A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability
Vol. 13, No. 8, August 2017|
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
Best Practices for Solidarity and Sustainability
SUMMARY & OUTLINE
This page attempts to provide a synthesis of policies and best practices for the transition to a world of solidarity and sustainability.
1. Local, National, and Global Citizen Movements
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. Industrial Quality Standards and Best Practices
8. Transferring Subsidies from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy
9. Fostering and Deploying Clean Energy Technologies
The importance of conservation is growing each year, with increasing concerns over the destruction of biodiversity and the rising awareness of ecosystem services generating new debates on the human-nature relationship. This compact overview integrates the process, theory and practice of conservation for a broad readership, from non-specialists to students and practitioners. Taking a global perspective, it uses examples from around the world to illustrate general themes and show how problems arise from the impact of societal trends on ecological communities.
Provides an integrated account that develops a broad picture of conservation and its relevance to human development; key points at the end of chapters condense many details into valuable take-home messages; and material from original research and fieldwork, giving both beginners and experts a fresh set of examples, ideas and perspectives. Contents:
1. Introduction to conservation; 2. Threats to biodiversity; 3. Evaluation of priorities for species and habitats; 4. Monitoring, indicators and impact assessment; 5. Management of natural and fragmented habitats; 6. Management of species; 7. Sustainable use, semi-natural cultural landscapes, and the matrix; 8. Restoration and offsetting; 9. Environmental policy; References; Index to species names; Index. LINK TO THE BOOK
1. Local, National, and Global Citizen Movements
"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.
- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Peter Willets, UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, 2006.
- Global Citizens Movement (GCM), Encyclopedia of Earth, November 2007.
- Earth Charter Initiative, ECI, 2009.
- The Widening Circle, TWC, 2011.
- The Access Initiative, TAI, 2011.
- Advancing a Global Citizens Movement, Paul Raskin, Kosmos, Spring-Summer 2011.
- Moving Planet Worldwide Rally, 24 September 2011.
- Here's What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About, Henry Blodget, Business Insider, 11 October 2011.
How to Turn the Power of the Wall Street Protests into Real Reforms
by Brent Blackwelder, Daly News, 24 October 2011.
This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement, David Korten, Yes! Magazine, 16 November 2011.
- Signs of the Times, Jessica Lehrman, Grist, 26 November 2011.
- What Does it Mean to be a Global Citizen?, Ronald C. Israel, Kosmos Journal, Summer 2012.
- The Global Citizen Manifesto, Global Citizen, 25 June 2014.
- Climate Protection as a World Citizen Movement, WBGU, 17 September 2014.
- Global Poverty Project (GPP): Where Will You Be In 2015?, GPP, 2015.
- The Global Citizens' Initiative (TGCI): Building A Sustainable World Community For All, TGCI, 2015.
- Young Environmental and Social Development Practitioners, YoungProfsNet, 30 June 2015.
PEOPLE'S ACTION AT THE EARTH SUMMIT
Occupy Rio+20 - People’s Petition
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
Empowering Communities for Climate Change Adaptation,
Regenerative Agriculture, and Sustainable Livelihoods
This article was originally published in
International Center for Climate Governance, July 2017
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
Gaia Education supports vulnerable communities to rebuild their social cohesion, adapt their settlements for greater sustainability and disaster risk management, improve climate change resilience and adopt regenerative agricultural and entrepreneurial practices, which mitigate climate-related changes whilst delivering more sustainable food security and livelihoods.
We do this by using our holistic approach, where communities are encouraged to assess their settlements and livelihoods in relation to four key dimensions of sustainability: Social, Economic, Ecological and Cultural. They assess how climate change, natural disasters and unsustainable food production/livelihood practices have thrown these dimensions out of balance and how they can use the challenges as opportunities to re-align with natural processes.
Our approach has an impressive track record in building capacity of community leaders to guide their fellow villagers through sustainable village design and development, particularly in relation to the challenges of climate change, poverty and hunger. Same time we are training villagers in technical skills to make their visions for sustainability a practical reality. Trainings include climate change-adapted house building, disaster risk management, organic vegetable production, horticulture and fisheries projects, as well as social enterprise and food processing programmes.
We promote a paradigm shift in disaster management and food production from conventional relief-and-response practices to an integrated and regenerative risk reduction culture, whereby past victims become pioneers of regenerative actions. Beneficiary villages in Bangladesh, and also in India and Senegal, have made significant progress toward the realisation of self-sustaining communities, regenerating their bio-regions, and are now able to act as educators to a wider populations in their districts and regions.
Objectives and beneficiaries
We have recently completed a project in 66 communities of the coastal districts of Bangladesh, where cyclones, tidal surges, and extreme flooding have devastated settlements, agriculture and food production, increasing mortality rates and destroying the livelihoods and social cohesion of many communities.
More than 23% of the families in the region suffer from a shortage of food and over 50% of agricultural land is affected by salinity from tidal flooding during wet season and upward movement of saline ground water during dry season. In partnership with local organisation, BASD (Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development), our objectives were to:
1. Build capacity and support villagers to work together in regenerative development and design and develop practical strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
2. Increase food security through a food sovereignty approach with 27 community-led projects to grow organic food from integrated, regenerative agriculture
3. Build on strengthened communities with surplus produce by training in social enterprise and food processing skills to generate sustainable income through sales.
Example practices for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in this bio-regional context were:
- Building low-roof houses on high plinth/platform and holding house with strong rope
- Making a high place /platform/ life-saving strong pillars to cling to
- Setting tube-wells in higher places for safe drinking water after floods
- Tree plantation to reduce soil dissolution and provide food and wood
- Using organic fertilizer to improve soil quality
- Hanging vegetable cultivation to reduce risk of damage during floods
- Local duck rearing, as more resilient than chickens during floods
- Introducing saline tolerant agriculture and species
- Establishing alternative livelihoods for less reliance on farming
- Developing seed bank in a safe place through cooperatives
Strong points of the practice
Main strong point is that we use our experience in sustainability design and regeneration practices to support communities themselves to turn climate change challenges into opportunities.
Gaia Education (GE) was conceived by a group of sustainability experts from a wide range of academic and professional disciplines, calling themselves "G.E.E.S.E" - Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth. For the last 11 years, GE has played a key role in the regeneration movement as a leading edge provider of sustainability and climate change adaptation education and project-based learning, transforming communities worldwide.
GE grassroots trainers have run over 200 programmes in 47 countries, across 5 continents, reaching over 12,000 people and 109 nationalities, in settings ranging from tribal communities to intentional ecovillages, from urban slums to universities. Feedback shows that our courses are ‘life-changing’ for many participants, with a 92% ‘excellent/good’ rating worldwide.
In 2012, GE responded to the demand for support beyond trainings and launched our long-term Project-Based Learning programmes, which use the wealth of knowledge from our global grassroots trainers coupled with project management support and finance for sustainable communities to implement learning and thrive whilst regenerating natural systems.
Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation
Our results and benefits are already demonstrable regarding climate change adaptation for the communities we have worked with:
India: As part of the Grow your own Food campaign, which use new climate-resilient agricultural approaches, Gaia Education and our local partners have supported Koraput communities to grow drought tolerant plants combined with mulching, fortified composting, vermiculture and vermi-composting, herbal pesticides and green manures, which have improved the productivity of soils and the nutritional value of meals.
Results: High yields in participating villages were the result of community engagement, access to water & new skills acquired through agro-ecological capacity building activities. Villagers who experienced success in the first year by earning supplemental income through the sale of surplus produce encouraged and influenced fellow community members on subsequent years. The project reached a total of 750 tribal families over 2 1/2 years, raising their income, adapting their food production techniques to the changing climate effects, and strengthening their communities.
Senegal: A three-year food security project engaging 4 villages - developed 16 hectares of community land to produce organic food more efficiently, and increase the communities’ capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change. Farmers’ livelihoods in the 4 villages were in decline, with productive land privately sold & remaining soils drying up. Our participatory approach, benefitted 3,000 villagers, 85% women, & transformed desert to abundant gardens. By end-Y2, 100% of beneficiaries stopped using agrochemicals & enriched soil.
Replicability potential of the practice
Because our Whole Systems Design approach adapts to the needs of the communities on the ground and uses low-tech techniques to adapt to and mitigate climate change effects in settlements and livelihoods, it can be replicated anywhere where there is a need. We currently hope to expand our work in other districts of Bangladesh, as well as adapting our model to climate-affected areas of Rwanda and the Congo, where we have been asked to assist farming communities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sally Bogale is on the staff of Gaia Education, a leading-edge provider of sustainability education that promotes thriving communities within planetary boundaries.
3. Net Energy and Energy Return on Investment (EROI)
Book Review of
Energy Return on Investment ~
A Unifying Principle for Biology, Economics, Sustainability
This article was originally published in
Resilience, 12 June 2017
under a Creative Commons License
As a child, I loved riding the merry-go-round – the cheerful music and flashing lights -the excitement of the horses magically rising and falling. On one ride, my delight doubled when I discovered someone had removed the brightly painted covers hiding the inner mechanism. Inside, a massive motor whirred, gears spun, and giant levers moved. Not magic at all: Mechanism! Fascinating! I would have loved a tour by a mechanic who could have explained the parts and pieces and their purpose and function.
My childhood fascination grew in scope to the vast merry-go-round of our human civilization. My interest has shifted from idle to practical as that civilization has embarked on the herculean task of transitioning from fossil fuel to renewable power. At the same time, I observe: Economic and energy experts baffled by unexpected booms and startling busts. Stagflation grips the world and resists what was once effective monetary policies. Ideas abound for navigating our energy transition and yet which ones should we choose? An insightful mechanic would be especially welcome right now.
To this end, Dr. Charles A. S. Hall has written a new book in which he has kindly offered to pop off a few access panels and explain some of the inner workings. Or as he puts it,
This book is meant as a straight forward and relatively non-technical introduction to energy and its role in nature and in human-dominated systems, including economics. It is a primer on how the world works, emphasizing commonalities in structures and processes obvious to one trained in systems science but to relatively few others (p. V).
With his tremendous breadth of experience, Dr. Hall is uniquely qualified to give us this tour. He has measured the flows of energy through systems ranging in size from microscopic to huge – from stream ecosystems in New York State to the energy capture of tropical forests in Puerto Rico. He has measured the flows of energy through the U.S. oil and gas industry and the national economies of the U.S., Argentina and Costa Rica. He has written texts on energy and the economy, edited books on world development and helped found and nurture the growing field of biophysical economics.
Dr. Hall structures his primer on energy and how it drives common processes, patterns, and system structures visible at all scales into three major parts: Part I lays a foundation by explaining the role of energy and how our understanding of it has become clearer over the last 300 years. In Part II, he explores how our insights into energy were applied to biology including the idea of energy return as a driver of evolution. And Part III, discusses energy’s relation to human economies and civilization.
Part I Energy and Investments
Dr. Hall begins his story of energy with investments. We usually associate investments with money, e.g., by paying for an education, we gain a better job. But he expands our view, and we come to see the value of money is actually delivered by using energy (money is a promissory note on energy). And by looking through the lens of energy, we can understand a much wider class of investments – and that all living things (and societies) must invest time and energy to keep up a flow of life-giving energy. He uses the cheetah as a helpful example, “It…has to catch more energy in its prey than it takes to stalk it and run it down (and only about 10% of their chases are successful!), and considerably more to make it through lean times and also to reproduce and feed the kittens” (p. 67).
Life makes rapid use of new energy-capturing technology, such as photosynthesis or breathing oxygen. Human civilization has rapidly adopted new energy sources, too, such as wind power, water power and fossil fuels.
Dr. Hall traces humanity’s struggle to master the understanding of these new sources of energy: we first believed fire was a fundamental element, then we learned to consider heat an invisible fluid (phlogiston, caloric) and eventually arrived at the modern understanding of heat as molecular motion.
He relates how early scientists discovered that as energy is consumed doing work, e.g., driving a steam engine, the quantity of energy remains the same, but the energy’s quality declines. It eventually becomes scattered as waste heat and can no longer perform useful work; and because of this, we need a steady replacement flow of high quality energy to maintain the order that is life, buildings, machines and society.
Part II and III examine how individuals, species, and human societies must invest energy to capture a flow of more energy.
Part II Biology and Energy
Dr. Hall explains that organisms invest energy – like the cheetah chasing prey – to exploit their environment to capture even more energy. The success of these investments can be measured as a ratio of Energy Returned / Energy Invested (EROI). Those organisms that have the behavior, body shape, or internal makeup that maximizes EROI will have extra energy left over to thrive, grow and reproduce. Those who have a lower EROI will be crowded out.
He introduces the Iron Law of Evolution: “Organisms must extract more energy by exploiting their environment than they expend in doing so” (p. 49).
Thus, evolutionary fitness can be defined as those heritable traits that can achieve the highest EROI. And this EROI must be quite high if a species is going to survive the constant environmental changes and challenges the species will face.
Dr. Hall qualifies that the most efficient energy return is not the only criteria, “In a competitive world, it is important to not only “out energy” one’s competition but to do it fairly rapidly, that is before the resource is captured by another individual or species” (p. 73).
Thus, the organisms and societies that evolve optimize the rate of energy capture as well. Too slow and the energy is captured by another – too fast, and they waste too much energy to compete. Seeking the ideal balance between rate and efficiency is explained as the concept of Maximum Power.
Part III Energy and Human Economies
Dr. Hall then applies the Iron Law of Evolution and concept of Maximum Power to human societies, which are also subject to thermodynamic decay and need a constant flow of energy to survive. Societies that do not capture enough energy starve; if they cannot provide a large surplus, they cannot grow.
He begins with a fascinating exploration of the energy return on investment of early human societies. The Kung! Bushmen manage a remarkable 10:1 energy return on energy invested (EROI) on hunting and gathering in an arid environment. An analysis of agriculture as far back as 1300 A.D. was estimated at an EROI of 2.5:1. But while agriculture had a drop in EROI it had a large increase in the scale of energy capture and led to a large increase in population levels. Large scale forestry in Sweden was reported to have an EROI of 7:1 which promoted early industrialization and metals production; however, this effort collapsed when overharvesting began and the forests were depleted.
This was the essential problem that early civilizations faced: they were limited to the tiny flow of sunlight that crops and trees could capture. This limited energy flow capped human numbers and development. If they took too much, they depleted the forests and soils and the advantage collapsed. Dr. Hall notes that some vast regions have been deforested three or more times as the local civilization boomed and then collapsed until the natural world could recover (p. 92).
It was unlocking the technology of fossil fuels that broke the cap. Fossil fuels are stores of ancient sunlight, captured by photosynthesis, but prevented from decay. They accumulated over millions of years and were compacted by geology into dense concentrations. These nearly perfect fuels offered EROI as high as 60:1 for oil and natural gas and a huge increase in the scale of energy usage – Dr. Hall reports a 12 times increase since 1900 alone. This vast increase in EROI and scale of fossil energy allowed the exponential climb in human numbers and industrialized civilization.
Unlike a forest, fossil fuels do not regrow (except on geological timescales) and even though vast in scale they will eventually run out. The EROI of fossil fuels has been falling, which indicates that depletion is winning over improvements in extraction technology – now the rate of extraction growth is slowing. The net energy result is less energy to human society, which is also seeing dramatically reduced rates of economic growth.
So, what lies ahead after fossil fuels? EROI can help us peer into the future. Dr. Hall first helps the reader understand how EROI is calculated and how to create apples-to-apples comparisons between different energy sources. Then, in the final chapters, he explores calculating how much energy return we need to support an industrial civilization as well as the EROI of the renewable energy flows that will be available.
How Did He Do?
Dr. Hall undertook a very difficult challenge: write an approachable and layman friendly introduction to energy and energy return on investment (EROI) and how they shape our world, bodies, ecosystems, and civilization. That he managed to pack this into a very readable 174 pages is quite the editorial feat! The chapters are by necessity brief, and yet I never felt rushed along. Nor did I feel the treatment was too shallow. There is a rich bibliography for those wanting a deeper understanding.
He clearly put quite a bit of thought into how to write this for a lay audience. It has been a long time since my last course in biology or chemistry, and so I was grateful that he paused for a refresher on energy fundamentals. He made these foundational chapters and abstract concepts very approachable with many easy-to-understand examples. For instance, he uses gear shifting on a bike to explain maximum power: too low a gear and you go too slow, too high a gear and you stall. The maximum acceleration is in the middle. For those of us who have ridden a bicycle, we can relate.
I found the history of the science of thermodynamics fascinating, and I was inspired by the role that citizen scientists played. An example is Benjamin Thompson, a military engineer who helped connect mechanical motion and friction with heat energy. Or the brewer, James Joule, who invented careful experiments to show how a falling weight (potential energy) generated heat. And the military engineer Sadi Carnot, who took major strides in formulating thermodynamics. They all stepped outside of their day-to-day jobs to push our collective understanding of energy forward. I think we will all be called upon to become greater than our present selves to help civilization through this energy transformation.
I quickly came to appreciate the great breadth of Dr. Hall’s view – from the smallest to the largest scale – nature and human economics. He was equally comfortable relating how oxygen-based-respiration allowed about four (4) times more energy capture for species consuming carbohydrates – which led to an explosion of animal life – to train locomotives gaining 4% more efficiency by switching from steam engines to diesel powered generators driving highly efficient electric motors.
The EROI Concept
I think EROI is one of those watershed concepts. Once you get it, you cross a divide and your thoughts run in new directions. I was first introduced to EROI on The Oil Drum, and through linked academic papers from that site. It took a lot of time and effort to do all that reading. Dr. Hall does a very good job leading the reader to a useful, deep understanding in a very short book.
While he illustrates many useful implications of the EROI concept, I want to highlight two that are worth reading the whole book to understand: The first is that EROI puts a hard limit on the amount of fossil fuels that can be exploited as energy sources. The second is that the minimum EROI that a modern society needs is well above break even.
We can all understand that if gasoline cost $1000 per gallon to produce, very few people could afford to drive and very little of that expensive oil would be produced. But what is a realistic maximum price for oil? At what point does oil get so expensive to extract that it is left in the ground? This is a very hard question to answer using dollars. It is much easier to answer if we switch from dollars and measure the investment in energy instead:
EROI analysis is important for many reasons but perhaps especially because it puts a limit to the often stated economic principle that as oil (for example) gets scarcer the price will go up and then lower quality reserves will become economic -indefinitely. Instead at some point it will cost a barrel of oil or its equivalent to get a barrel of oil, and then no matter the price, those reserves will not be worth exploiting for energy. In the meantime as EROI declines there will be less and less energy available to run every other component of economies (p. 116).
Just like a cheetah, to survive a society must get far more energy out of a fossil fuel than it takes in energy to extract it. No matter the price, there is a breakeven point where output energy = input energy (EROI 1:1). Below this breakeven point a resource becomes an energy-sink pulling energy out of society instead of flowing into society.
Also like a cheetah, society must get an energy return much higher than EROI of 1:1. This brings us to the second essential point worthy of understanding: It does not just take energy to get energy; it takes energy to use energy. Society must spend energy to transport oil via pipeline and tanker, pay yet more energy to refine the oil, and pay the energy cost to build the machines that use the energy. These energy payments cut down the energy surplus. Thus, the energy source must have a high enough EROI to cover these costs too:
Think of a society dependent upon one energy resource: its domestic oil. If the EROI for this oil was 1.1:1 then one could pump the oil out of the ground and look at it. If it were 1.2:1 you could also refine it and look at it, 1.3:1 also distribute it to where you want to use it but all you could do is look at it. Hall et al. (2014) examined the EROI required to actually run a truck and found that if the energy included was enough to build and maintain the truck and the roads and bridges required to use it (i.e., depreciation), one would need at least a 3:1 EROI at the wellhead to put one unit of gasoline into the truck (p. 154).
Unfortunately, I find these concepts are not widely understood and a lot of investment is thrown away on low EROI energy sources. I remember a local university presentation discussing how research money into renewable energy was being spent. Sadly, biofuels (EROI near 1:1) received most of the funding while building efficiency improvements (much higher EROI) received the lowest funding. A better understanding would reverse these priorities.
For those motivated to learn how to calculate EROI, Chapter 11 is a good jumping off place with links to how-to papers and cutting edge 2016 references.
Unexpectedly the chapters on EROI and biology had the strongest impact on me. Here I found the essence of the energy transition work that lays ahead of us, as Dr. Hall explored the question: why are there so many different species?
Why are not firs found from the bottom to the top of the Smokey Mountains? Why are oaks found only on drier sites, instead of also where soil water is more abundant? (p. 64).
He discusses how each species has tuned itself to capture a high energy return in a relatively narrow set of circumstances. The tradeoff is a lower energy return in other circumstances:
Explicitly, Hall et al. (1992) found that varying energy costs and energy gains in response to environmental gradients explained where each species could, or could not, make a sufficient energy profit to survive and reproduce. This provides a non-circular definition of fitness: fitness is greatest where and when the difference between energy costs and energy gains is greatest, providing a large energy surplus that can be, and usually is, translated into survival and reproduction (p. 65).
Reflecting upon this I was struck with the idea that fossil fuels had such high EROI that our cultures have abandoned past energy capture strategies in order to maximize our use of fossil fuels. So now the windmills and water wheels are replaced by the same coal power plants everywhere. The same cars. The same houses. The same strip malls. The same restaurants and clothing stores. Work is the same summer or winter. Hot or cold. Wet or dry. Day or night. Fossil fuels create the sameness.
As we attempt to transition to a non-fossil powered economy there are concerns about the limitations of wind (in scale) and solar photovoltaics (in EROI) and the intermittent nature of both to support a civilization that has any resemblance to the one we currently live in.
The low EROI of solar power may stop us from using solar power as a direct replacement for coal fired electricity: as large centralized plants would have to use expensive storage to provide 24/7 supply. Perhaps the EROI would be high enough if we reshaped our society around the unique features of solar. Perhaps our factories would only run when the sun was shining? Perhaps once again we would work long on summer days and during the dark of winter we would study and take holidays. Perhaps industries that need 24/7 energy, such as steel mills, would move to be near geothermal or hydro power.
This is the essence: each location will have a unique mix of renewable energy resources and energy costs. No one solution could work everywhere. Our civilization must split and become like the millions of unique species, each fragment hand crafted by clever and insightful people to maximize what is local and available and to come up with coping strategies for that which is scarce. Each location must evolve its culture to create the greatest difference between energy costs and energy gains for its environment.
Interestingly, Dr. Hall discusses that evolution often happens as a shift in genetic variability within a population. Perhaps those who still plow with horses, or those who keep old trains, steam tractors, or woolen mills running, are humanity’s cultural “genetic diversity.” They are waiting for the day when the knowledge they have been preserving will return as the highest EROI solution, and mainstream culture will again embrace these ideas.
Already we are starting to see changes here in the U.S. with the rapidly growing urban living and tiny house movements. People are choosing simpler and smaller. They are choosing walkable neighborhoods over auto-intense living.
One of the things I enjoy most about this book is how Dr. Hall brings up the very large questions to ponder, even if we do not have all the answers. There are fascinating ideas about culture – past and future – and ethics throughout the book for those who enjoy contemplating “the big picture.”
In Energy Return on Investment, Dr. Hall has written an approachable and short introduction to how energy flows through and structures our world, ecosystems, and society. In doing so he reveals how all species – including ours – must have a flow of high quality energy and must invest energy to get it. This drive to capture energy creates some of the big mechanisms (such as evolution) that drive our actions and shape our lives. He demonstrates how these mechanisms work at all scales from microbe respiration to human civilization. These abstract ideas are explained with concrete and readily understood examples. I wish I had read his book in college as these concepts tie together physics, chemistry, biology, history and economics in a way my standard course work never did.
Our industrialized culture has become optimized for an environment rich in fossil fuels. Our task then is to evolve our infrastructure and culture to take advantage of renewable resources and natural energy flows. To do that we must learn to recognize, measure, and understand the flows of energy that move through our society. Energy Return on Investment is an excellent primer with which to understand the world around us and make good investment choices for ourselves and the generations to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Freise co-founded the Corcoran GROWS Transition Initiative in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and helped transform it from a group of neighbors meeting in a living room into a 501c3 organization. Corcoran GROWS (Grass Roots Opens Ways of Sustainability) has put on fairs, hosted speakers, held neighborhood dances, created huge public art projects, and organized permaculture and reskilling courses. Jon now works city-wide raising awareness, helping new initiatives get up and running, forming partnerships, locating funding, and cross connecting people passionate about Transition- with a good dose of celebrating mixed in! Jon brings an engineer's problem solving perspective to the coming energy transition. He enjoys learning and sharing ideas and innovations for powering down our need for fossil fuels. Jon has written articles for The Oil Drum on natural gas supplies and EROeI (energy returned on energy invested). Jon's pre-transition career has focused on robotics and the design of commercial color printers. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science.
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 Benefits of a Financial
Transactions Tax, Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), December 2008.
- Financial Speculation Tax, CEPR, 2009.
- Here's Why The Financial Transaction Tax Won't Work, John Carney, Business Insider, 9 November 2009.
- Facts and Myths about a Financial Speculation Tax, CEPR, 2010.
- Time to Tax Financial Speculation, Sarah Anderson, Yes! Magazine, 9 February 2010.
- A General Financial Transaction Tax – Motives, Effects, Revenues and Feasibility, Stephan Schulmeister, European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), 13 January 2010.
- Liberals Continue to Push for Financial Transaction Tax, Ronald Orol, Common Dreams, 17 February 2010.
- Regulating Derivative Markets To Meet Real Needs, Angus Cunningham, Authentix Coaches, 2010.
- Taxing Global Public Bads, Stephany Griffith-Jones and Paul Bernd Spahn, The Broker Online, 6 October 2010.
- Financial Transaction Taxes - A Double Dividend, Paul Bernd Spahn, The Broker Online, 6 October 2010.
- Financial Transaction Tax Might Fix Host of Ills, Ralp Nader, Bloomberg Business Week, 15 July 2010.
- Financial Transaction Taxes: Assessing their role in Financing for Development and the International Financial Architecture reform agenda, Aldo Caliari, UN-NGLS, 2010.
- Support the Financial Transaction tax in the European Parliament!, Europeans for Financial Reform, 26 January 2011.
- Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) Factsheet, CIDSE, June 2011.
- Cut Wall Street Down to Size With a Financial Speculation Tax, Sarah Anderson, The Nation, 8 June 2011.
- Frequently Asked Questions on the Financial Transaction Tax, Party of European Socialists, 24 April 2011.
- Financial Speculation Tax: Serious Tool for Long-Term Deficit Reduction, CEPR, January 2011.
- Financial speculation tax could cut deficit, Ben Rooney, CNN, 24 January 2011.
- Financial Speculation Tax Introduced, FOE, February 2011.
- The Financial Transaction Tax for People and the Planet: Financing Climate Justice, CIDSE, June 2011.
- Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) Factsheet, CIDSE, June 2011.
- Financial Speculation Tax Could Help Heal America, James Parks, 22 July 2011.
- Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), Wikipedia as of 24 July 2011.
- Cut Wall Street Down to Size With a Financial Speculation Tax, Sarah Anderson, Common Dreams, 27 July 2011.
- Financial world dominated by a few deep pockets, Rachel Ehrenberg, ScienceNews, 15 August 2011.
- UK to be left isolated, lose out on billions in public spending, as FTT goes ahead, Max Lawson, Ekklesia, 19 January 2012.
- Cardinal Turkson calls for a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) for the common good on the eve of EU summit, CIDSE media statement, 26 January 2012.
- Remarkable Editorial Bias on Climate Science at the Wall Street Journal, Peter Gleick, Forbes, 27 January 2012.
- Financial transaction taxes as a human rights imperative, Center of Concern, Social Watch, 16 April 2012.
- Financial Transaction Tax: A Human Rights Imperative, CIDSE, 20 April 2012.
- A Financial Transactions Tax for the Future We Want, ITUC-CSI, 22 June 2012.
- Europe Authorizes “Robin Hood Tax” on Financial Transactions, Sarah Anderson, Yes!Magazine, 25 January 2013.
- Who Needs Money Anyway? Towards Resilience, Sustainability, and a Healthier Means of Exchange, Ken Banks, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, 26 June 2013.
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
"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:
5. Shift to Land/Resource Value Taxes
Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World
Originally published by
North Atlantic Books
and Unitism, 2015
under a Creative Commons License
LINK TO THE BOOK
Synopsis by the Publisher: "What if we lived in a world where everyone had enough? A world where everyone mattered and where people lived in harmony with nature? What if the solution to our economic, social, and ecological problems was right underneath our feet? Land has been sought after throughout history. Even today, people struggle to get onto the property ladder; most view real estate as an important way to build wealth. Yet, as readers of this book will discover, the act of owning land—and our urge to profit from it—causes economic booms and busts, social and cultural decline, and environmental devastation. Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World introduces a radically new economic model that promises a sustainable and abundant world for all. This book is for those who dream of a better world for themselves and for future generations."
Many of us already sense that our current economic system creates inequality and also engenders the ecological destruction of our planet. What we don’t seem to understand is why: For example, why does it lead to financial insecurity for many, even for those who, by all accounts, shouldn’t have to worry about money? And why exactly are we destroying our planet in our frantic conversion of nature into digits and little bits of paper we call money?
One of the main reasons our current economic system doesn’t work for everyone is because the revenue flow from the commons—which include all gifts of nature—has been privatized. For example, when an oil company makes money, it not only charges money for its effort and for the machinery it uses to extract oil from the ground, it also makes money from the value of the oil itself. The same can be said of the money that people make through their private ownership of land—and what banks make through their financing of private landownership via the mortgage. This privatization of the revenue flow from nature is one of the root causes of economic recessions, ecological destruction, as well as social and cultural decline.
All of nature is community wealth, including—and especially—land. People give value to land through the goods and services they provide to their communities. For example, because people offer more goods and services in the city than in the countryside, urban land tends to be much more expensive than rural land. As communities become more attractive to live in, some property owners—but mostly the financial institutions that finance them—then extract this value by making money from real estate (buildings, like cars, decrease in value over time, but land increases in value the more prosperous a community becomes), and this extraction is one of the root causes of wealth inequality, ecological destruction, and even economic recessions.
Land—even undeveloped land—costs a lot of money in our society. Why is that? It’s because land has an intrinsic value to human beings: We all need land. And because we all need land, those that own land can make money by buying and selling land at the expense of other people who have to pay money to live on it. Under our current land ownership model, property owners only pay other property owners for land as well as the banks that finance property ownership.
While land can certainly be privately used, its value is created by the community and therefore belongs to the community. Land has to be owned in common, and whenever people use land, they need to reimburse their local communities for their exclusive use of it. They can do this by making community land contributions for the land they use. A land contribution approximates the market rental value of land, and the rental value of land is a measuring stick that reveals the financial value of the benefits that land users receive from their exclusive use of land. In most nations around the world, the value of land has already been privatized: If communities were to suddenly impose land contributions upon existing property owners, property owners would end up having to pay twice for their ownership of land—first to the previous landowner (from whom they bought land), and a second time to their local communities.
In order to transition from a land ownership model to a land stewardship model, therefore, local governments and community land trusts would either have to financially compensate existing property owners for the land value portion of the properties in question or offer a transition plan that would allow new property owners to acquire exclusive use of the land without obtaining ownership of the land itself. Land users would then be required to share the value of land with all members of their community through community land contributions. And finally, these contributions would then have to be redistributed to all community members in the form of a Universal Basic Income to prevent gentrification, reduce wealth inequality, and create a truly fair economy for all participants.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martin Adams is a systems thinker and author. As a child, it pained him to see most people struggling while a few were living in opulence. This inspired in him a lifelong quest to co-create a fair and sustainable world in collaboration with others. As a graduate of a business school with ties to Wall Street, he opted not to pursue a career on Wall Street and chose instead to dedicate his life to community enrichment. Through his social enterprise work, he saw firsthand the extent to which the current economic system causes human and ecological strife. Consequently, Martin devoted himself to the development of a new economic paradigm that might allow humanity to thrive in harmony with nature. His book Land: A New Paradigm for a Thriving World is the fruit of his years of research into a part of this economic model; its message stands to educate policymakers and changemakers worldwide. Martin is executive director of Progress.org.
6. Guaranteed Basic Personal Income
Beyond Basic Income:
Claiming Our Right to Govern Technology
Originally published in
Berkeley Blog, 25 May 2017
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
One common characteristic of universal basic income advocates, and indeed progressives and labor more generally, is a near-fatalistic acceptance of the current path of technological development. It is a gaping hole in discussions about the future of work: either we are sticking our heads in the sand and avoiding the topic altogether, or we’re accepting automation as inevitable and therefore immediately ratcheting to basic income as the solution. For a movement that routinely challenges the market discipline of capitalism, this constitutes a striking retreat. To state the obvious, humans are the creators of new technology and can shape the path it takes (at least for now). Automation and displacement are not the only possible outcome.
A truly progressive agenda around the future of work should therefore add control over technology into the mix: control over which technologies are developed, to what ends, and how they are incorporated into the workplace. And this agenda needs to expand beyond the current fixation on automation. New technologies have many other direct effects on tasks—deskilling or upskilling existing ones, creating new ones—as well as a slew of indirect effects, such as enabling outsourcing and the integration of a global virtual labor force. It’s not just about the robots.
So what would it look like to claim our right as a society to govern technological development and its effects on workers and the labor market? Here are three strategies that move from less to more interventionist. They are often in the form of questions, given how little has been done to develop a proactive, worker-focused response that (importantly) is not anti-innovation.
At the very least, it is high time that progressives develop a robust and well-funded mitigation agenda. Universal basic income is one form of mitigation of course, but fleets of omniscient robots are decades away. There are plenty of near- and medium-term technologies whose effects we can anticipate or already see. Immediate forms of restitution could include industry-specific funding pools and the technology equivalent of Trade Adjustment Assistance (education, training and job placement). Any number of business-side taxes could be leveraged for funding, including the robot tax endorsed by Bill Gates or requiring Uber to pay into a fund for every self-driving car it puts on the road. And again, mitigation is not just about responding to automation. We might devise a deskilling tax, or mandatory retention and re-training laws when skill-changing technologies are introduced in the workplace.
Whatever the specific set of tools we decide upon, a broader cost-benefit analysis of new technologies will be needed. Imagine that we include as metrics the numbers of workers displaced, the loss in their life-time earnings, and the impact on their health and their children’s earnings. How would self-driving trucks fare under such an analysis? Even if the benefits still end up outweighing the full societal costs, at least we then have a metric by which to assess restitution. But perhaps a model of truck automation would emerge that preserves some percentage of the workforce to guide and manage the fleet.
Because unions are currently fighting for their life, the first instinct within labor can be to obstruct technology. It is likely that important opportunities are missed as a result. In workplaces where unions still have enough density, the deployment of new technologies should become a topic of bargaining. In the 1960s and ’70s, the longshoremen’s union (ILWU) bargained the adoption of shipping containers, ensuring job security for incumbent workers and guaranteed pensions. But a lot of technological change is slow and incremental, the result of many small decisions. Management consultants shouldn’t be the only voice guiding unionized employers when those decisions are made.
Technological change within one industry can also open up opportunities in another. For example, meal delivery apps are threatening to disrupt the food supply chain by delivering meal-kits directly to consumers. Beneath the high-tech gloss lie surprisingly traditional jobs: scores of workers in large food processing facilities, many of them direct employees. Investigative reporting of Blue Apron’s plants last year uncovered low wages and serious health and safety violations. If this new industry segment grows and thrives, it could offer fertile organizing ground.
A more ambitious approach is to figure out how to harness new technology for organizing. For example, alt-labor is exploring whether the aggregation provided by on-demand platforms can help to organize workers who were previously isolated in disaggregated workplaces, such as domestic workers. One barrier is that these platforms typically do not allow worker-to-worker communication (which is no accident). Why not regulate labor platforms as a condition of receiving a business license, so that they must enable secure communication between workers and agree to bargain if organizing results?
While mitigation and bargaining over impacts are important, ultimately the progressive goal should be outright governance: a seat at the table when decisions are made over which technologies are developed in the first place, and in pursuit of which goals. The biotech field offers a fascinating example. The advent of genetic engineering has set off robust debates over who owns technology, whether monetization distorts innovation, and government’s right regulate. The public’s right to weigh in on biotechnology seems obvious. Why is it not equally obvious that we have the right to weigh in on other impacts of new technology, including job quality and employment?
One version of governance is to control technology via direct regulation. For example, consider lending, hiring or sentencing algorithms that yield discriminatory outcomes by race or gender. Law scholars are actively debating what type of anti-discrimination legal regime is needed to address these cases, which could potentially lead to regulating the very nature of machine learning itself (since it is dependent on classification schemes). Product market regulation is another ripe arena. How different would ride-sharing look if legislators had resisted Uber’s lobbyists and classified Uber as a taxi company? Taxi apps would still have been developed, but likely with different effects on drivers. The issue of who is able to access the big data generated by private sector firms is also receiving attention; often it is customers and workers contributing that data. Greater access by government could unveil underlying business models (such as predatory pricing) that might then be subject to regulation.
The more ambitious version of governance is to shape technology via a multi-stakeholder model. The key insight here is that there are multiple paths of technological development. Optimizing efficiency by reducing or eliminating human input is not the only path; within any given occupation or industry there are alternatives where technology works with humans to improve productivity. But how to shape what engineers call the design choice—augmentation vs. automation—is not yet clear.
Ideally, we would establish mandated oversight structures that allow for multi-stakeholder decision-making over what is developed. We would greatly expand the goals of innovation—to eliminating poverty, saving the planet, ensuring the full realization of every human being, ending dangerous and back breaking work—and maybe even insist that some amount of work has intrinsic value to humans. And we would harness the powerful fact that public dollars fund a lot of technological development, often in universities (as the saying goes, venture capital only funds the last mile).
Opportunities for this ambitious form of governance will often be found at the industry level, especially if there is a clear public interest. In Germany, government is actively collaborating with employers and labor to make its manufacturing sector a leader in technology and preserve a role for workers. While we don’t have a social partners system in the US, the principle still holds. In our health care sector, for example, the path of technological development is not at all set in stone. Current attempts to introduce new technologies such as electronic patient records, automatic medication dispensers, and computer assisted diagnosis have run into myriad challenges, some due to lack of federal standards, some due to competing goals, some due to unintended effects. A robust social bargaining model backed up by regulation could help pave the way to a healthcare system that uses technology to free up workers to delivery high-quality, patient-centered care.
Is any of this even remotely feasible? Regulating and shaping technological change will require an enormous amount of power—over the private sector, over government, and over universities. But that is equally true of the basic income model, which is predicated on there being sufficient political will to generate the needed revenue. If we are willing to challenge capital to fund a basic income response to automation, then why not also try to govern technology directly?
The progressive case to society is that alternatives to shareholder capitalism exist and can thrive in the U.S. By extension, it should be possible to design and implement technology in a way that complements and values human work and is economically viable.
A final word that the tech sector is forging ahead without us. Last year, Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft formed the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, with the goal of establishing an ethics of artificial intelligence to ensure that it is developed “safely, ethically, and transparently.” Reportedly stakeholders from civic society will be invited, but in the end this is self-regulation. Who will be at the table to represent the voices of affected communities and workers, and how much power will they bring?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Annette Bernhardt is Director, Low-Wage Work Program, UC Berkeley Labor Center.
7. Industrial Quality Standards and Best Practices
Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing
in the Age of Globalization
This article was ioriginally published in
Sustainability, 24 December 2016
under a Creative Commons License
Abstract: Competitiveness is the ability and performance of a firm, subsector or country to sell or supply goods or services in a given market. The competitiveness and sustainability of an enterprise are closely related. Competitiveness has received ever-growing attention in the era of globalization. This Special Issue provides a forum for researchers and practitioners to review and disseminate quality research work on competitive and sustainable manufacturing in the era of globalization and their applications, and to identify critical issues for further developments.
Keywords: competitiveness; sustainability; manufacturing; globalization
With the trend of globalization, the competition within some industries is becoming increasingly fierce. To survive in the industry, every firm must strive to continually improve its competence in one way or another [1
]. For example, some firms do not have their own factories, so they can focus on activities that are more profitable [2
], while others continue expanding their manufacturing capacity to further drive down costs [3
]. Other common strategies include: outsourcing [4
], the blue ocean strategy [5
], better scheduling [6
], factory simulation [8
], green and lean technologies [10
], applying the competitiveness diamond model [13
], cyber-physical systems and cloud manufacturing [14
], developing next-generation technologies [17
], forming alliances [19
In contrast, some studies have shown that even with considerable research and development (R&D) capabilities, manufacturers cannot guarantee long-term competitiveness (i.e., sustainability) [1,21]. In addition, in the past, support from the government enabled the continued growth of manufacturers in some regions. After such support disappears, maintaining competitiveness and sustainability becomes a big problem . Further, the rise of the Chinese market and of its manufacturers has brought opportunities and threats to existing firms [22,23].
This Special Issue is intended to provide details regarding sustainable development and competitive strategies, and their applications to manufacturing.
2. Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing Approaches
Sophisticated models for assisting the design processes of complex mechanical products are essential for managers or designers to manage design processes and further improve design efficiency. Zheng et al. [24
] put forth a supernetwork-based model for designing complex mechanical products. They first identified the key elements in the design processes of complex mechanical products. Then, based on these, they analyzed the sub-elements of the key elements and the relationships between the sub-elements. Finally, sub-networks with sub-elements were built as nodes and their relationships as edges, forming the supernetwork model for assisting the design processes of complex mechanical products based on the sub-networks and their relationships.
The conventional failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) approaches fail to explain the aggregate effects of a failure from different perspectives such as technical severity, economic severity, and production capacity in some practical applications. To fulfill this gap, Nguyen et al.  proposed an extension by considering the associated quality costs and the capability of a failure detection system as additional determinants to signify the priority level for each failure mode. Analytical results indicated that the proposed approach remarkably reduced the percentage of defective fabrics, thus significantly reducing wastes and increasing the operational efficiency.
Joining global production networks is critical to fostering local supplier upgrading. However, heterogeneous buyer-supplier relationships have rarely been configured and even incorporated into such networks empirically. To address this issue, Cho and Lim  proposed a framework based on which the features of buyer-supplier relationships can be related to the aspects of local supplier upgrading. In addition, the results of a latent class analysis showed that the ways value chains are governed have different effects on various types of technological upgrading.
Woo and Cho  discussed the mechanism under which the cost of wage rigidity is transferred from contractors to subcontracting firms, which in turn aggravates the inequality among the wages of workers in contracting and subcontracting firms. In addition, after studying a Korean case, the intensity of this transferring mechanism was shown to differ from industry to industry. Lu et al.  examined consumers’ moral reactions to a product-harm crisis. After conducting a national-wide survey with 801 respondents in China, they found that consumers will react to a product-harm crisis through controlled cognitive processing and emotional intuition. In addition, the survey results also showed that consumers view a product-harm crisis as an ethical issue, and will make an ethical judgment according to the perceived severity and relevance of the crisis.
The Japanese automobile industry has been suffering a huge economic downturn in the recent decade. The rise in costs and the decline in sales led to serious problems in this industry, such as the waste of time in replacing assembly boards for manufacturing lines. To tackle this issue, Wang et al.  applied the Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskih Zadatch (TRIZ) approach to provide efficient solutions for the automobile industry. They first analyzed the technical problems using the function and attribute analysis (FAA) model. Then, a contradiction matrix and the inventive principle were applied to find possible solutions to these problems.
Equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) is the most popular and simple process to produce nano-titanium. However, ECAP is time-consuming, power-wasting, and far from sufficient to produce the required ultrafine-grain structure. To address this issue, Wang et al.  applied the Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskih Zadatch (TRIZ) approach to improve the performance of ECAP, especially in reducing the production costs.
Because of the dynamic and complex characteristics of foods and their production, environment and sustainability issues are critical to the food industry. Pipatprapa et al.  applied the hybrid structural equation modeling (SEM) and the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) approach to find out factors that are influential on the environmental performance of Thailand’s food industry. The results showed that quality management, market orientation, and innovation capability have significantly positive effects on the environmental performance.
Aggregate production planning (APP) is an important task in production planning and control. However, the existing models, either static or dynamic, have several shortcomings. To overcome these, Davizón et al.  formulated a mathematical model to achieve optimal control. The mathematical model integrates a second-order dynamical system with a first-order system by considering the production rate, inventory level, capacity, and costs of the work force.
Galal and Moneim  formulated a mixed integer nonlinear programming model to determine the product mix in a manufacturing facility to maximize the sustainability index (SI) which is the weighted sum of the economic, environmental, and social measures of sustainability. The weights of these measures were determined using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) approach.
Electronic paper (e-paper) has a lot of important applications. Huang et al.  estimated the future market size of Taiwan’s e-paper industry using a hybrid grey model. They incorporated Fourier series and a Markov chain into discrete Grey model (DGM) (2, 1) and the Verhulst model, respectively, and proposed two new models—Fourier Markov (FM)-Verhulst and FMDGM (2, 1). According to the experimental results, the two models outperformed the existing grey models in improving the estimation accuracy.
Lu et al.  investigated the effects of the internal technological innovation capability (ITIC) and external linkages (ELs) on the upgrading of the Chinese automotive manufacturing industry (CAMI) in the global value chain. The results showed that compared to ELs, ITIC was more critical to the upgrading of CAMI. In addition, in some regions, such as Shanghai and Chongqing, the effects of EL are far from significant. In contrast, in other regions, more benefits can be gained through suitable clustering.
In the era of globalization, many world-class companies have migrated to certain countries or regions for competitive manufacturing, which highlights the importance of competitive manufacturing for any global company’s sustainable development. This Special Issue features a balance between state-of-the-art research on competitive and sustainable manufacturing in the era of globalization. All methods proposed in this Special Issue have been applied to practical examples. Several valuable results were obtained, which support these methods to be viable strategies in planning-related activities.
Acknowledgments: The guest editor would like to thank the Sustainability Editor-in-Chief, Marc A. Rosen, for fully supporting the release of this Special Issue. The guest editor is also grateful to the contributors who shared their research as well as to the reviewers who spared their valuable time to review papers. The guest editor would also like to thank the journal’s staff. Without their support and professional assistance, prepublication would not have been possible.
Conflicts of Interest: The author declare no conflict of interest.
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© 2016 by the author; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Toly Chen is with the Department of Industrial Engineering and Systems Management, Feng Chia University, No. 100, Wenhua Road, Taichung City 407, Taiwan.
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, and all kinds of industrial production and consumption. Methods and tools for this purpose have been developed in such fields as industrial engineering, operations research, and system dynamics. Industrial engineering is specifically concerned with improvements in manufacturing productivity and efficiency. The International Standards Organization (ISO), an agency of the United Nations, has veveloped a comprehensive set of standards, guidelines, and best practices. The IEEE, and other professional organizations, have developed useful quality management standards for manufacturing, health care, education, and other professions.
- International Standards Organization (ISO)
- List of ISO Standards, Wikipedia as of 14 February 2014.
- ISO 9001 - Quality Management System, ISO, 2005.
- ISO 9126 - Software Engineering - Product Quality, ISO, 2001.
- ISO 14001 - Environmental Management System, ISO, 2004.
- ISO 14040 -
Environmental management -- Life cycle assessment -- Principles and framework, ISO, 2006.
- ISO 14067 - Greenhouse gases -- Carbon footprint of products -- Requirements and guidelines for quantification and communication, ISO, 2013.
- ISO 25010 - Systems and Software Engineering - -- Systems and Software Quality Requirements, ISO, 2011.
- ISO 26000 - Social Responsibility Guidelines, ISO, 2010.
- ISO 50001 - Energy Management System, ISO, 2011.
- ISO International Classification for Standards (ICS), ISO, 2011.
- Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, NIST, 2011.
- Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, NIST, 2011-2012.
- Baldrige Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence, NIST, 2011-2012.
- Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence, NIST, 2011.
- Case Studies on Good Practices in Nature-based Climate Change Adaptation, Ecosystems and Livelihoods Adaptation Network (ELAN), 2011.
- Special Issue on Sustainability, ISO Focus+, January 2012.
- ISO 20121 - Event Sustainability Management Systems, ISO, 2012.
- The 5 Commandments of Product Sustainability, Alex Loijos, Environmental Leader, 27 March 2013.
- Get ready: Sustainability reporting becoming inevitable, Mike Wallace, GreenBiz, 3 May 2013.
- Energy Management Systems Are Critical for Large Industrial Companies to Remain Competitive, Navigant Research, 23 July 2013.
- Code of Practice for Sustainable Development, World Federation of Engineering Organizations, September 2013.
- Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, Accounting for a Sustainable Future, Jean Rogers et al., website accessed 25 September 2013.
- World Standards Day: ‘International standardisation central to development’, Shamsul Islam, The Express Tribune, 15 October 2013.
- The Value and Impact of Building Codes, Ellen Vaughan and Jim Turner, EESI, 17 October 2013.
- Are environmental management systems just greenwash?, European Comission, SFPE, 7 November 2013.
- ISO 37120: Sustainable development of communities -- Indicators for city services and quality of life, ISO, 2014.
- The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Sustainable Development, Leela Kumar, SSRN, 17 April 2014.
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development: Vision 2050, Jackie Willis, The Guardian, 15 May 2014.
- Preparing for ISO 50001 Energy Management: Energy Management In Small And Medium Scale Industries, University of Twente, announced August 2014, scheduled for November 2 - December 11, 2015.
- Keeping Up With ISO, Chuck Harrington, Jera Sustainable Development, 28 August 2014.
- Are Firms Prepared for ISO 14001 Upgrade?, Environmental Leader, 8 October 2014.
- Social and Environmental Standards, UNDP, 1 January 2015.
- Development-Oriented Corporate Social Responsibility, Volumes 1 and 2, Dima Jamali, Charlotte Karam and Michael Blowfield, Greenleaf Publishing, July 2015.
- Big Growth Ahead for Energy Management System Sector, Carl Weinschenk, Energy Manager Today, 16 February 2016.
- North American Governments Announce Pilot Program to Accelerate Regional Adoption of the Energy Management Standard ISO 50001, U.S. Department of Energy, 27 April 2016.
- International Project Sheds Light on Voluntary Sustainability Standards, Vivek Voora, Food Tank, 16 July 2016.
- Globally-Applicable Geothermal Reporting Standard Is Now Effective, Alexander Richter, ThinkGeoEnergy, 6 October 2016.
- Stages of Corporate Social Responsibility: From Ideas to Impacts, Editors: Idowu, Samuel O. and Vertigans, Stephen, Springer, 2017.
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. Furthermore, quality standards should ensure that dangerous biotechnologies are not used, even if they are financially profitable:
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.
- Federal Energy Subsidies: Energy, Environmental and Fiscal Impacts, Doug Koplow, Alliance to Save Energy, 1993.
- Federal Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Case Study of Increasing Transparency for Fiscal Policy, Doug Koplow and John Dernbach, Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 26:361-389, 2001.
- Analysis of the scope of energy subsidies and suggestions for the G-20 initiative, IEA, OPEC, OECD, and WB, 16 June 2010.
- Increasing the Momentum of Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Reform: A roadmap for international cooperation, Global Subsidies Initiative, 21 July 2010.
- Measuring Energy Subsidies Using the Price-Gap Approach, Doug Koplow, Earth Track, August 2010.
- Phase-out Fossil Fuel Subsidies,
Mark Halle, The Broker Online, 6 October 2010
- Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Bali to Copenhagen Project, IISD, 2011.
- EIA Energy Subsidy Estimates: A Review of Assumptions and Omissions, Doug Koplow, Earth Track, March 2010.
- Scoping Suggestions for NAS Review of Effects of the Tax Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Doug Koplow, Earth Track, April 2011.
- Fossil Fuel Subsidies: A Closer Look at Tax Breaks, Special Accounting, and Societal Costs, David Sher, Environmental and Energy Study Institute, 23 June 2011.
- The Market Is Lying: Why We Must Tax Carbon, Not Subsidize It, Rinaldo Brutoco and Madeleine Austin, Truthout, 8 July 2011.
- International Energy Agency Warns Of Ballooning World Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Muriel Boselli, Reuters, 5 October 2011.
- Banks That Broke the Economy Also Lead on Financing Coal Plants, Sustainable Business, 1 December 2011.
- Time to End Fuel Subsidies?, Will Hickey, Yale Global, 7 June 2012.
- Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications, IMF, 28 January 2013.
- The Energy Game is Rigged: Fossil Fuel Subsidies Topped $620 Billion in 2011, Emily E. Adams, Earth Policy Institute, 27 February 2013.
- IMF: Want to fight climate change? Get rid of $1.9 trillion in energy subsidies, Brad Plummer, Washington Post, 27 March 2013.
- Arab states need to end energy subsidies to create a ‘new relationship with oil’, Vesela Todorova, The National, 28 October 2013.
- Fossil Fuel Subsidies Costing Rich Countries $112 Per Person, Will Nichols, BusinessGreen, 7 November 2013.
International Monetary Fund Says Fossil Fuel Subsidies Cost ~$2 Trillion Annually, Sophie Vorrath, RenewEconomy, 29 April 2014.
- Fossil Fuels Face the Prospect of $30 Trillion in Losses, Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 29 April 2014.
A Flaring Shame: New Report Exposes Hidden Fracking Subsidy, Lukas Ross & Kate Colwell, Common Dreams, 30 September 2015.
- How Cheap Oil Is Accelerating Investment In Sustainable Energy, Philip Killeen, Worldwatch Institute, 14 March 2016.
- Big Oil Companies Have Already Become Dinosaurs, Richard Martin, MIT Techology Review, 16 May 2016.
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Costing Rich Countries $112 Per Person
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen, 7 November 2013
"Average fossil fuel subsidies in the world's richest countries have reached $112 per person, draining national treasuries while undermining international efforts to avert dangerous climate change, according to a new report from the Overseas Development Institute. Fossil fuel subsidies are costing the 34 OECD countries between $55 billion and $90 billion a year, with the highest level of subsidies in Russia, the United States, Australia, Germany and the UK. It calculates that each of the 11.6 billion tons of carbon emitted by the top 11 rich-country emitters in 2010 came with an average subsidy of $7 a ton - around $112 for every adult in those countries - locking the world into a high-carbon future while failing to benefit poorer people."
A Flaring Shame: New Report Exposes Hidden Fracking Subsidy
Lukas Ross & Kate Colwell, Common Dreams, 30 September 2015
"A new, peer-reviewed, report from Friends of the Earth brings to light one of Big Oil’s most overlooked subsidies: royalty-free flaring on public and tribal lands... Royalty-free flaring is both a dangerous addition to climate disruption and a de facto subsidy for the oil industry... For over a century Big Oil has been subsidized to the hilt with everything from tax breaks to royalty free-leasing. To that list we can now add natural gas flaring -- and it has to stop... Focusing on the national epicenter of the flaring boom in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, the new report, “A Flaring Shame: North Dakota & the hidden fracking subsidy,” uses data directly from Bureau of Land Management to reveal the exact amount of gas wasted by individual companies... The original data provided by the BLM is available here."
9. Fostering and Deploying Clean Energy Technologies
There are many short-term strategies to incentivize the development and commercialization of clean energy:
- Financing Clean Energy
- Triple Bottom Line (TBL)
- Towards the Sustainable Corporation: Win-Win-Win Business Strategies for Sustainable Development, John Elkington, California Management Review 36, no. 2 (1994): 90–100.
- Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business, John Elkington, New Society Publishers, 1998.
- Triple Bottom Line (TBL), The Economist, 17 November 2009.
- The Paradox of Power in CSR – Organizational Conflict, Krista Bondy, TBL Magazine, 29 November 2010.
- Triple Bottom Line, Wikipedia as of 27 July 2011.
- The Triple Bottom Line: What Is It and How Does It Work?, Timothy F. Slaper and Tanya J. Hall, Indiana Business Review, Spring 2011.
- Energy System Optimization
- Energy Systems Optimization, Slide presentation by Aristotelis Giannopoulos, 2009.
- Optimization in the Energy Industry, Josef Kallrath et. al., Springer, 2009.
- On-Line Economic Optimization of Energy Systems Using Weather Forecast Information, Victor M. Zavala et. al., ANL (USA), 2009.
- 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. For links to all the modules, click here.
- Energy Optimization in Process Systems, Stanislaw Sieniutycz and Jacek Jezowski, Elsevier, 2011.
Energy Efficiency Policy and Carbon Pricing, IEA, 2011.
Combining Policy Instruments for Least Cost Climate Mitigation Strategies, IEA, 2011.
- Largest Zero Energy Community Opens in US, Sustainable Business, 18 October 2011.
- International Energy Agency (IEA) and Energy Business Council (EBC)
From the IEA website:
"The successful outcome of COP21 has raised hopes and expectations of concerted global efforts to tackle climate change. How will this affect the momentum behind the deployment of key renewable technologies and the drive for greater energy efficiency? Ample supply is keeping downward pressure on fossil fuel prices, coal, oil and natural gas. When and how will market dynamics change – or might lower prices for some fuels be here to stay? The impact of local pollution, often energy-related, on air quality is a matter of rising social and political concern in many countries. How can governments act to tackle this problem – and what would these actions mean for the energy sector?
The World Energy Outlook 2016 (WEO-2016) series – including a special report in June and the full Outlook in November – will seek to shed light on these questions and more, all with the customary mix of rigorous quantitative modelling and insightful analysis. The new projections for different scenarios to 2040, based on the latest data and market developments, will cover all fuels, regions and technologies, with a particular focus on the following topical issues:
• The impact of COP21: WEO-2016 will track progress with the implementation of the different country climate pledges made in Paris and judge what they mean for long-term energy trends. Based on this assessment, it will examine and present policy options to bridge the gap and reach climate objectives in full.
• Major focus on renewables: renewable energy is vital to steer the energy system to the low-carbon future envisioned in the Paris agreement. This analysis will assess the rapid improvement in the competitiveness and economics of renewables, relative to fossil-fuels and other low carbon options, as well as the opportunities and questions that a rising share of renewable energy open up for the energy system as a whole.
• The road ahead for fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas remain the bedrock of global energy use but all face an uncertain period of adjustment, both to today’s market conditions and – over the longer term – to the prospect of a new policy landscape post-COP21. With lower prices bringing down the axe on many new projects, WEO-2016 will assess the impact on tomorrow’s market balances and the different pathways and risks that lie further ahead.
• Mexico’s energy outlook: the comprehensive energy reform package passed in Mexico will have profound effects on the country’s energy sector development. This analysis will evaluate the potential impact of the reforms for Mexico’s upstream as well as its power sector and wider economy, and consider Mexico’s choices within the context of an increasingly integrated North American energy market.
• Energy and water: Energy depends on water, and water requires energy. This analysis will build on work done in WEO-2012 and assess current and future freshwater requirements for energy production, highlighting potential vulnerabilities and key stress points. It will include, for the first time, the energy requirements for different processes in the water industry, including wastewater treatment, transport and desalination.
• Special report on energy and air quality (to be released in June): Energy-related air pollution leads to millions of premature deaths and costs the global economy trillions of dollars each year. As the world’s population grows and demand for energy services swells, the already high costs of air pollution risk increasing dramatically. This ground-breaking special report will provide new analysis to help decision-makers evaluate different policy paths and to provide clear recommendations for future action."
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