Book review : Ecomind, by Frances Moore Lappé

Here is an inspiring book replete with paradigm shifting ideas and examples. Frances Moore Lappé provides here a real must-read book that will energize its readers and give them all hope for a better world.

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Australian PM repeals carbon tax

Australia repeals carbon taxAfter months of hard work the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott succeeded in repealing that great carbon cutting tool that is the carbon tax. This is a monumental error that is going in the exact opposite direction where all countries are going.

As RTCC noted : ” The removal of the tax, which priced carbon at $21.50 per tonne, isolates Australia at a time when global moves to address climate change are accelerating.”

” Countries are currently in advanced stages of talks at the UN to agree a deal to curb emissions and limit warming to below 2C above pre industrial levels.”

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Renewables cheaper than coal in Australia

Wind turbinesLast week I was reporting that in New Mexico, solar is now cheaper than coal, something that analysts forecast would occur only in three or five years. I was wondering if this was an isolated event or the harbinger of a closer paradigm shift.

Well, it seems that it is NOT an isolated event as in Australia, renewables are now cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels.  Yes, here is another coal-rich nation where low carbon outsiders are cheaper than the subsidized fossil fuels.

I am not sure if you – and I for that matter – understand how big these news are but this is a complete paradigm shift as it will change our world forever and for the better.

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Solar is already cheaper than coal

Solar energy may already cheaper than coalSolar , at least for New Mexico, USA. To Bloomberg : ” First Solar, the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar panels, may sell electricity at a lower rate than new coal plants earn. “

” El Paso Electric Co. agreed to buy power from First Solar’s the 50-megawatt Macho Springs project for 5.79 cents a kilowatt- hour (…) That’s less than half the 12.8 cents a kilowatt-hour for power from typical new coal plants. “

Having solar at grid parity to coal would be a real game changer, a paradigm shift. New coal plants would totally lose their interest, and thus nobody would build them anymore.

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Saudi Arabia to go 100 percent low carbon

Saudi Arabia flagsI already had mentioned very ambitious plans from Saudi Arabia to jump-start a solar revolution. So the following news aren’t totally surprising me. As The Guardian reported :

” Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer, has plans to become 100% powered by renewable and low-carbon forms of energy, according to an influential member of the royal family. “

” But the process is likely to take decades, and some observers are sceptical as to whether it is any more than window-dressing. “

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2°C temperature rise to be expected by 2052

According to the latest report by the Club of Rome, the average global temperature could increase by two degrees Celsius if nothing were done beforehand.

Such an increase is seen a dangerous as it would enable positive feedback mechanisms – such as drying up of the Amazon or melting permafrost in Siberia –  to be unleashed.

This report is another proof from indisputable sources that our business-as-usual model will collapse if we are not embracing a paradigm shift as soon as possible.

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Spineless leaders and our common collapse

Let’s talk about the current economic and financial downturn, shall we ? With my educational background in international management, I am following the events quite closely. Besides, I am personally concerned by the economic situation…

If I have been referring to a triple crisis for some time now, Thomas L Friedman from the New York Times noted recently that he believes we are in a quadruple crisis with America, Europe, China and the Arab world at the core.

Now, The Economist, in its October 1st edition is talking about ” spineless leaders “. The article is just incredibly frightening and an absolute must read and must share.

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Precarity is another reason for a green New Deal

I seldom write about social or economic issues on this blog as I am more prone to tackle environmental ones, and this even if they are part of the sustainable development triptych.

But each time I blog about social topics it seems I am watching Rom burn and collapse. My last post here was on youth unemployment. And the situation on this front haven’t changed for the good but for the worse.

One of the latest issues of Courrier International [Fr] (see the cover above) is on youth unemployment and the massive precarity.

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Book review : Environmental strategy and sustainable development

While looking for a new book in the shelves of the ESSEC Business School’s learning center, I found this one. With such a promising and current title, little was I doubting that it was written more than 15 years ago.

Indeed, published little after the Rio summit, the author – Richard Welford – outlines what he subtitled the corporate challenge for the 21st century. This couldn’t be more true today…

Despite being much shorter than books I reviewed until now, it is full with useful information on many subjects.

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Will peak coal really occur next year ?

The topic of peak coal is not entirely new as I wrote previously twice about it. What is entirely new is the date. To research carried by Tadeusz W. Patzek and Gregory D. Croft coal production from existing coalfields could peak as early as next year.

But this is not all as still to their report production from existing coalfields is expected to fall by 50 percent by 2050. Such news need to be spread among our leaders so action can occur.

We can live without coal – and oil for that matter – if we prepare ourselves early enough. Indeed, there are plenty of alternatives.

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Another reason to hate food waste

We know it, biofuels aren’t a sustainable solution as they take food from a billion hungry people. Now here is another fact that literally infuriates me : “(the) food wasted by the US and Europe could feed the world three times over.

This isn’t entirely new as I already tackled the issue. What is new is the importance of this phenomenon on climate change as producing this food produces carbon dioxide and as the waste produces methane.

I believe we truly need a paradigm shift on food. I also think that if people knew how much time and resources it takes to produce food they would waste much less.

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$2.2 trillion : the huge costs of environmental damages

The Guardian published last week a most interesting series of articles on a report to be published this year by the United Nations and Trucost which estimates the damages on the environment to $2.2 trillion per year.

To the newspaper ” the activities of the world’s 3,000 biggest companies estimates one-third of profits would be lost if firms were forced to pay for use, loss and damage of environment”

This poses an important question: Are we ready to pay for the damages done to the environment ? This question leads to many others on our societies and economies.

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