Mother Pelican
A Journal of Sustainable Human Development

Vol. 7, No. 9, September 2011
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
Home Page


Tactics for the Transition to Clean Energy


This new page is work in progress. The plan is to build a "one page synthesis" of tactics for the transition to clean energy.

1. Global Citizen Movements & The Widening Circle
2. Education for Sustainable Development
3. "Soft Means" to Advance Public Policy
4. Financial Transaction/Speculation Taxes
5. Shift to Land/Resource Value Taxes
6. Guaranteed Basic Personal Income
7. ISO Standards, Guidelines, and Best Practices
8. Transferring Subsidies from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy
9. Fostering Clean Energy Technologies

Methods for analysis of short-term tactical interdependencies include precedence diagrams, interdependency matrices, and optimization techniques such as linear programming. Software is readily available to do the number crunching. For example, the following is a block-triangular matrix derived from a square matrix of dependency relations for twenty transition policies:


Policies are described on the left column, and numbered 1 to 20. The matrix shows the twenty policies, with rows and columns reordered for time phasing and grouped by interdependencies. Numbers in the matrix cells indicate the degree of dependency of the row policy on the column policy (1=minimum, 9=maximum). The main sequencing of projects is shown down the diagonal. Blocks around the diagonal group policies that are tightly coupled and should be formulated simultaneously and managed concurrently to minimize costly iterations. Basically, the matrix provides visibility on the time-phasing of policy formulation and implementation so as to minimize costly delays. It would be critical to update the matrix frequently as requirements change over time.

The following are recent contributions to tactical optimization of energy systems:

Industrial Energy System Optimization, UNIDO (UN) web site as of 28 July 2011.
Industrial Energy Analysis & System Optimization, LBL (USA) web site as of 28 July 2011.
Industrial energy efficiency and systems optimization, REEEP-UNIDO, Module 17 as of 28 July 2011.
Energy Optimization in Process Systems, Stanislaw Sieniutycz and Jacek Jezowski, Elsevier, 2011.

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. Global Citizen Movements & The Widening Circle

"The term Global Citizens Movement (GCM) refers to a profound shift in values among an aware and engaged citizenry. Transnational corporations, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) remain powerful actors, but all of these are deeply influenced by a coherent, worldwide association of millions of people who call for priority to be placed on new vales of quality of life, human solidarity, and environmental sustainability. It is important to note that the GCM is a socio-political process rather than a political organization or party structure." Global Citizens Movement (GCM), Encyclopedia of Earth, November 2007.


Moving Planet - September 24th, 2011: A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

A high priority of global citizenship is education, either informally through personal contacts and public means of communication such as the internet, or more formally via programs sponsored by educational institutions.

2. Education for Sustainable Development

Worldwide education at all levels is crucial tactical requirement. UNESCO has a worldwide program, but universities and other educational institutions must contribute. Needless to say, the family is the best school of sustainable human development.


ESD best practices should include practical (and operationally tested) means to advance public policy for sustainable development.

3. "Soft Means" to Advance Public Policy

The so-called "soft means" to advance public policy adhere to the principle of nonviolence and are the methods of choice by "global citizen" organizations.


It is often the case that "soft methods" are not persuasive, and more tangible incentives (positive or negative, but always nonviolent) are appropriate. The following section is about reforming tax codes so as to mitigate greedy (and irresponsible) human behavior in financial markets.

4. Financial Transaction/Speculation Taxes

Financial transaction/speculation taxes are a disincentive to excessive greed in pursuing financial transactions of dubious social value, such as the so-called "financial derivatives."


The following section is about reforming tax codes so as to protect the integrity of the human habitat.

5. Shift to Land/Resource Value Taxes

There are taxes that focus on depletion of natural resources ("depleter pays principle") and/or the deterioration of natural resources ("polluter pays principle"). One key tax reform proposal that deserves further consideration is the "Land Value Tax" (LVT), originally proposed by American economist Henry George in 1879. The underlying concept is to shift tax burdens from earned incomes to unearned incomes.


Assuming that land/resource value taxes are set high enough that they yield a surplus of public revenue, how is this surplus to be distributed back to all citizens?

6. Guaranteed Basic Personal Income

Proposals to replace state welfare systems by universally guaranteed basic income:


Work dignifies the working person, and quality work even more so. This applies to all kinds of work, from the most humble to the most exalted. The objective of guaranteed basic income is not to induce laziness but to liberate people from a salary system that incentivizes conformance rather than creativity. To ensure that this is the case, quality standards are needed.

7. ISO Standards, Guidelines, and Best Practices

All humans have a propensity to cut corners. Regardless of how income is taxed (Section 5) and returned (Section 6) to tax payers, there is a continuing need for quality standards in all kinds of human work.


What about quality standards for financial institutions? ISO 9000 could be used, but it would seem that the financial services industry should have a dedicated five digit standard (such as the 50001 for energy).

8. Transferring Subsidies from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy

The transferring of subsidies from the fossil fuels industry to the clean energy industry is understandably a sensitive political issue. The fossil fuel industry is enormously powerful. The age of fossil fuels has practically run its course. However, the temptation to keep producing and using "cheap energy" is very strong regardless of environmental consequences. The United States of America has yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol because "it is bad for business." The "easy profits" derived from the exploding manipulation of worthless financial assets is also bad for business, but not yet recognized as such by the general public. Subsidies are tricky business, and there seems to be a paucity of expertise about the societal cost of subsidizing pollution-intensive industries.


Beyond taxes and subsidies, what are other ways to incentivize the development and commercialization of clean energy?

9. Fostering Clean Energy Technologies

There are many ways to skin a cat, and there are many ways to foster clean energy technologies:


|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

"Human development, if not engendered, is endangered."

UN Human Development Report, 1995


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 4      



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

Enter your email address: