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Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2013
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
Home Page

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Short-Term Strategies for Sustainable Energy

SUMMARY & OUTLINE

This new page is work in progress. The plan is to build a "one page synthesis" on short-term tactics and strategies for the transition to clean energy.

1. Global Citizen Movements & The Occupy Movement
2. Education for Sustainable Development
3. Net Energy and Energy Return on Investment (EROI)
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 and Deploying Clean Energy Technologies
STATEMENT BY THE U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL

"For most of the last century, economic growth was fuelled by what seemed to be a certain truth: the abundance of natural resources. We mined our way to growth. We burned our way to prosperity. We believed in consumption without consequences. Those days are gone. In the twenty-first century, supplies are running short and the global thermostat is running high. Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete. It has rendered it extremely dangerous. Over time, that model is a recipe for national disaster. It is a global suicide pact." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the World Economic Forum session on redefining sustainable development, Davos, Switzerland, 28 January 2011. For the complete text, click here.

ANALYSIS & SYNTHESIS OF SHORT-TERM STRATEGIES

Methods for analysis of short-term strategies include precedence diagrams, interdependency matrices, and optimization techniques such as linear programming. Software is readily available to do the number crunching.

The following are recent contributions to short-term improvement of energy systems:

Industrial Energy System Optimization, UNIDO web site as of 26 february 2012.
Energy Management Standards, UNIDO web site as of 26 february 2012.
Management System for Energy (ISO 50000), UNIDO web site as of 26 february 2012.
Stability criteria for complex ecosystems, Stefano Allesina & Si Tang, Nature, 19 February 2012.
Considering the energy, water and food nexus: Towards an integrated modelling approach, Morgan Bazilian et al., Energy Policy, 21 October 2011.
Reinventing Fire: Blueprint to the new energy era, Rocky Mountain Institute, 15 October 2011.
Simulation of Energy Transitions, Emile Chappin, Delft University, 16 June 2011.

1. Global Citizen Movements & The Occupy Movement

"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.

KEY LINKS:

PEOPLE'S ACTION AT THE EARTH SUMMIT

Occupy Rio+20 - People’s Petition
OCCUPYRIO+20BANNER170.jpg
Source: Occupy Rio+20

We, members of the Occupy movement and civil society, highlight the critical window of opportunity at the Earth Summit to vastly scale up political, financial & public response to the environmental, social & economic crisis of our time, & to raise ambition to the level that science demands. We are exceeding 3 of 9 planetary boundaries (climate change; biodiversity loss; changes to the nitrogen cycle) and our economy has outgrown the ecosystems we depend on. We denounce debt-created money and demand urgent regulation for a steady-state economy. We vow to respect and protect the beauty and diversity of life on Earth, realising our interconnectedness with nature. Governments, corporations and financial institutions must wake up and dramatically prioritise people & the planet over abusive exploitation for short-term profit & “growth”.

In defence of our rights, freedoms & future, we call for:

1. A direct participatory democratic UN: inclusive rights-based global decision-making; open-source communications. Prioritise youth, women, marginalised voices & civil society formally in negotiations.

2. Ending corporate capture of the UN: end compromising partnerships & transfer of officials. Exclude business lobbyists from talks. Expose & prohibit the bullying & bribing of poor nations by rich nations.

3. Realisation of new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by increased cooperation, commitment, funding & resources, strengthening the Millennium Goals (MDGs) & cancelling unjust poor country debt.

4. Peace & demilitarization, democratising the UN Security Council, a binding global arms treaty, SDG on peace & conflict, nuclear disarmament by 2030 & transfer funds to local sustainable development.

5. A Financial Transaction Tax, abolition of tax havens & a Global Carbon Fee on extraction of fuels, to transparently & equitably fund life-saving adaptation solutions, prioritising resilience & climate justice.

6. Ending fossil fuel subsidies now & extraction by 2020. Invest in non-nuclear Renewable Energy for All: global wind/solar/small-hydro/geo-energy; efficient stoves; zero carbon global electricity by 2030.

7. Outlawing Ecocide as the 5th International Crime Against Peace: prosecute destruction of ecosystems e.g. tar sands, oil spills, mountaintop removal, fracking. Protect the commons & Rights of Mother Earth.

8. Zero deforestation of Amazon rainforest by 2015 & globally by 2020. Rejection of pricing & trading nature, including forests, water & the atmosphere; and rejection of offsetting damage/destruction.

9. Food & water sovereignty & security. Ban land grabs. Protect Indigenous peoples’ land rights. Switch support for biofuels & industrial, chemical & GM agriculture to small organic farming & permaculture.

10. Indicators beyond GDP: measure wellbeing, participation, environmental health, socio-economic equity, gender equality, employment, provision for needs/services, protection of rights, & peace.

This is what democracy looks like. This is Harmony with Nature. This is the Future We Need for a just, resilient, thriving world. Join Global Days of Action on June 5th & 20th to raise our voice to challenge & bring hope to Rio+20.

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. At a time when both developed and developing nations seem to be engulfed in political and financial corruption, education in noviolence is especially important. If a global revolution is coming, let it be a nonviolent revolution!

If a global revolution is coming, let it be a nonviolent revolution!


2. Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) worldwide - at all levels - is a high priority. UNESCO has a worldwide program, but universities and other educational institutions must contribute. The family is the best school of sustainable human development.

KEY LINKS:

RECENT:

ESD best practices should include practical (and field tested) means to advance public policy for sustainable development. It is hoped that ESD will overcome the ambiguity of the term "sustainable development" to make it clear that infinite growth in a finite planet is a practical impossibility in the long-term. What really matters going forward is "sustainable human development."


3. Net Energy and Energy Return on Investment (EROI)

DEFINITIONS

At each point in the energy supply chain:

NET ENERGY = ENERGY GAINED - ENERGY SPENT
(in energy units, eg., MegaJoules)

ENERGY RETURN ON INVESTMENT = ENERGY GAINED / ENERGY SPENT
(dimensionless ratio)

Thus, Net Energy and Energy Return on Investment (EROI) -- or Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) -- are conceptually the same measure. Generally, EROI is closely correlated with "financial return on financial energy investment" -- a measure of financial return in dollars -- as long as "constant [year] dollars" are used.

ENERGY RETURN ON ENERGY INVESTED (EROEI, also abbreviated as EROI)

"Energy Return on Investment (EROI) refers to how much energy is returned from one unit of energy invested in an energy-producing activity. It is a critical parameter for understanding and ranking different fuels. There were a number of studies on EROI three decades ago but relatively little work since. Now there is a whole new interest in EROI as fuels get increasingly expensive and as we attempt to weigh alternative energies against traditional ones. This special volume brings together a whole series of high quality new studies on EROI, as well as many papers that struggle with the meaning of changing EROI and its impact on our economy. One overall conclusion is that the quality of fuels is at least as important in our assessment as is the quantity. I argue that many of the contemporary changes in our economy are related directly to changing EROI as our premium fuels are increasingly depleted." Charles Hall, Introduction to Special Issue on New Studies in EROI (Energy Return on Investment), Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 10, 7 October 2011.

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF ENERGY RESOURCES

As the time window of opportunity may be shorter than expected, it is imperative to work out short-term energy strategies in conjunction with long-term strategies. A 2009 study by Richard Heinberg and the Post-Carbon Institute includes a comparative analysis of 18 energy sources according to 10 criteria, as follows:

Searching for a Miracle: ‘Net Energy’ Limits & the Fate of Industrial Society
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute, September 2011

Energy Sources

1) Oil
2) Coal
3) Natural gas
4) Hydropower
5) Nuclear
6) Biomass
7) Wind Power
8) Solar Photovoltaics
9) Active Solar Thermal
10) Passive Solar
11) Geothermal Energy
12) Energy from Waste
13) Ethanol
14) Biodiesel
15) Tar Sands
16) Oil Shale
17) Tidal Power
18)Wave Energy

Criteria for comparative analysis:

1) Direct Monetary Cost
2) Dependence on Additional Resources
3) Environmental Impacts
4) Renewability
5) Potential Size or Scale of Contribution
6) Location of the Resource
7) Reliability
8) Energy Density
9) Transportability
10)"Net Energy" or "Energy Returned on Energy Invested" (EROEI)

The tenth criterion, "Net Energy" or "Energy Returned on Energy Invested" (EROEI), is critical: "This measure focuses on the key question: All things considered, how much more energy does a system produce than is required to develop and operate that system? What is the ratio of energy in versus energy out? Some energy “sources” can be shown to produce little or no net energy. Others are only minimally positive."

A summary of the results is as follows:

ComparisonFuelSources-Heinberg2009.jpg
Comparison of Fuel Sources, Post-Carbon Institute, 2009

Conclusions:

"The present analysis, which takes into account EROEI and other limits to available energy sources, suggests first that the transition is inevitable and necessary (as fossil fuels are rapidly depleting and are also characterized by rapidly declining EROEI), and that the transition will be neither easy nor cheap. Further, it is reasonable to conclude from what we have seen that a full replacement of energy currently derived from fossil fuels with energy from alternative sources is probably impossible over the short term; it may be unrealistic to expect it even over longer time frames.

"The core problem, which is daunting, is this: How can we successfully replace a concentrated store of solar energy (i.e., fossil fuels, which were formed from plants that long ago bio-chemically captured and stored the energy of sunlight) with a flux of solar energy (in any of the various forms in which it is available, including sunlight, wind, biomass, and flowing water)? ...

"Based on all that we have discussed, the clear conclusion is that the world will almost certainly have considerably less energy available to use in the future, not more, though (regrettably) this strong likelihood is not yet reflected in projections from the International Energy Agency or any other notable official source. Fossil fuel supplies will almost surely decline faster than alternatives can be developed to replace them. New sources of energy will in many cases have lower net energy profiles than conventional fossil fuels have historically had, and they will require expensive new infrastructure to overcome problems of intermittency...

"How far will supplies fall, and how fast? Taking into account depletion-led declines in oil and natural gas production, a leveling off of energy from coal, and the recent shrinkage of investment in the energy sector, it may be reasonable to expect a reduction in global energy availability of 20 percent or more during the next quarter century. Factoring in expected population growth, this implies substantial per-capita reductions in available energy. These declines are unlikely to be evenly distributed among nations, with oil and gas importers being hardest hit, and with the poorest countries seeing energy consumption returning to pre-industrial levels (with energy coming almost entirely from food crops and forests and work being done almost entirely by muscle power).

"Thus, the question the world faces is no longer whether to reduce energy consumption, but how. Policy makers could choose to manage energy unintelligently (maintaining fossil fuel dependency as long as possible while making poor choices of alternatives, such as biofuels or tar sands, and insufficient investments in the far more promising options such as wind and solar). In the latter case, results will be catastrophic. Transport systems will wither (especially ones relying on the most energy intensive vehicles—such as airplanes, automobiles, and trucks). Global trade will contract dramatically, as shipping becomes more costly. And energy dependent food systems will falter, as chemical input and transport costs soar. All of this could in turn lead to very high long-term unemployment and perhaps even famine.

"However, if policy makers manage the energy downturn intelligently, an acceptable quality of life could be maintained in both industrialized and less-industrialized nations at a more equitable level than today; at the same time, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced dramatically. This would require a significant public campaign toward the establishment of a new broadly accepted conservation ethic to replace current emphases on neverending growth and over-consumption at both personal and institutional-corporate levels."

These conclusions are confirmed by many independent analyses done as far back as the 1970s and as recent as January 2012. The data is noisy, but the signal is always strong and always the same: barring a technological miracle (or an "act of God") it does not appear possible to replace fossil fuels with any or all of the renewable ("clean") sources and maintain the same rate of energy flow through an industrial economy. This brings to mind the applicability of the precautionary principle to the energy availability situation worldwide.

EROI TRADEOFF ANALYSIS FOR TRANSITION PLANNING

With proper funding, it might be possible to use biophysical input-output analysis to explore energy policy tradeoffs going forward. For a given year, let

X = n-dimensional total production vector ($)
U = n-dimensional final demand vector ($)
A = NxN matrix of direct inputs (i.e., aij = input from industry i to industry j)

Note that the n industries include the energy extraction, production, and delivery sectors, as well as the pollution abatement and environmental remediation sectors. The basic Leontief equation for total required production is

X = AX + U
X - AX = U
(I-A) X = U
X = (I-A)-1U

Let, for a given energy resource r,

Y = n-dimensional industry energy input vector (i.e., production energy intensity vector, y=1,...,n, in joules/dollar), and

Z = n-dimensional public consumption output vector (i.e., consumption energy intensity vector, z=1,...,n, in joules/dollar)

Then, for the total economy,

Ey = X . Y
is the total amount of energy resource r (in $ . joules/$ = joules) required by the economy during the year, taking into account both direct and indirect inter-industry energy flow requirements; and
Ez = U . Z
is the total amount of energy resource r (in $ . joules/$ = joules) used by consumers of all products during the year.

One problem with input-output analysis in economics is that the interindustry coefficients are in dollars of input from industry i to dollars of output by industry j. Given the volatility of monetary issues (inflation, deflation, politics, etc.), data in dollars are always problematic. From the perspective of biophysical economics, it would be preferable to use coefficients in physical units, i.e., the ratio of units of industry i input to units of industry j output. This would allow for analysis of technological tradeoffs with much of the "noise" filtered out. Dollar conversions can then be applied to translate EROI results (in biophysical units) to financial return on investment in dollars. While input-out models provide a static "snapshot" model of the economy at a given point in time, the biophysical coefficients could be formulated as functions of time in order to take into account the time required for technological changes to be implemented.

Given the technological complexities and social risks of a transition from a high-EROI to a low-EROI economy (as painfully experienced, for example, in Cuba during the early 1990s and North Korea during the early 2000s, both due to unanticipated oil shortages) it is arguably reasonable to spend significant effort (and dollars) in developing better analytical tools to ease the pain.

OTHER ANALYTICAL METHODS FOR ENERGY POLICY ASSESSMENT

The input-output method of analysis is static, i.e., it is based on a "snapshot" of the economy at a given point in time. It is most useful when detailed (and short-term) comparative evaluation of specific energy sources and technologies are required -- oil versus coal, oil versus wind, oil versus solar, etc. Even in such cases, the data refinement effort pursuant to make the interindustry coefficients time-dependent may or may not be possible.

A broader analysis may be required in order to include long-term dynamic interactions between social, economic, and environmental variables in conjunction with plausible energy transition scenarios. Then analysis at a higher level of aggregation might be indicated, and it may be more expedient to use simulation models such as Limits to Growth -- with "resources" more specifically reformulated as "energy resources" -- to examine the repercussions of the transition from high-EROI to low-EROI economies and lifestyles. There is a need for "Revisiting the Limits to Growth After Peak Oil." This is the kind of analysis that will be attempted with SDSIM 2.0.

The social-economic-ecological system is too complex for any single method of analysis, or any combination of existing methods. The best practice is to start with the policy questions or issues to be addressed and use the method(s) that would yield the best insights for consideration by citizens and policy makers. In this regard, the recently emerging method of behavioral economics is promising and may be useful to capture changing patterns of human decision-making during the transition from high-EROI to low-EROI societies.

Another good practice is to recognize that modelers are scientists, not policy makers or problem solvers. Modelers are scientists using models and simulation experiments to test a hypothesis under "controlled" conditiones that may or may not to amenable to replication in the real world. There must be constant dialogue between scientists and decision-makers. But conflating science and decision-making generally exacerbates confusion and seldom leads to practical solutions.

RECENT RESEARCH



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."

KEY LINKS:

The following section is about reforming tax codes so as to protect the integrity of the human habitat. The following is a excerpt from one many recent reports calling for taxing financial transactions to support the transition to clean energy:

Reclaiming Power: An energy model for people and the planet, Friends of the Earth,
2 December 2011.

"New research by Friends of the Earth presents an alternative energy model that would tackle climate change and enable everyone to gain access to energy.

"Our current energy model is not working:

  • Our dependency on fossil fuels is driving dangerous climate change
  • Our traditional energy model fails to serve 40 per cent of the world's population adequately
  • 1 billion of those without electricity will never be reached by expanding national grids

"The alternative:

"Friends of the Earth proposes an energy model based on a system of global feed in tariffs whcih guarantee cash back for local renewable energy generation. This model would help to:

  • Tackle climate change by shifting energy away from polluting fossil fuels
  • Deliver low-carbon, decentralised energy
  • Address poverty and development through universal access to clean, reliable, affordable energy
  • Rapidly lower the cost of renewable energy technology, making a low-carbon transition easier and cheaper worldwide

"This mechanism should be publicly funded by rich countries who have committed to help developing countries adapt to climate change

"Sources of funding could include:

  • A tax on financial transactions <-------------- FINANCIAL TRANSACTION TAX
  • Government subsidies diverted from fossil fuels
  • Special drawing rights from the IMF

RECENT:


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 via taxes on the usage of land/natural resources.

An International Declaration on Individual and Common Rights to Earth
Originally composed and declared at a meeting of the
International Union for Land Value Taxation held in 1949
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM EARTH RIGHTS

We hereby declare that the earth is the common heritage of all and that all people have natural and equal righs to the land of the planet. By the term "land" is meant all natural resources.

Subject always to these natural and equal rights in land and to this common ownership, individuals can and should enjoy certain subsidiary rights in land. These rights properly enjoyed by individuals are:

  1. The right to secure exclusive occupation of land
  2. The right to exclusive use of land occupied.
  3. The right to the free transfer of land according to the laws of the country.
  4. The right to transmit land by inheritance.
These individual rights do not include:
  1. The right to use land in a manner contrary to the common good of all, e.g., in such a manner as to destroy or impair the common heritage.
  2. The right to appropriate what economists call the Economic Rent of land.
The Economic Rent is the annual value attaching to the land alone apart from any improvements thereon created by labor. This value is created by the existence of and the functioning of the whole community wherein the individual lives and is in justice the property of the community. To allow this value to be appropriated by individuals enables land to be used not only for the production of wealth but as an instrument of oppression of human by human leading to severe social consequences which are everywhere evident.

All humans have natural and equal rights in land. Those rights may be exercised in two ways:

  1. By holding land as individuals and/or
  2. Sharing in the common use of the Economic Rent of land.

The Economic Rent of land can be collected for the use of the community by methods similar to those by which real estate taxes are now collected. That is what is meant by the policy of Land Value Taxation. Were this community created land value collected, the many taxes which impede the production of wealth and limit purchasing power could be abolished.

The exercise of both common and individual rights in land is essential to a society based on justice. But the rights of individuals in natural resources are limited by the just rights of the community. Denying the existence of common rights in land creates a condition of society wherein the exercise of individual rights becomes impossible for the great mass of the people.

WE THEREFORE DECLARE THAT THE EARTH IS THE BIRTHRIGHT OF ALL PEOPLE

The following is a policy proposal (recently submitted that the United Nations Economic and Social Council - ECOSOC) for land value capture/taxation of surface land sites:

LAND VALUE CAPTURE
Alanna Hartzok, Earth Rights Institute
Submitted to UN ECOSOC, 5 April 2012

Land Value Capture is a creative public finance policy that utilizes incentive taxation mechanisms that promote productive capacity, employment and decent work while enabling inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth.

UN Habitat Action Agenda Section B. 56(h) states: "Consider the adoption of innovative instruments that capture gains in land value and recover public investments." The UN Habitat Global Land Tool Network advocates public recovery of land values as a fair and effective way to meet the Millennium Development Goal of significantly improving living conditions for at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

The Vancouver Action Plan – founding document for UN Habitat – states:

Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole…. Taxation should not be seen only as a source of revenue for the community but also a powerful tool to encourage development of desirable locations, to exercise a controlling effect on the land market and to redistribute to the public at large the benefits of the unearned increase in land values… The unearned increment resulting from the rise in land values resulting from change in use of land, from public investment or decision or due to the general growth of the community must be subject to appropriate recapture by public bodies.

Land value capture—aka land value taxation—is an equitable, efficient way to obtain public revenue. The more governments rely on land value capture for revenue, the lighter need be the tax burden on labor and production.

Land rent (surplus value attaching to land) is a significant amount. Detailed studies by Land Values Research Group indicate that surface land rent is at least one third of GDP in many countries.

When robustly implemented, land value capture eliminates incentives for land speculation; stabilizes land prices; and maintains land affordability. Recovered land rent can 1) operate, maintain and extend services and infrastructure; 2) fund revolving loans for housing and micro enterprises; and 3) repay bonds issued to build public facilities.

Programs to house poor people often flounder because unaffordable housing prices are primarily the result of rising land values compared to purchasing capacity. Land value capture reduces and stabilizes the costs of land. Low-income families can thus more easily secure shelter at prices they can afford.

Land value capture promotes rational and balanced development. Growth radiates smoothly from more intensive use in the urban centers to rural areas without pockets of vacant or poorly utilized land in between. Urban sprawl is curtailed and rural land is more readily retained in its natural state, available for parks and nature preserves. Rational and balanced development decreases costs for transportation, utilities, fire and police protection. Land value capture is therefore an essential component of good urban planning.

This creative approach to financing public goods and sustainable development is a holistic and practical policy directive that can be implemented on local, regional and/or national levels.

For more information, see BEarthright: the Economics of Freedom, and for additional supporting articles click here. You can also register for a Land Rights and Land Value Capture Online Course.

KEY LINKS:

6. Guaranteed Basic Personal Income

BASIC CONCEPT

BIEN19862004.jpg
Source: Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN)

KEY REFERENCE

SOCIOECONOMIC DEMOCRACY: An Advanced Socioeconomic System
Robley E. George, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies (CSDS), 2002

RobleyGeorge-BookCover.gif
SUMMARY (Reprinted with Permission from CSDS)

Socioeconomic Democracy is a model economic system, or more precisely, socioeconomic subsystem, in which there is some form of Universal Guaranteed Personal Income as well as some form of Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth, with both the lower bound on personal material poverty and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted democratically by all society.

The book then individually examines in some detail each of these two bounds, i.e., UGI and MAW. Next is democracy. Here we first consider a few preliminaries, including a discussion of the inevitability of democracy, a prehistory of majority rule and a brief discussion of contemporary qualitative democracy. We then consider the simple, mathematically correct procedure by which society, exercising quantitative democracy (employing the most elemental of public choice theory results), can democratically decide the amount or magnitude of these two bounds -- and other amounts in question.

The book illustrates and looks at the many possible theoretical variations of Socioeconomic Democracy. Anthropological, philosophical, psychological, religious and human rights justifications for some form of Socioeconomic Democracy are next provided. The similarities, differences and relationships between Socioeconomic Democracy and Islami economics -- in particular, Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam -- are examined. The book then considers economic incentive and self-interest in general and as associated with Socioeconomic Democracy. Next, the book examines a number of practical political approximations to, and some of the many financial benefits and reduced costs of, such a system. It then establishes the feasibility of and discusses the necessary implementation procedure to realize Socioeconomic Democracy. Finally, the book describes a number of the simultaneously realized ramifications of this fundamentally just and democratic socioeconomic system. The book concludes with an appendix containing exercises for the interested reader.

KEY LINKS

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.

RECENT NEWS

SWITZERLAND: Petition Drive For A Referendum On A Basic Income, Felix Coeln, Basic Income News, Switzerland, 22 March 2012
SWITZERLAND: Unconditional Basic Income as a Postpatriarchal Project, Ina Praetorius, Switzerland, March 2012
INDIA: Basic Income Pilot Project in India makes progress
Wofgang Muller, Basic Income News, 8 April 2012
GERMANY: New Interactive Webpage about Basic Income, Wolfgang Muller, Basic Income News, Germany, 11 April 2012
GERMANY: Angela Merkel against Basic Income but willing to discuss it this July, Joerg Drescher, BIEN, 16 June 2012
ITALY: Campaign for Guaranteed Minimum Income launched in July 2012, BIEN, 10 August 2012
BELGIUM, FINLAND, AND SLOVENIA: BIEN officially recognizes three new affiliate networks, BIEN, 27 September 2012
CANADA: Green Party Leader Endorses Basic Income, Jenna van Draanen, BICN, November 2012

For more recent news on basic income:

BASIC INCOME NEWSFLASH

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.

KEY LINKS:

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. ISO-26000 on social responsibility is a guideline, not an auditable standard. Both stricter regulation and auditable standards are urgently needed for the global financial system.

For the latest on ISO Standards, see the

Current issue of ISO Focus+

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.

KEY LINKS:

9. Fostering and Deploying Clean Energy Technologies

There are many short-term strategies to incentivize the development and commercialization of clean energy:

KEY LINKS:

  • Financing Clean Energy


  • Triple Bottom Line (TBL)


  • Energy System Optimization


  • Energy Business Council (EBC)
  • IEAEBC.jpg
    From the International Energy Agency's EBC web site:

    "Regular consultations with industry make a vital contribution to the IEA's work on market and policy analysis and development.
    As the private sector is responsible for the vast bulk of energy investment, it is therefore necessary for governments and industry to work hand-in-hand to create the right framework conditions that will create clear, predictable, long-term economic incentives that empower business to undertake the huge investment programmes required for a cleaner and more efficient energy future. Given the key role industry has to play, the IEA believes there is a clear need to enhance cooperation between the energy sector and energy policy makers. The establishment of the IEA Energy Business Council (EBC) addresses this need as it seeks to act as a facilitator to ensure the voice of the energy sector is heard in the energy policy debate. The EBC is an executive-level group that represents a wide variety of companies involved in different aspects of energy exploration, production, transformation and consumption. They range from commodities companies to automobile manufacturers to wind and solar energy producers, as well as industry associations. EBC companies’ operations are international and membership of the group evolves over time according to priority issues and within the IEA."

    IEAWEO2011_ENERGY_FOR_ALL

    Publications:

    World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2011, IEA 2011
    WEO Fact Sheets, IEA 2011
    WEO Key Graphs, IEA 2011
    Key World Energy Statistics
    CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion 2011, IEA 2011
    Developments in Energy Subsidies, IEA 2011
    Energy for All: Financing access for the poor, IEA 2011
    Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas, IEA, 29 May 2012

  • Deploying Renewables 2011: Best and Future Policy Practice, IEA, December 2011
  • The global energy system faces urgent challenges. Concerns about energy security are growing, as highlighted by the recent political turmoil in Northern Africa and the nuclear incident in Fukushima. At the same time, the need to respond to climate change is more critical than ever. Against this background, many governments have increased efforts to promote deployment of renewable energy – low-carbon sources that can strengthen energy security. This has stimulated unprecedented rise in deployment, and renewables are now the fastest growing sector of the energy mix.

    This “coming of age” of renewable energy also brings challenges. Growth is focused on a few of the available technologies, and rapid deployment is confined to a relatively small number of countries. In more advanced markets, managing support costs and system integration of large shares of renewable energy in a time of economic weakness and budget austerity has sparked vigorous political debate. The IEA’s new report, Deploying Renewables 2011: Best and Future Policy Practice:

    • Provides a comprehensive review and analysis of renewable energy policy and market trends;
    • Analyses in detail the dynamics of deployment and provides best-practice policy principles for different stages of market maturity;
    • Assesses the impact and cost-effectiveness of support policies using new methodological tools and indicators;
    • Investigates the strategic reasons underpinning the pursuit of RE deployment by different countries and the prospects for globalisation of RE.

    This new book builds on and extends a 2008 IEA publication, drawing on recent policy and deployment experience world-wide. It provides guidance for policy makers and other stakeholders to avoid past mistakes, overcome new challenges and reap the benefits of deploying renewables – today and tomorrow.

    It’s Obama—Now What For Climate And Clean Energy?,
    Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists, 7 November 2012

    Excerpt: "President Obama has laid out a clear science-based agenda for the next four years including taking additional steps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, and to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources. With growing public awareness and concern about our changing climate in the wake of this year’s extreme weather events, President Obama has a real opportunity to move the national conversation beyond the false debate over the reality of the science towards a serious effort to both better prepare for the mounting impacts of climate change and to sharply reduce the carbon pollution that is driving it. On a related front, cutting U.S. oil use in half by 2030 is both scientifically and technically possible. In President Obama’s first term, action by EPA and DOT to set higher fuel economy standards for new cars, light trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles represented the single biggest step taken to reduce global warming pollution and oil consumption in the United States. The nation should build on this success. Further, the renewable electricity standards that 29 states and the District of Columbia have adopted have been the single biggest factor in the ramped-up deployment of wind, solar, and other clean electricity technologies in recent years. But the same forces that helped block national action on climate change are turning their efforts to rolling back these standards and other successful state clean energy initiatives; they can’t be allowed to succeed."

    Americans Vote for a New Energy Future,
    Chris Flavin, Worldwatch Institute, 8 November 2012

    Excerpt: "After months of retrograde discussion of energy policy on the campaign trail, U.S. voters have embraced the new course set by President Obama in his first term. Throughout the campaign, the fossil fuel companies’ arguments were undermined by the fact that, apart from the failed cap-and-trade legislation, President Obama has a solid energy record. During his first term, the fuel economy standards for automobiles were nearly doubled, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell 10 percent, oil imports declined 32 percent, wind power more than doubled, and solar energy jumped sevenfold—energy achievements that arguably exceed those of any U.S. president in modern times. Public opinion polls show that a solid majority of Americans support President Obama’s policies to spur the development of new energy industries and reduce dependence on oil and coal. The election results may also give President Obama the courage to take on Republicans’ decision to wage a war against the science of climate change."

    Global Investors Call for Action on Serious Climate Danger,
    David Fogarty, Reuters, 21 November 2012

    Excerpt: "In an open letter, an alliance of institutional investors, responsible for managing $22.5 trillion in assets, has called on governments to ramp up action on climate change and boost clean-energy investment or risk trillions of dollars in investments and disruption to economies. The group of investors from the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia said investments and retirement savings of millions of people were being jeopardized because governments were delaying tougher emissions cuts or more generous support for greener energy. They issued seven action points, including slashing fossil fuel subsidies and boosting carbon markets, for governments to focus on and said the re-election of Barack Obama in the United States and the leadership change in China were an opportunity to push for tougher climate talks."


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