Mother Pelican
A Journal of Sustainable Human Development

Vol. 7, No. 8, August 2011
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
Home Page


Strategies for the Transition to Clean Energy


This entire page is being reworked and is work in progress. The plan is to build a "one page synthesis" of strategies for the transition to clean energy.

1. Primacy of Human Development (Rights & Duties)
2. Integrity of the Human Habitat (Earth Charter)
3. Mitigation Strategies for Sustainable Human Development
4. Adaptation Strategies for Sustainable Human Development
5. Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence
6. Non-Renewable & Renewable Energy Resources
7. An Integrated Transition Strategy (2011-2050)
8. Variations of the Integrated Transition Strategy
9. Strategic Data Sources & Global Transition Megatrends

Methods for analysis of long-term transition strategies include system dynamics and agent-based simulation. Software is readily available to do the number crunching. For example, see these simulations derived from this causal-loop diagram of processes that generate economic growth and collapse.

At the strategic level, simulations provide a way to build scenarios for analysis and discussion pursuant to policy recommendations. It should be stressed that this kind of exercise has nothing to do with prediction of specific events. Models are usually built on soft data in order to include the decision functions that really matter. But these are not "problem-solving" models that produce "solutions" ready to be implemented. They are, however, instrumental for analysis and synthesis of policy issues when frequently revised as conditions change.


Due to the rapid succession of events related to sustainable development worldwide, the entire SDSIM simulation project is under review. It has been determined that the basic structure of the Version 1 series must be reworked to focus on the two sets of feedback loops that matter the most: human development (including gender equality) and the replacement of fossil fuels by clean energy. This will take time, and therefore there will be a hiatus between SDSIM 1.5 and the next series of simulations to start with SDSIM 2.0.

During the SDSIM model reformulation, this supplement will serve to keep track of significant social, economic, and technical developments related to clean energy. The latest SDSIM 1.5 documentation is available here, and the web-based version of the simulation model is available in the FORIO server.

The following are recent contributions to strategic modeling and simulation of energy systems:

Model for Energy Supply Strategy Alternatives and their General Environmental Impact, by IIASA
Web-based Model of Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies, by IIASA
Climate Rapid Overview and Decision-Support Simulator, by Climate Interactive
Simulating Energy Transitions and the Energy Market Game, by Delft University of Technology

To track knowledge evolution, the links within each section are listed in chronological order. To improve the content of this page, please send comments and suggestions to the Editor.

1. Primacy of Human Development (Rights & Duties)

As a matter of principle, any strategy for the transition to clean energy must recognize integral human development as the most fundamental requirement to guide both public and private initiatives. Integral human development builds on respect for human rights and diligence on human duties, both individually and institutionally. A fundamental document is The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved by the United Nations General Assembly 10 December 1948.


What is the root cause of human underdevelopment? Is it economic inequality or other forms of social inequality? Or is it the more fundamental phenomenon of gender inequality? Recent advances in anthropology, biology, and psychology lead to an improved understanding of human relations as influenced by gender and how they should evolve for the common good:

  • Each human person is unique, but all human beings share one and the same human nature.
  • "Genesis 1:27 observes that this essential truth about man refers both to the male and the female: "God created man in his own image ... male and female he created them. [...] The first human being the Bible calls "Man" ('adam), but from the moment of the creation of the first woman, it begins to call him "man" (ish) in relation to ishshah ("woman") because she was taken from the man = ish." John Paul II, exegesis of Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 in Original Unity of Man and Woman, 1981, pp. 23, 29.

  • Indeed, there are significant (and not only genital) differences between men and women.
  • "The "definitive" creation of man consists in the creation of the unity of two beings. Their unit denotes above all the identity of human nature: the duality, on the other hand, manifests what, on the basis of the identity, constitutes the masculinity and femininity of created man. This ontological dimension of unity and duality has, at the same time, an axiological meaning. [...] the "woman" is for the man, and vice versa, the "man" is for the woman [...] man became the "image and likeness" of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of persons which man and woman form right from the beginning. [...] essentially, an image of an inescrutable communion of Persons." John Paul II, exegesis of Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 in Original Unity of Man and Woman, 1981, pp. 70, 73-74.

  • But gender differences do not cancel the fundamental "unity in diversity" across the gender continuum.
  • "Patriarchy is an 'equal opportunity' destroyer of both women and men. As we recommend below, an inclusive gender perspective that takes into account patriarchy’s disadvantages to both men and women offers a unique opportunity to engage in transformational learning toward a peaceful, just and gender equal global order. We believe that a transformation process would require the extension of human rights standards intended to achieve gender justice to include all men and women of all sexualities, gender orientations and identities." Tony Jenkins and Betty A. Reardon, Gender and peace: towards a gender inclusive, holistic perspective, Metta Center for Nonviolence, November 2010.

  • Biologically, in terms of statistically significant propensities, men are generally "wired" to invade and conquer, while women are generally "wired" to nurture and stabilize.
  • " ... a tendency for males to band together and be easily roused to an aggressive group effort is innate. [...] This is overwhelmingly a male inclination. [...] But it is much harder to rouse great numbers of women to this state of aggression and harder still to keep them there because, on average, women find greater reinforcement in an environment that is not in turmoil. Because of genetic inclinations that are as deeply rooted as the bonding-for-aggression inclinations of men, mots women prefer to make or keep the peace, the sooner the better." Judith L. Hand, Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, 2003, pp.44-45.

  • Psychologically, there is woman in man ("anima") and there is man in woman ("animus").
  • "The most important contribution Jung makes in his concepts of the anima and the animus is to give us an idea of the polarity that exists within each of us. We are not homogeneous units of psychic life, but contain an inevitable opposition within the totality that makes up our being. There are opposites within us, call them what we like -- masculine and feminine, anima and animus, Yin and Yang -- and these are eternally in tension and are eternally trying to unite. The human soul is a great arena in which the Active and the Receptive, the Light and the Dark, the Yang and the Yin, seek to come together and forge within us an indescribable unity of personality. To achieve this union of the opposites within ourselves may very well be the task of life, requiring the utmost in perseverance and assiduous awareness. Usually men need women for this to come about, and women need men. And yet, ultimately the union of the opposites does not occur between a man who plays out the masculine and a woman who plays out the feminine, but within the being of each man and each woman in whom the opposites are finally conjoined." John Sanford, The Invisible Partners: How the Male and Female in each of Us Affects our Relationships, Paulist Press, 1980, page 112.

  • Healthy masculinity and femininity are mutually complementary, but not mutually exclusive.
  • "Corporality and sexuality are not completely identified. Although the human body, in its normal constitution, bears within it the sign of sex and is, by its nature, male or female, the fact, however, that man is a "body" belongs to the structure of the personal subject more deeply than the fact that he is in his somatic constitution also male or female." John Paul II, exegesis of Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 in Original Unity of Man and Woman, 1981, p. 62.

  • Human development leads men to become more nurturing and women to become more aggressive.
  • "Christ embodies the ideal of human perfection: in Him all bias and defects are removed, and the masculine and feminine virtues are united and their weaknesses redeemed; therefore, His true followers will be progressively exalted over their natural limitations. That is why we see in holy men a tenderness and a truly maternal solicitude for the souls entrusted to them while in holy women there is manly boldness, proficiency, and determination." Edith Stein, Collected Works of Edith Stein - Essays On Woman, ICS Publications, 1987.

  • However, for the vast majority of men and women, biology prevails over psychology in driving behavior.
  • " ... while human males may have evolved under an imperative to invade and conquer, a basic reproductive imperative for females has been to do whatever they can to foster social stability. Also that a female inclination to facilitate social stability is as deeply evolved in humans as the well-known and frequently discussed male inclination for group aggression.

    "This is why a world with fully empowered women sharing with men in decisions regarding war would be more socially stable: because of a female's unavoidable and costly commitment to her offspring, the future of the species, basic human female biological priorities are different from those of males.

    "These differences are not cultural. Their origins are deeply rooted in our evolutionary past. We inherit them from our pre-human primate ancestors. Given free rein and uncurbed by social or ecological forces, these opposed tendencies—with males ready to bond together in acts of aggression and females more inclined to seek social stability—will play themselves out in our group behavior." Judith L. Hand, Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, 2003, pp.28-29.

  • Thus the criticality of gender balance in roles of responsibility and authority in both society and religion.
  • The criticality of gender balance in social institutions has received extensive attention in response to the first and second waves of feminism. Not so the even more critical issue of gender balance in religious institutions, which are notorius for a high degree of resistance to change. But the history of Christianity (see, for example, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, Viking, 2010), and the history of all patriarchal religions, provide ample evidence that the lack of gender balance in roles of religious responsibility and authority inevitably leads to violence, physical and otherwise. At a time when the old misconceptions about the superiority of men (and inferiority of women) have become utterly discredited by science and common sense, it is criminal for religious institutions to perpetuate such practices as excluding women from ordained ministry under the pretense of fidelity to literalist interpretations of patriarchal texts and traditions; an exclusion which is theologically baseless and does harm to the integral development of both men and women. Perpetuation of this nefarious practice cannot possibly be God's will.

Gender equality, and gender balance in roles of responsibility and authority, are essential for

  • Long-term sustainable human development
  • A civilized transition from consumerism to sustainability
  • A civilized transition from fossil fuels to clean energy

Since integral human development cannot possibly be sustainable in a vacuum, it follows that, in conjunction with gender balance, good care must be taken of the human habitat - planet Earth.

2. Integrity of the Human Habitat (Earth Charter)

Human development cannot happen in a vacuum. Therefore, maintaining the integrity of the human habitat is essential for sustainable human development. A fundamental document is The Earth Charter, approved by the Earth Charter Commission 29 June 2000 after 5 years of preparation and worldwide consultations.


There are two broad strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of the human habitat: mitigation and adaptation.

3. Mitigation Strategies for Sustainable Human Development

Mitigation strategies attempt to reduce the rate of natural resource depletion and other negative impacts of economic activity on the human habitat.



There is increasing consensus that mitigation strategies, no matter how helpful, will not be sufficient. Adaptation of human attitudes and social behavior will be required to ensure long-term sustainability.

4. Adaptation Strategies for Sustainable Human Development

Adaptation strategies attempt to reverse environmental degradation by changing patterns of human behavior regarding production and consumption of goods and services.


Assuring the effectiveness of mitigation and adaptation strategies will require a radical upgrade in the quality of human relations.

5. Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence

Transitioning from consumerism to sustainability will require shifting gears in many significant ways. The following principles will be instrumental in attaining the transition to clean energy.


6. Non-Renewable & Renewable Energy Resources

Continued use and abuse of non-renewable energy sources is unsustainable. In the long-term, renewable energy sources will be indispensable.


With human willingness in one hand and technical innovation in the other, it is possible to integrate the behavioral and technical sides of the transition puzzle.

7. An Integrated Transition Strategy (2011-2050)

This is an updated version of the proposed transition concept (for the previous version, see the July 2011 issue.

The following acronyms, and terminology are used in this transition concept and subsequent discussion:
Financial Transaction Tax (FTT)
Global Citizens Movement (GCM)
Human Development (HD)
Human Development Index (HDI)
Human Development Report (HDR)
Integral Human Development (IHD)
International Standards Organization (ISO)
Land Value Tax (LVT) or Resource Value Tax (RVT)
Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs (MASLOW)
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
Principle of Solidarity (SOLIDARITY)
Principle of Subsidiarity (SUBSIDIARITY)
Principle of Sustainability (SUSTAINABILITY)
Sustainable Development (SD)
Sustainable Human Development (SHD)
Triple Bottom Line (TBL)

A brief synopsis of each phase of the transition concept is provided below:

  • The first phase (2011-2020) is concientization to enable incentivation
  • The objective is to create widespread popular support for the required revisions of tax codes and energy subsidies. In other words, the first phase is about creating a collective mindset of global citizenship and social responsibility, strong enough to translate into political will to face the inevitable transition and implement required reforms. Gender equality is key.

  • The second phase (2021-2030) is incentivation to enable redistribution
  • The objective is to reform tax codes and energy subsidies to expedite the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Applicable reforms include shifting taxes from earned income to the usage (extraction) of unearned resources and the release of pollution, as well as taxing financial transactions of dubious social value.

  • The third phase (2031-2040) is redistribution to enable democratization
  • The objective is to institutionalize democracy with distributive justice. Applicable reforms include adopting a Universally Guaranteed Personal Income (i.e., a basic minimum income rather than a minimum wage) and a Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth (i.e., an upper limit on financial wealth accumulation) that can be democratically adjusted periodically.

  • The fourth phase (2041-2050) is worldwide democratization
  • The objective is democratization of global, national, and local governance with widely institutionalized implementation of the solidarity, subsidiarity, and sustainability principles. Decisions are to be made at the lowest possible level consistent with governance capabilities and the common good of the global commonwealth.


  • The four phases are not envisioned to be strictly sequential. They most probably will overlap, with recursions and convulsions along the way.
  • The term "gender equality" is not to be understood as "gender uniformity." By gender equality is meant equality of dignity and personal development opportunities across the entire gender continuum. In other words, full equality in all dimensions of human life: physical, intellectual, psychological, vocational, spiritual.
  • A menu of possible actions to foster gender equality is still TBD, but fostering gender equality (100% participation) will be crucial in all four phases and beyond. It is anticipated that action items pursuant to overcoming patriarchy would include:
    • National movements such as the Equal Rights Ammendment in the USA.
    • Regional programs such as the European Institute for Gender Equality.
    • International programs such as the UN MDGs, ESD, CEDAW, and UNWOMEN.
    • Support initiatives in secular institutions (pay gap, gender quotas, etc).
    • Support initiatives in religious institutions (women in roles of religious authority).
    • Research on issues of human sexuality and gender equality.
    • Research on patriarchy, linguistics, human languages, and gender equality.
  • The term "clean energy" is to be understood as "clean renewable energy" that is naturally replenished and does not produce GHG emissions when used. It does not include absurdities such as "clean coal."
  • The menu of possible actions offered to foster clean energy is not presumed to be complete or definitive. Various mixes of monetary and fiscal policies are possible top down, and an incalculable number of bottom up initiatives are bound to emerge. However, the following fiscal and monetary policies are strongly recommended:
    • Definition and implementation of appropriate financial speculation taxes as soon as possible (catastrophe prevention).
    • Bailouts of any kind of institution via money supply mechanisms are to be made illegal as soon as possible (catastrophe prevention).
    • A radical shift of tax burdens from the middle class to the very rich (distributive justice).
    • A radical shift from taxing income to taxing resource usage and unabated pollution (ecological justice).
    • A radical shift from social welfare programs to basic income and help-yourself programs (distributive justice).
    • A gradual shift from "international development assistance" to global equity practices (restorative justice).
    • A gradual evolution toward the minimal required form of environmental/resource global governance (sustainability assurance).
  • It is understood that other factors or combinations of factors may be necessary and/or sufficient for the transition:
    • Education on nonviolence, solidarity, subsidiarity, sustainability, and other best practices to foster a civilized transition.
    • Zero tolerance of war, genocide, and other forms of institutionalized violence at any level of governance.
    • Protection of human rights and sustainable human development to become top priorities at all levels of governance.
    • Technology and industrial production are to be at the service of human development, not the other way around.
    • Inter-industry collaboration pursuant to maximum pollution mitigation during the transition.
    • Inter-industry adaptation of products and technologies in transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy.
    • Consumption mitigation and adaptation to pollution-free and climate-friendly goods and services.
  • However, the combination of gender equality and clean energy is proposed as the necessary and sufficient driver for the transition, and are expected to have a multiplying effect throughout the global human system.


There can be many variations of any conceivable transition scenario. Some of the variations being investigated are identified in the following section.

8. Variations of the Integrated Transition Strategy

In terms of the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, there seems to be a convergence of outlook that is shared by business, agencies, and NGOs. For example, the following table juxtaposes the latest transition projections by British Petroleum (BP), the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The time windows are not the same, and the energy units are defined differently, but the patterns of energy substitution are similar albeit with the BP outlook being most pessimistic, and the WWF outlook being most optimistic, about replacing fossil fuels by clean energy. The objective of the strategy proposed in Section 7 is to enable the WWF scenario.

Energy in Billion TOE
BP Outlook 1990-2030
For larger image, see BP page 16
Energy in Quadrillion BTU
EIA Outlook 1980-2035
For larger image, see EIA page 63
Energy in EJ/a
WWF Outlook 2000-2050
For larger image, see WWF page 92

The following variations are being considered for the 2011-2050 time window:

  • Variations on fossil fuel reserves and the timing of "peak oil"
  • Variations on the timing and intensity of climate changes
  • Variations on the performance, schedule, and cost of clean energy
  • Variations on the human propensity to consume
  • Variations on the human propensity to adapt
  • Variations on the world financial system (speculation, regulation)
  • Variations on the pace of progress in secular gender equality
  • Variations on the pace of progress in religious gender equality
The current plan is to formulate and explore these variations with SDSIM 2.0.

9. Strategic Data Sources & Global Transition Megatrends

Listed below are links to the best data and knowledge sources in two categories: strategic data sources and global transition megatrends.


The precision and accuracy of the data sources listed above span the entire spectrum from "very soft" to "somewhat credible." The visible megatrends are highly aggregated and therefore less sensitive to data collection inadequacies. Still invisible is the most critical megatrend toward gender equality/gender balance in roles of responsibility and authority.

|Back to the SUMMARY|

|Back to SECTION 1|     |Back to SECTION 2|     |Back to SECTION 3|
|Back to SECTION 4|     |Back to SECTION 5|     |Back to SECTION 6|
|Back to SECTION 7|     |Back to SECTION 8|     |Back to SECTION 9|

Page 1      Page 2      Page 3      Page 4      Page 5      Page 6      Page 7      Page 8      Page 9

Supplement 1      Supplement 2      Supplement 3      Supplement 4      Supplement 5      Supplement 6

PelicanWeb Home Page

Bookmark and Share

"The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit."

Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma)


Write to the Editor
Send email to Subscribe
Send email to Unsubscribe
Link to the Google Groups Website
Link to the PelicanWeb Home Page


Creative Commons License

Supplement 3      



Subscribe to the
Mother Pelican Journal
via the Solidarity-Sustainability Group

Enter your email address: