn against assuming that past, smooth energy transition such as from wood to coal in the 1800s or coal to oil in the 1900s are a model for peak oil, which will be “abrupt and revolutionary.” In 2005 a report by three researches sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (though not reflecting government views) titled “Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management” concluded: The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem.


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

Long II) Biomass Energies The Bad Earth Carbon Nitrogen Sulfur Energy Food Environment Energy in China's Modernization General Energetics China's Environmental Crisis Global Ecology Energy in World History Cycles of Life Energies Feeding the World Enriching the Earth The Earth's Biosphere Energy at the Crossroads China's Past, China's Future Creating the 20th Century Transforming the 20th Century Energy: A Beginner's Guide Oil: A Beginner's Guide Energy in Nature and Society Global Catastrophes and Trends Why America Is Not a New Rome Energy Transitions Energy Myths and Realities Prime Movers of Globalization Japan's Dietary Transition and Its Impacts (with K. Kobayashi) Harvesting the Biosphere Should We Eat Meat? Preface: Why and How The story of humanity – evolution of our species; prehistoric shift from foraging to permanent agriculture; rise and fall of antique, medieval, and early modern civilizations; economic advances of the past two centuries; mechanization of agriculture; diversification and automation of industrial protection; enormous increases in energy consumption; diffusion of new communication and information networks; and impressive gains in quality of life – would not have been possible without an expanding and increasingly intricate and complex use of materials.

Studies show their effects ranging from negligible (less than 5% increase) to substantial, with more than a 50% rise in specific energy consumption – and there is even greater uncertainty about indirect rebound, that is, on spending the income freed by savings on products or services that are equally or even more energy-intensive, particularly on a nationwide scale (IRGC, 2013). 5.6 Decarbonization and Desulfurization Decarbonization of national and global energy supply – a gradual shift toward burning fuels with lower carbon content and generating more primary electricity – can be seen as a form of dematerialization that is particularly welcome from the environmental point of view because it reduces specific emissions of CO2, the most important greenhouse gas, as well as the generation of acidifying sulfur and nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. The process is an organic result of gradual energy transition from solid to liquid to gaseous fossil fuels and of rising shares of primary electricity (hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal) in the total energy supply. In turn, these transitions have been driven by the need for increasingly higher power densities of final energy uses that are required to support urbanization, industrialization, higher intensity of transportation, and more affluent lifestyles.


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

In a 2006 speech delivered at a conference sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, Smil—one of the world’s most authoritative writers about energy and the history of technological advances—said that energy transitions are “deliberate, protracted affairs.” Today’s energy technologies are “still dominated by prime movers and processes invented during the 1880s (steam turbines, internal combustion engines, thermal and hydro electricity generation) or during the 1930s (gas turbines, nuclear fission) and no techniques currently under development,” Smil said, will be able to rival those technologies over the next two or three decades. He continued, “Energy transitions span generations and not, microprocessor-like, years or even months: there is no Moore’s law for energy systems.” (In 1965, Gordon Moore, a cofounder of Intel, noting the rapid progress in the semiconductor industry, estimated that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit was doubling every two years.)


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

Perhaps not surprisingly, the emphasis on innovation across the energy spectrum is greater than ever before. That increases the likelihood of seeing the benefits from what General Georges Doriot, the founder of modern venture-capital investing, called “applied science” being successfully applied to energy. The lead times may be long owing to the scale and complexity of the vast system that supplies energy, but if this is to be an era of energy transition, then the $6 trillion global energy market is “contestable.” That is, it is up for grabs among the incumbents—the oil, gas, and coal companies that supply the bulk of today’s energy—and the new entrants—such as wind, solar, and biofuels—that want to capture a growing share of those dollars. A transition on this scale, if it does happen, has great significance for emissions, for the wider economy, for geopolitics, and for the position of nations.

But the Reagan administration moved swiftly to terminate the system altogether. Although there was some continuity on the issue of price controls, renewable energy was an entirely different story. It had become apolitical divide—indeed, an ideological test—and, as such, represented a major discontinuity between the two administrations. The difference was made abundantly clear at the outset of the Reagan administration by Michael Halbouty, the head of the energy transition team and successful Texas wildcatter, as well as the developer of the sprawling Galleria shopping center and hotel complex in Houston. To a visitor at the Department of Energy, Halbouty announced that he could sum up the energy policy of the Reagan administration in just three words—“Production, production, and production”—as in domestic production of oil and natural gas. Renewables had little place in that paradigm, and they quickly fell by the wayside.

In 2010 the Obama administration announced that solar panels and a solar water heater would be reinstalled on the roof of the White House residence—from where Jimmy Carter’s solar hot water heater had been removed in 1986.34 If a transition to renewables is really made on a large scale, it will rival the importance of the world’s transition to reliance on oil in the twentieth century, whether seen from a geopolitical or economic or environmental perspective. However, it will likely be a long road. Historically, energy transitions have occurred over many decades. Thus even with rapid growth, renewables in 2030 are likely to still be far from being a dominant energy resource. Their actual role and market share will be determined by the interplay of policy, economics, and innovation. There is not a single scenario for the future of renewables. Rather it is a narrative of very different technologies, each with its own story and its own distinctive prospects.


Super Continent: The Logic of Eurasian Integration by Kent E. Calder

3D printing, air freight, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, colonial rule, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, energy transition, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interest rate swap, intermodal, Internet of things, invention of movable type, inventory management, John Markoff, liberal world order, Malacca Straits, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, supply-chain management, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, trade route, transcontinental railway, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, union organizing, Washington Consensus, working-age population, zero-sum game

It also enhances the likelihood that continental interdependence itself will move forward when the centrally located nation is growing and politically influential. How strong today are these forces for integration, and where might they lead the continent? Those are the central questions that we now confront. The balance of this chapter considers the three most basic and dynamic sectoral catalysts for Eurasia’s deepening integration: energy, transit trade, and finance. Animating all three are even more elemental forces— economic growth and technological change. Both of these latent transformative agents have been unusually vigorous across the continent over the past three post– Cold War decades, with the Logistics, AI, and 5G Revolutions accelerating connectivity still further. Energy as a Force for Eurasian Transformation Eurasia is blessed, in the aggregate, with the largest energy reserves of any continent on earth.

Its policy direction, supported by the NDB, the Silk Road Fund, and other China-related institutions, helped encourage other mainstream financial institutions, including the ADB, to focus more and more on Eurasian connectivity.86 Project finance is thus now enabling the logic of Eurasian reconnection, already enhanced by the Logistics Revolution, to realize itself in unprecedented new ways. In Conclusion Eurasia has undergone a profound transformation over the past quarter century, becoming an increasingly integrated and interactive chessboard, albeit 98 chapter 4 one on which important political, social, and economic differences still remain. The three most important drivers of this transformation have been energy, transit trade, and finance. Together, they have fostered deepening economic interdependence across Eurasia, including more concentrated transit trade and production networks linking China and Europe. These networks potentially hold long-term significance for global geopolitics, and for global governance as well. In hydrocarbons, there are three important dimensions to Eurasian transcontinental interdependence: (1) between Asia and the Persian Gulf, (2) between Russia and Europe, and (3) between Asia and the FSU (both Russia and Central Asian energy producers like Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan).


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

Accident Analysis and Prevention 35, 557–570. Elvik, R (2008) Road safety management by objectives: a critical analysis of the Norwegian approach, Accident Analysis and Prevention 40 (2008), 1115-1122. Elvik, R and Amundsen A H (2000) Improving road safety in Sweden. Main report. TOI Report 490, Oslo Institute of Transport Economics. Ethics Commission for a Safe Energy Supply (2011), Germany’s Energy Transition: A Collective Endeavour for the Future, German Federal Government, Berlin, 30 May 2011. EUROCONTROL (2008) Long-Term Forecast Flight Movements 2010 – 2030. European Commission (1999) EU focus on clean air. European Commission (2009) European Air Traffic Management Master Plan, European Commission, SESAR and EUROCONTROL. European Commission (2012) EU transport in figures. Statistical pocketbook.


pages: 263 words: 79,016

The Sport and Prey of Capitalists by Linda McQuaig

anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, carbon footprint, clean water, diversification, Donald Trump, energy transition, financial innovation, Kickstarter, Menlo Park, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, payday loans, profit motive, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, union organizing

Washington’s failure to invest significantly on the green front in recent years has been mostly due to the enormous clout of the fossil fuel industry, which feels threatened by the prospect of a green energy revolution. “Energy markets are dominated by some of the largest and most powerful companies on the planet, which are generally not driven to innovate,” writes Mazzucato. “Leaving direction setting to ‘the market’ only ensures that the energy transition will be put off until fossil fuel prices reach economy-wrecking highs.” In November 2018, Detroit-based General Motors dealt a staggering blow to 2,700 Canadian workers when it announced plans leading to the closure of a key automotive assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario. In its heyday decades earlier, GM Oshawa had been the largest auto complex in North America and had employed twenty-three thousand workers.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms

Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, land reform, light touch regulation, loss aversion, mega-rich, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working-age population

A key test is how, in economically stressed times, affordable finance can be made available in a targeted way to kick-start new, low-carbon, energy, transport, food and housing sectors. One useful precedent is the example of South Korea. Over years it channelled lines of low-cost credit to key parts of its economy. The success of this, policy can be measured in the fact that the sections of South Korea’s industry that benefited are now ‘world leaders’. 17 Pay for energy transition and fuel poverty: a windfall tax on the unearned profits of the fossil fuel companies to provide a safety net for those in fuel poverty, and to help finance the UK’s transition to clean energy Fossil fuels are an unrepeatable windfall from nature, yet the UK government has so far failed adequately to take advantage of its income from oil to prepare for a lowcarbon future. Norway, by contrast, has used its oil surpluses to help create a safety net for future generations that is today worth around €260 billion (£198 billion).


pages: 257 words: 94,168

Oil Panic and the Global Crisis: Predictions and Myths by Steven M. Gorelick

California gold rush, carbon footprint, energy security, energy transition, flex fuel, income per capita, invention of the telephone, meta analysis, meta-analysis, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, statistical model, Thomas Malthus

The transition will be difficult, and for some catastrophic’ with ‘major economic and political discontinuity’ globally and ‘great suffering’ (Campbell, 1997, p. 177).”11 • “Intervention by governments will be required, because the economic and social implications of oil peaking would otherwise be chaotic. … The world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary. Previous energy transitions (wood to coal and coal to oil) were gradual and evolutionary; oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary. … Without mitigation, the peaking of world oil production will almost certainly cause major economic upheaval.”12 The Oil Panics of 1916 and 1918 One of the first major oil depletion scares occurred near the turn of the last century. The Ford Model T automobile was a novelty in 1908, with sales of just 10,000 cars.


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Nonrenewable Resources and Environmental Damage McKenzie Funk, Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, Portfolio, 2014. Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change, Bloomsbury, 2006. J. R. McNeill, Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000. Peter Maass, Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, Allen Lane, 2009. Vaclav Smil, Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects, Praeger, 2010. Steven Solomon, Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilisation, Harper Perennial, 2010. Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review, Cambridge University Press, 2007. Alan Weisman, The World without Us, Picador, 2007. Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, Touchstone Books, 1991. ——, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, Penguin, 2011.


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

As these demonstrations grew and turned violent, the government backed down, announcing a (perhaps indefinite) delay in imposing the tax. France’s neighbor Germany is also running into problems as it works to combat global warming, and its troubles highlight an important failure at the intersection of public awareness and responsive government. Germany has embarked on an ambitious Energiewende—literally, a national “energy transition”—away from fossil fuels and toward renewables. However, the results to date have been unimpressive: electricity prices for consumers have doubled since 2000, and carbon emissions have been flat or increasing in recent years (after decreasing substantially for more than a decade after 1990). Why is this? In part because while Germany has invested heavily in expensive wind and solar power, the country has also been steadily moving away from nuclear power, decommissioning existing plants and not building new ones.I As nuclear capacity decreases, the country must rely on high-carbon coal plants to generate electricity when winds aren’t high or the sun isn’t shining (and Germany is not a sunny place).


pages: 279 words: 90,888

The Lost Decade: 2010–2020, and What Lies Ahead for Britain by Polly Toynbee, David Walker

banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, call centre, car-free, centre right, collective bargaining, congestion charging, corporate governance, crony capitalism, David Attenborough, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy transition, Etonian, first-past-the-post, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global village, high net worth, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Dyson, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, moral panic, mortgage debt, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pension reform, quantitative easing, Right to Buy, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, smart meter, Uber for X, urban renewal, working-age population

Some 800 projects already have planning permission, but they will generate only two-thirds of the electricity the (highly uncertain rebuild of the) Wylfa nuclear plant in Anglesey would produce. Wind capacity needs to grow by a factor of nine, which means a lot more turbines, both on- and offshore. The possibilities are hotly disputed; the equation has to include back-up generation and storage, which awaits better battery technology. Cue massive public investment. Land, Sea and Air Markets don’t work alone. The need for the state to shape the energy transition is echoed in other spheres, if necessary overriding individual owners of property to secure the greater good. The planning profession has suffered grievously, especially in town halls, and needs to be remotivated. Victoria Hills, chief of its institute, said, ‘Places that put planning at the heart of their corporate strategy are successful places to live, yet our research uncovers a prevailing sense that council planners face huge challenges to their ability to plan effectively in the public interest.’


pages: 363 words: 101,082

Earth Wars: The Battle for Global Resources by Geoff Hiscock

Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, Bakken shale, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, butterfly effect, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, flex fuel, global rebalancing, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban decay, WikiLeaks, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

Mexico is the world’s sixth-largest oil producer, and its giant Cantarell field in the Gulf of Campeche was second only to Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar field at peak production in the early 2000s. Turkey is the odd man out when it comes to energy resources; it must import 90 percent of its energy, mainly from Russia and Iran. But it does have its own special resource—water, or, more properly, the control of the water that flows from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers into Syria and Iraq. It is also an important energy transit point between suppliers in Central Asia and their key European markets, giving it a degree of influence as an alternative supply route to those offered by Russia. Plus, there is the likelihood it will seek a role in how the energy reserves of the eastern Mediterranean—essentially the oil and gas fields discovered between Israel, Lebanon, and Cyprus—are developed. Their growth outlook makes our four-member TIIM potentially an attractive target for resource-hungry China and India, though the sanctions on Iran limit the investment opportunities there.


Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Flynn Effect, Google Earth, Hyperloop, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, life extension, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart meter, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, supervolcano, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Y2K, yield curve

These researchers found that by 2050, solar energy could provide 69 percent of our power and wind energy another 18 percent, with the rest coming mostly from hydroelectric dams. In the process, we’d create thirty-six million new jobs and the cost per megawatt hour would drop from the present eighty-two dollars to sixty-one dollars. The study’s lead author, Christian Breyer, put it like this: “Energy transition is no longer a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but of political will.”8 Other economists insist it would be cheaper and faster if there were some nuclear power in the mix, but the bottom line is fairly clear. If human beings wanted to, they could figure out how to extricate us from the climate mess by producing most of our energy from the wind and the sun. There’s probably no single step that would do more to prolong the human game another generation, to pass the (solar) torch on to our kids and grandkids.


pages: 343 words: 101,563

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

That market logic was probably always shortsighted, but over the last several years, as the cost of adaptation in the form of green energy has fallen so dramatically, the equation has entirely flipped: we now know that it will be much, much more expensive to not act on climate than to take even the most aggressive action today. If you don’t think of the price of a stock or government bond as an insurmountable barrier to the returns you’ll receive, you probably shouldn’t think of climate adaptation as expensive, either. In 2018, one paper calculated the global cost of a rapid energy transition, by 2030, to be negative $26 trillion—in other words, rebuilding the energy infrastructure of the world would make us all that much money, compared to a static system, in only a dozen years. Every day we do not act, those costs accumulate, and the numbers quickly compound. Hsiang, Burke, and Miguel draw their 50 percent figure from the very high end of what’s possible—truly a worst-case scenario for economic growth under the sign of climate change.


pages: 335 words: 96,002

WEconomy: You Can Find Meaning, Make a Living, and Change the World by Craig Kielburger, Holly Branson, Marc Kielburger, Sir Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, blood diamonds, business intelligence, business process, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, energy transition, family office, future of work, global village, inventory management, James Dyson, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, pre–internet, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, working poor, Y Combinator

Carbon War Room: This group was founded in 2009 by Richard Branson and a team of like-minded entrepreneurs wanting to speed up the adoption of market-based solutions to climate change. In December 2014, Carbon War Room (CWR) merged with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a U.S.-based NGO dedicated to transforming global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. Together, they work across all energy sectors to accelerate the energy transition and reduce carbon emissions. The B Team: See the chapter “People Are Your Purpose” for more information. Memories in the making. 3 Generations Celebrating Virgin Unite's 10th Birthday Conclusion The Weconomy Needs You By Craig Kielburger, Holly Branson, and Marc Kielburger We'll finish where we started, with this promise: In the WEconomy, you can make money and change the world—you can make money by changing the world.


The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa by Calestous Juma

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, business climate, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, conceptual framework, creative destruction, double helix, energy security, energy transition, global value chain, income per capita, industrial cluster, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land tenure, M-Pesa, microcredit, mobile money, non-tariff barriers, off grid, out of africa, precision agriculture, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, total factor productivity, undersea cable

The West African Power Pool organization has been created to integrate the national power system operations into a unified regional electricity market—with the expectation that such a mechanism would, over the medium to long term, assure the citizens of ECOWAS member states a stable and reliable electricity supply at affordable costs.11 This will create a level playing field, facilitating the balanced development of the diverse energy resources of ECOWAS member states for their collective economic benefit, through long-term energy sector cooperation, unimpeded energy transit, and increased cross-border electricity trade. The major sources of electricity under the power pool would be hydroelectricity and gas to fuel thermal stations. Hydropower would be mainly generated on the Niger (Nigeria), Volta (Ghana), Bafing (Mali), and Bandama (Côte d’Ivoire) rivers. The World Bank has committed a $350-million line of credit for the development of the WAPP, but a billion more is needed in public and private financing.


pages: 289 words: 112,697

The new village green: living light, living local, living large by Stephen Morris

back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cleantech, collective bargaining, Columbine, Community Supported Agriculture, computer age, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Firefox, index card, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, McMansion, Menlo Park, Negawatt, off grid, peak oil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review

And that reduction is made much harder by the fact that it is needed at just the moment that China and India have begun to burn serious quantities of fossil fuel as their economies grow. Not, of course, American quantities – each of us uses on average eight times the energy that a Chinese citizen does – but relatively serious quantities nonetheless. Kelly Sims Gallagher, one of the savviest early analysts of climate policy, has devoted the last few years to understanding the Chinese energy transition. Now the director of the Energy Technology Innovation Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School, she has just published a fascinating account of the rise of the Chinese auto industry. Her research makes it clear that neither American industry nor the American government did much of anything to point the Chinese away from our addiction to gasguzzling technology; indeed, Detroit (and the Europeans and Japanese to a lesser extent) was happy to use decades-old designs and processes.


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

Rising Oil Price Threatens Fragile Recovery Financial Times. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/056db69c-1836-11e0-88c9-00144feab49a.html#axzz1IagH4LTi. 15.Ibid. 16.Wolf, M. (2011, January 4). In the Grip of a Great Convergence. Financial Times. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/072c87e6-1841-11e0-88c9-00144feab49a.html#axzz1IagH4LTi. 17.Ibid. 18.Ibid. 19.Edwards, J. (2002, March 14). [E-mail message to Jeremy Rifkin]; Edwards, John D. Twenty-First Century Energy: transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable, Non-polluting Energy Sources. University of Colorado, Department of Geological Sciences—EMARC. April 2001. 20.Rich, M., Rampell, C., & Streitfeld, D., (2011, February 25). Rising Oil Prices Pose New Threat to U.S. Economy. New York Times, p. A1. 21.Farchy, J., & Hook, L., (2011, February 25). Supply Fears and Parallels with Gulf War Spook Market. Financial Times, p. 3. 22.Su, B.


pages: 423 words: 118,002

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World by Russell Gold

accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, activist lawyer, addicted to oil, American energy revolution, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, corporate governance, corporate raider, energy security, energy transition, hydraulic fracturing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), margin call, market fundamentalism, Mason jar, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Project Plowshare, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Upton Sinclair

Armstrong and his followers may have been trying to build in the wilderness a new city that glorified God, but local officials held a different view of real estate. They believed that Sullivan County was there to be worked. Small subsistence farmers were settling all over the county, clearing out the hemlock forest to harvest the bark, which was used in nearby tanneries. Soon railroads would enter the county, to transport its coal north and blocks of ice south. The United States was in the midst of an energy transition; coal would soon displace wood as America’s primary fuel and fire the nation’s industrialization. Pennsylvania embraced its role as a resource provider and became a leading producer of coal, iron, steel, timber, and petroleum. Sullivan County required tax revenue to build roads and supply services to its population, which increased by nearly half between 1860 and 1880. By 1876, the Sullivan County treasurer had begun to demand Celestia’s back taxes, but Armstrong refused to pay.


pages: 403 words: 111,119

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

UNEP (2016) Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity: A Report of the International Resource Panel, available at: http://www.uneplive.org/material#.V1rkAeYrLIG 8. Goodall, C. (2012) Sustainability. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 9. Global Footprint Network (2016) ‘National Footprint Accounts’, available at: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/footprint_data_and_results/ 10. Heinrich Böll Foundation (2012) ‘Energy transition: environmental taxation’, available at: http://energytransition.de/2012/10/environmental-taxation/ 11. California Environmental Protection Agency (2016) ‘Cap-and-Trade Program’, available at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/capandtrade.htm 12. Schwartz, D. ‘Water pricing in two thirsty cities: in one, guzzlers pay more, and use less’, New York Times 6 May 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/business/energy-environment/water-pricing-in-two-thirsty-cities.html?


Innovation and Its Enemies by Calestous Juma

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deskilling, disruptive innovation, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, global value chain, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, smart grid, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick

In fact, many of the concerns expressed about the Green Revolution turned out to be justified. His interest, however, was in increasing agricultural yields. It was an act of political courage that paid off with regard to the objectives he set out to achieve. As national and global challenges mount, so too will the demand for decisive leaders to champion the application of new technologies. There are two examples that offer diverse needs for leadership. The first is the field of energy transitions. A variety of concerns such as climate change and international security call into question the continued use of fossil fuels. Much of this debate has occurred under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Reaching agreement on climate presupposes the existence of sovereign champions willing to promote the adoption of renewable energy technologies and other climate mitigation measures.


pages: 433 words: 127,171

The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke

addicted to oil, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, demand response, dematerialisation, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, full employment, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Menlo Park, Negawatt, new economy, off grid, post-oil, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, the built environment, too big to fail, washing machines reduced drudgery, Whole Earth Catalog

They do change with time, but it is a glacial kind of change characterized by recalcitrance and torpor. Nor should we be surprised that these behemoths of old power are unwilling to embrace a transformation that will quite likely put them out of business. In this they are no different from any company—though it is easy to valorize smaller more innovative endeavors—none of them commit suicide on purpose. Maneuvering to capture market share is a big part of what is driving the energy transition, and it is in a constant state of vacillation. One step forward, two steps back, we lurch rather than cruise into the future. The changes to our grid will not happen overnight, but they are already far enough along to be rightly considered irreversible. As the first decade of the twenty-first century crested, making power from renewable sources shifted from a nice idea and a minor player on the electricity scene into the mainstream.


pages: 497 words: 150,205

European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics Are in a Mess - and How to Put Them Right by Philippe Legrain

3D printing, Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, cleantech, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, Diane Coyle, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, eurozone crisis, fear of failure, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, interest rate derivative, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Irish property bubble, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, liquidity trap, margin call, Martin Wolf, mittelstand, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, peer-to-peer rental, price stability, private sector deleveraging, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, Richard Florida, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, savings glut, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, working-age population, Zipcar

On the contrary, they benefited from ultra-low interest rates as capital fled southern Europe. Since early 2012 Germany has been able to borrow for ten years at negative interest rates, after allowing for inflation, and it faced very low interest rates before that. It was an ideal opportunity to invest in upgrading the country’s rundown infrastructure, in the clean energy needed to realise Merkel’s desired “energy transition” (Energiewende) and more generally in future growth. This would also have helped offset the squeeze on demand in southern Europe – by providing a growing market for southern European exports and those of other countries to which southern Europe might export, a role that southern Europe played for Germany in the pre-crisis years. Instead, Germany adopted austerity too.243 Merkel’s unforced error has done great damage not just to southern Europe but also to Germany itself.


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

More generally, until the Paris Agreement in 2015, India had simply refused to contemplate limits on its own emissions, arguing that it could not afford to hinder its own economic growth and rich countries should bear the brunt of the adjustment. The position evolved when India ratified the Paris Agreement and came up with a concrete commitment, asking in exchange for some serious financial aid to afford the energy transition, to be financed from an international fund paid for by the rich countries. Although Indian emissions are not a large fraction of world emissions today, India will be a key player moving forward, as its growing middle class consumes more and more. And unlike the United States, a large part of its population will also be directly and severely affected by climate change, so it should be in a good place to understand the costs of today’s choices.


pages: 552 words: 168,518

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, buy and hold, car-free, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, old-boy network, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar

., “Medical bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a national study,” The American Journal of Medicine (August 2009). 10. Karen Pallarito, “Government to Pay for More Than Half of U.S. Health Care Costs,” U.S. News (February 4, 2010). 11. Geoffrey Lean, “Water scarcity ‘now bigger threat than financial crisis,’” The Independent (March 15, 2009). 12. Source: http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending. 13. Peter Voser, “Energy transition: not for the faint-hearted,” Globe and Mail (September 17, 2009). 14. Susan Kraemer, “China Now Spending $9 Billion a Month on Renewable Energy,” CleanTechnica (December 1, 2009). 15. The links between poverty and extremism are contentious, according to Ömer Tapinar, a professor of national security studies at the National War College and an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.


pages: 708 words: 176,708

The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire by Wikileaks

affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, energy transition, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, experimental subject, F. W. de Klerk, facts on the ground, failed state, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, high net worth, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, liberal world order, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game, éminence grise

The first two have been removed from the chessboard by American military power, and Syria is currently imploding in a civil war in which the US and its allies are playing a leading role. In a sense, Iran is the last man standing, although it has been badly weakened by US-led economic sanctions. The “Turkish pillar” has been a mainstay since the end of World War II. As one cable notes, “A stable Turkey is important to the United States mainly for geostrategic reasons. Turkey is situated amid the troubled Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East regions, and is a critical energy transit hub between Central Asia/the Caucasus and Europe” [CRSRL34642]. Turkey fields the largest army in NATO and bolsters the alliance’s southern border with Russia. For several years, US Jupiter medium-range missiles carrying nuclear warheads fifty times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb were deployed in the country. According to one cable, Turkey still hosts between fifty and ninety nuclear weapons.


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

Why we don’t run out of resources: Nordhaus 1974; Romer & Nelson 1996; Simon 1981; Stuermer & Schwerhoff 2016. 17. People don’t need resources: Deutsch 2011; Pinker 2002/2016, pp. 236–39; Ridley 2010; Romer & Nelson 1996. 18. Probability and solutions to human problems: Deutsch 2011. 19. The Stone Age quip is commonly attributed to Saudi oil minister Zaki Yamani in 1973; see “The End of the Oil Age,” The Economist, Oct. 23, 2003. Energy transitions: Ausubel 2007, p. 235. 20. Farming pivots: DeFries 2014. 21. Farming in the future: Brand 2009; Bryce 2014; Diamandis & Kotler 2012. 22. Future water: Brand 2009; Diamandis & Kotler 2012. 23. Environment is rebounding: Ausubel 1996, 2015; Ausubel, Wernick, & Waggoner 2012; Bailey 2015; Balmford 2012; Balmford & Knowlton 2017; Brand 2009; Ridley 2010. 24. Roser 2016f, based on data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. 25.