Archive for the month “February, 2015”

News update

Indias 100 GW Solar Target Could Create 1 Million Jobs by 2022
The Energy Collective
Delhi is abuzz as the first renewable energy-financing summit organized by the Indian government, RE-Invest 2015, wrapped up with commitments totaling a whopping 266 GW of renewable energy in the next 5 years. For context of the magnitude of these commitments, the country currently has about 250 GW of total installed power from all sources. According to a new interim report, if India achieves its new target of 100 GW of installed solar energy by 2022, as many as 1 million FTE jobs could be created.

Is the US Overplaying Its Energy Hand?
Richard Heinberg
This is how empires crash: the folks in charge pay their information ministries to come up with only good news; rulers act on the basis of unrealistic assumptions; reality bites; and when it does, no one is prepared. The evidence suggests the United States is playing energy poker with a pair of jacks in its hand, but betting as if it had four aces.

Israel, Gaza, and Energy Wars in the Middle East
Michael Schwartz, Tomdispatch.com
Amid the many fossil-fueled conflicts in the region, one of them, packed with threats, large and small, has been largely overlooked, and Israel is at its epicenter. Its origins can be traced back to the early 1990s when Israeli and Palestinian leaders began sparring over rumored natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean off the coast of Gaza.

The Problem of Debt as We Reach Oil Limits (Part 3 – A New Theory of Energy and the Economy)
Gail Tverberg
Many readers have asked me to explain debt. They also wonder, “Why can’t we just cancel debt and start over?” if we are reaching oil limits, and these limits threaten to destabilize the system. To answer these questions, I need to talk about the subject of promises in general, not just what we would call debt.

Fooling peak oil one more time: can we find new sources of liquid hydrocarbons?
Ugo Bardi
The world peak of conventional oil production took place in 2005-2006, but the supply of combustible liquids did not decline, mainly because of the contribution of the newly developed shale oil (or tight oil) fields. With the impending worldwide peak of all liquids it is likely that the industry will try a new, all out effort to squeeze out the last drops of liquid oil from whatever sources are available, no matter how dirty and expensive.

Is An Infinite Amount of Oil Enough?
Rhett Allain, Wired.com
The burning of oil based products produces carbon dioxide and other stuff that’s not so nice. Also, there is only so much oil in the ground. Sure, the Earth keeps making more through a very slow process. But we are using it up way faster than it is being created by natural means. So, the question is: how much oil can we find? How long will it last? Let’s get started.

To Make Hope Possible Rather Than Despair Convincing
David Bollier
Discourse is law.  And it’s something that progressive advocates have never really learned.  They have never developed a discourse that can express their own putative values.  Wittingly or not, most have instead embraced the utopian narrative of American neoliberalism – that human progress will continue through economic growth, better technology, and a system of government that caters to the demands of capital while making grudging concessions to social or environmental concerns. 

Isaac Asimov: The Nightmare Life Without Fuel

Edward Burtynsky: The end of oil
In 1977, Time magazine asked science writer Isaac Asimov for his vision of an energy-poor society that might exist at the end of the 20th century. The following portrait, Asimov noted, need not prove to be accurate. It is a picture of the worst, of waste continuing, of oil running out, of nothing in its place, of world population continuing to rise. But then, that could happen, couldnt it?

So its 1997, and its raining, and youll have to walk to work again. The subways are crowded, and any given train breaks down one morning out of five. The buses are gone, and on a day like today the bicycles slosh and slide. Besides, you have only a mile and a half to go, and you have boots, raincoat and rain hat. And its not a very cold rain, so why not?

Lucky you have a job in demolition too. Its steady work.

Slow and dirty, but steady. The fading structures of a decaying city are the great mineral mines and hardware shops of the nation. Break them down and re-use the parts. Coal is too difficult to dig up and transport to give us energy in the amounts we need, nuclear fission is judged to be too dangerous, the technical breakthrough toward nuclear fusion that we hoped for never took place, and solar batteries are too expensive to maintain on the earths surface in sufficient quantity. Read more…

News update

What is Saudi Arabia not telling us about its oil future?
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
What if the Saudis are acting now to undermine U.S. and Canadian oil production because they realize that Saudi production will soon reach a peak? What if the Saudis fear that energy efficiency, fuel substitution (say, toward natural gas), and mandated greenhouse gas emission reductions will inevitably diminish their oil revenues beyond the next decade? What if this coming decade will therefore be the best time to maximize Saudi revenues per barrel?

The worlds energy information duopoly comes to an end
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Until now most energy price and supply forecasts and analyses were based predominately on information from the globes two leading energy information agencies: the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the International Energy Agency (IEA). Recent developments are beginning to undermine the supremacy of the worlds long-running energy information duopoly and its perennially optimistic narrative.

The Year the Dam of Denial Breaks on Climate Change
Paul Gilding, Cockatoo Chronicles
This is the year the “dam of denial” will break and the momentum for climate action will become an unstoppable flood. It will be messy, confusing and endlessly debated but with historical hindsight, 2015 will be the year. The year the world turned, primarily because the market woke up to the economic threat posed by climate change and the economic opportunity in the inevitable decline of fossil fuels.

A clash of epistemologies: why the debate on climate change is going nowhere
Ugo Bardi, Resource Crisis
Scientists know how much work and study is needed to understand climate science and resent what they saw as superficiality and approximation in the debate. The result is the kind of clash we saw on the SCI blog. It was, if you like, a clash of epistemologies: rhetoric against the scientific method.

William Cattons warning
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Overshoot
 may stand as the central text of the 20th century about the ecological fate of humankind. The book represents a missed opportunity in that so few people were able to hear what Catton had to say in 1980, and so few want to hear it noweven as the headlines are filled with the very precursors of the bottleneck he laments in his last major piece of writing.

Extinct—Extincter—Extinctest
Dmitry Orlov
The current low prices are not high enough to sustain this new, expensive production for much longer, and the current glut is starting to look like a feast to be followed by famine. The direct cause of this famine will not be energy but debt, but it can still be traced back to energy.

Utopians are ruining everything
Leaving Babylon
Utopian memes have misled people into thinking that top-down design of ideal societies is the right strategy for creating a better world. Even permaculture has been infected, imposing top-down landscaping designs upon the land with predictably disappointing results. (Also see the follow-up post: Generating a future that works)

A Moral Code For The Post-Collapse World
Zero Hedge
Popular media today, including television and cinema, are rife with examples of what is often referred to as moral relativism — the use of false and fictional moral dilemmas designed to promote the rationalization of an “ends justify the means” narrative.

Bangalore meeting with Naresh of Transition Town Totnes

totnesTransition Towns is a world wide living experiment in how to shift our current system of unequal, growth based consumption, to one where all are living well in times of change and within our planetary boundaries. The transition movement now has many examples of how local, small scale change can influence social and political systems.

Naresh Giangrande, co founder of the first Transition Town Totnes in the UK is touring India over February and March 2015. Naresh is happy to share the learning the Transition Movement has developed. He is also excited by how India is tackling problems of sustainability and how that learning can be used in other countries and in other contexts.

Date: 26th February, 2015
Venue: Ashirwad, St. Mark’s Road, Bangalore
Time: 6 pm – 9 pm
Contact person: Stanley Ravi (Mob: 9886705452, Email: gtya.m)

for talks, donations would be welcome but are not essential.
for trainings some sort of exchange is welcome.

Transition Network Logo - Home
For more information, visit the Transition Network website, or visit their Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Video: Cubas "Technological disobedience"

Motherboard TV

In 1991, Cubas economy began to implode. The Special Period in the Time of Peace was the governments euphemism for what was a culmination of 30 years worth of isolation. It began in the 60s, with engineers leaving Cuba for America. Ernesto Oroza, a designer and artist, studied the innovations created during this period. He found that the general population had created homespun, Frankenstein-like machines for their survival, made from everyday objects. Oroza began to collect these machines, and would later contextualize it as art in a movement he dubbed Technological Disobedience.

Read the original article.

Video: Cubas Technological disobedience

Motherboard TV

In 1991, Cubas economy began to implode. The Special Period in the Time of Peace was the governments euphemism for what was a culmination of 30 years worth of isolation. It began in the 60s, with engineers leaving Cuba for America. Ernesto Oroza, a designer and artist, studied the innovations created during this period. He found that the general population had created homespun, Frankenstein-like machines for their survival, made from everyday objects. Oroza began to collect these machines, and would later contextualize it as art in a movement he dubbed Technological Disobedience.

Read the original article.

News update

Madhya Pradesh to get world’s largest solar power plant
Times of India
Next year on Independence Day, India will have the worlds largest 750MW solar power plant in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh, which will pip Americas much-vaunted 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight solar project in California, commissioned four days ago. The state government is setting up the plant in a joint venture with Solar Energy Corporation of India.

As coal auctions begin in Delhi, a splendid forest in Chhattisgarh awaits slow death
Raksha Kumar, Scroll.in
Hasdeo Arand, is spread over 1,200 square kilometres in north Chhattisgarh. It is one of India’s last remaining biodiversity rich forests with an unbroken canopy that acts as an important wildlife corridor. Ignoring its own categorisation, however, the UPA government gave clearances to three coal mines in Hasdeo Arand. The BJP government has put one of those blocks for auction in the first phase itself.

World’s public health leaders call for an end to coal
Noharm-asia.org
At the close of their international conference in Kolkata, as part of a broad “Call to Action for Public Health,” the world’s public health associations advocated “a rapid phase-out of coal” to limit further global warming and prevent illnesses and deaths associated with air pollution. The Call to Action points to the “contribution of fossil fuels and coal in particular to climate change as well as to detrimental impacts on the health and well being of local communities.”

The contested story of India’s green shoots (Review of Jairam Rameshs book)
Siddharth Singh, Livemint
Jairam Ramesh was one of independent India’s most successful heads of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). Activists loved him (they still do) while those worried about economic growth considered him a Luddite. This member of the Manmohan Singh government has now penned his record of the 25 months when he was at the helm of the MoEF. Green Signals: Ecology, Growth, and Democracy in India (Oxford University Press) is the story of a contemporary conflict.

Climate change hampering world food production, say scientists
Yahoo News
The acceleration in climate change and its impact on agricultural production means that profound societal changes will be needed in coming decades to feed the worlds growing population, researchers at an annual science conference said. According to scientists, food production will have to be doubled over the next 35 years to feed a global population of nine billion people in 2050, compared with seven billion today.

Climate researcher says CIA fears hostile nations are manipulating the worlds weather
The Daily Mail, UK
CIA chiefs fear hostile nations are trying to manipulate the world’s weather. Professor Alan Robock, a climate researcher from Rutgers University in New Jersey, has told of mysterious phone call asking whether foreign countries could be triggering droughts or flooding. CIA is believed to have helped fund a major report into geoengineering.

Imagining the Future History of Climate Change
New York Times
Naomi Oreskes is a historian of science at Harvard, but she is attracting wide notice these days for a work of science fiction. The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future, written with Erik M. Conway, takes the point of view of a historian in 2393 explaining how “the Great Collapse of 2093” occurred. The 104-page book was listed last week as the No. 1 environmental best-seller on Amazon.

Trees as repositories of climate history 
Startribune.com
Most of us know that a tree’s age can be determined by counting its rings. But three scientists at the University of Minnesota say that’s just the beginning. Those rings also bear witness to floods, drought and other milestones, making it possible to track climate, weather and natural disaster trends spanning centuries.

The Sharing Cities Toolkit

Shareable.net

Responding to the calls from organizers in the SCN who articulated the need for a cohesive repository of the tools and resources necessary to support their cities on the path to becoming a Sharing City. To meet this need we are creating the Sharing Cities Toolkit; an evolving compilation of resources comprised of a mix of How-to’s, Project Guides, example Policy and tried and true Models and Advice. While a lot of these resources have been either created or published by Shareable over the last five years we are curating the best content we can find and have pulled resources created by many other organizations.

Table of Contents:

Sharing City Organizing
Community Action Guides
Legal Advocacy Resources
Project Specific Resources
Fundraising Resources
Sharing Economy Presentations
Tools For Organizing
General Nonprofit Resources
Contribute to this Toolkit

Access the Sharing Cities Toolkit

T. Vijayendra: Post Carbon Society And Transition

The Industrial Society or the Carbon Society
The present social system that we are living is called Industrial Society. It began with the Industrial Revolution (1760 -1830) in the West and was followed by social revolution in various countries Holland, France, England and the USA, ending the age old feudal society and ushering in a capitalist society. Later, similar revolutions followed in many countries in the West and in Japan in the East. In the twentieth century, many socialist revolutions occurred, notably in Russia, China, Cuba and Vietnam. All of them had two things common ushering in an industrial society (whether capitalist or socialist) and ending the feudal society.

However, capitalism spread in other countries too mainly through colonialism, but without effecting a similar social revolution. These countries are generally known as Third World countries, which includes India too. In the absence of a social revolution, it did not unleash the people’s energy as they continued to suffer from poverty and lack of education and good health care. On the other hand, many traditional low energy technologies and ways of living are still active in these societies.

The material basis of industrial society has been coal, oil and many other minerals. These are generally known as non-renewable resources because, unlike plant and animal resources, these are fixed in quantity under the earth and as we take them out, their stock keeps on dwindling. Among these, coal and oil are the most important because they represent concentrated sources of energy. Hence industrial societies can also be called carbon-based societies. Read more…

Richard Matthews: Why We Need a New Climate Change Narrative

Richard Matthews, Global Warming Is Real

We need new narratives to combat the pervasive popular and political inertia. Our old narratives are not working and may even lead to apathy and indifference. Despite the scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change we are not moving fast enough to change our perilous course. According to a 2013 Pew survey, only 69 percent of those surveyed accept the view that the earth is warming, and only 1 in 4 Americans see global warming as a major threat. These numbers illustrate that we need to craft a new narrative and do a better job of communicating the urgency of climate change action.

Even the devastating spate of extreme weather events in the last decade has not augured change. We desperately need a stronger and more far-reaching global movement. To do that, we need an inspirational vision that resonates with the vast majority of the general public. The story we tell must not only be highly desirable it must also be achievable. To reach new audiences we must inculcate the research findings of a wide array of disciplines including science, technology, economics, politics, psychology and sociology.

In the final analysis, the goal is to empower individuals and stimulate action through positive examples of behavior change. These new narratives are a fundamental first step. They will clear the way for a paradigm shift that will make broad spectrum progress possible. Unless people see a way forward, they will not move in the right direction. We need systemic solutions that can only come from a paradigm shift, but first we need to lay the foundation with new narratives.

While it is clear we need a paradigm shift, historically such shifts have taken centuries. This adds to the urgency of our endeavor as we are now faced with a situation where we must bring about change at an unprecedented pace. To expedite the paradigm shift mentioned above we must build a compelling narrative. The key to engaging climate change is not about science, technical details, or even financing, it is ultimately about getting people to believe in the need for change. The new narrative is about making change more alluring and less fear inspiring.

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