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Earth and Moon. Photo: NASA ESA via Wikimedia (Public Domain).

A sustainable UK needs a 'one planet' Budget

Alan Simpson

5th February 2016

When Chancellor George Osborne delivers his Budget next month, we can be sure that climate and environment won't take a high priority, writes Alan Simpson. All the more reason for the Labour leadership to develop a new 'one planet' economics for the 21st century that delivers social justice and respects ecological limits. more...
'Grandmother Google, what big teeth you have got!' 'All the better to eat you up with.' Larry Page and Sergey Brin urgently require dental treatment. Image: Duncan Hull / Gizmodo via Flickr (CC BY).

UK Tax Dodgers PLC - Google outrage is the tip of an iceberg

Donnachadh McCarthy

31st January 2016

Why are we so surprised at the Google tax heist? It's not because there's anything new about it, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. It's because our own political class have long their noses in the trough, and the tax-dodging billionaires that own our mainstream media are anxious to hide the swindle that's keeping them rich, and us poor. more...
The future is clean, inexpensive and renewable - if only the government can get over its nuclear obsession. Westmill Solar Park, with wind turbines behind. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Government's nuclear fixation could ruin us all

Caroline Lucas MP

28th January 2016

EDF's unfolding fiasco over the Hinkley C nuclear power station proves that nuclear power can come only at enormous financial cost to consumers and taxpayers, writes Caroline Lucas - and even then, investors are scared off by the risks. The government must get over its nuclear obsession and seize our renewable future. more...
'Committed to Improving the State of the World' - of course they are! Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Mr. Klaus Schwab at WEF16 at Davos, Switzerland, 22nd January. Photo: US Army Sgt. 1st Class Clydell Kinchen / DoD via Flickr (CC BY).

The Davos solution to inequality? Another corporate power grab

David Sogge & Nick Buxton

23rd January 2016

Inequality is on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, write David Sogge & Nick Buxton. A good thing, right? But look at the proposed 'solutions': ramp up the neoliberal 'development' model; lighten business regulation; pursue globalisation with greater vigor ... Yes, you got it. They would all accelerate the transfer the world's wealth upwards to corporate elites. more...
It was fun while it lasted, at least for some. But now the 'growth party' is over. And it's time for us to adjust the new reality. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Peak stuff: the 'growth' party is over. So what next?

Bennet Francis & Rupert Read

22nd January 2016

Over in Davos world leaders are desperately trying to find a 'fourth industrial revolution' to keep the 'growth' juggernaut rolling, write Bennet Francis & Rupert Read. But their efforts are doomed: the real challenge we face is to build a healthy, more equal society and a green, sustainable future for us all. more...
The aftermath of a tornado in Bridge Creek, Oklahoma, 7th May 2015. Photo: Dave Malkoff via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Mother Nature's 'invisible hand' strikes back against the carbon economy

JP Sottile / Truthout

20th January 2016

According to classical economics Adam Smith's 'invisible' hand' of free markets produces the greatest good for us all, writes JP Sottile. But what happens when rip-roaring 'external costs' are left out of the equations? Wars, repression, pollution, resource destruction and climate change. And because that invisible hand is connected to Mother Nature, it's coming back to strike us. more...
Everything must go! Photo: kit via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Beyond failure at COP21, environmentalism has its own shortcomings to address

Paul Mobbs

18th January 2016

The greatest myth of the consumer society is that modern lifestyles are 'normal' - and this can continue forever because we're clever little apes who can solve any problem, writes Paul Mobbs. That hubris, in the face of insurmountable ecological limits, will be our collective downfall. more...
Under TTIP, this landscape of small farms interspersed with trees and woodland in the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, might be unable to survive. Photo: Renate Dodell via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

TTIP: the downfall of European agriculture?

Dario Sarmadi / EurActiv.de

14th January 2016

The TTIP 'trade agreement between the US and the EU would devastate EU farms as it opens them up to competition from larger, less regulated US operations, writes Dario Sarmadi. This is the conclusion of a new study to be published tomorrow, which also finds that small-scale farmers would be the first to go - with the big winners the large agri-food corporations. more...
From small beginnings ... local barefoot solar engineer cleaning PV panels in village outside Ajmer, Rajasthan, India, in December 2008. Photo: Knut-Erik Helle via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

India: solar head to head with coal, says KPMG, and getting cheaper all the time

Chris Goodall

3rd January 2015

A KPMG study shows that the cost of solar power in India, revealed by public auctions, is barely half a cent above that of cheap local coal , writes Chris Goodall, with generators bids falling well below 5p (UK) / 7¢ (US) per kWh. The idea put about at COP21 that India and other poor but sunny countries need coal to develop their economies is fast running out of steam. more...
The Uentrop nuclear plant in Germany cost €2 billion to build, but was closed in 1989 after just 423 days of operation following irreparable technical failures. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

After 60 years of nuclear power, the industry survives only on stupendous subsidies

Pete Dolack

4th January 2016

Almost 60 years since the world's first commercial nuclear power station began to deliver power to the UK's grid, the industry remains as far from being able to cover its costs as ever, writes Pete Dolack. But while unfunded liabilities increase year by year, governments are still willing to commit their taxpayers' billions to new nuclear plants with no hope of ever being viable. more...
Thanks to the growth of renewables, China's coal burn is falling. And it could be part of a long term trend of declining global emissions. Photo: Chengde, Hebei, China, by Gustavo M via Flickr (CC BY).

Good news for COP21: 2015 emissions fall

Tim Radford

8th December 2015

Levels of CO2 are at their the highest in 800,000 years, writes Tim Radford, but news of a probable decline in emissions this year is providing welcome cheer at the COP21 climate summit: thanks to renewables, economic growth and falling emissions can go hand in hand. more...
Minister Gregory Barker visits what was then the UK's largest rooftop solar array at Bentley Motors in Crewe, October 2013. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

EU renews 70% 'solar tax' on Chinese PV

Oliver Tickell

7th December 2015

The EU's decision to renew 'punitive' tariffs on imports of PV modules and cells from China will cost the EU's solar installers an extra £700 million, writes Oliver Tickell - just as the UK industry is reeling from 87% government cuts. more...

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This protestor on the Global Climate March, 29th November 2015 in Berlin, could just have a point. Photo: Jörg Farys / BUND via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Paris climate talks are doomed to failure - like all the others

Steffen Böhm, University of Essex

1st December 2015

The most significant feature of COP21 is the topics that never even made it onto the agenda for discussion, writes Steffen Böhm. And the biggest of all the growth-driven economic system that ultimately thwarts all efforts at sustainability, as it drives ever increasing consumption of energy and resources. more...
Photo: Visit Exmoor via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Forget Black Friday - this is 'Buy Nothing Day'!

Vicki Hird

27th November 2015

Black Friday is yet another manifestation of a consumer culture that is both empty and destructive, writes Vicki Hird. So instead let's join in creative celebrations of Buy Nothing Day ('no purchase necessary'), and develop a new life-enhancing ethic of joyful frugality. more...
Where to get the money from to finance the transition to a low carbon economy? Simple: 'QE for climate' by the world's central banks. Photo: Pictures of Money via Flickr (CC BY).

'QE for climate' is the win-win solution for COP21

Dr. Matthias Kroll

25th November 2015

The governor of the Bank of England recently argued that the risk to the stability of the financial system from climate change is a responsibility of central banks, writes Matthias Kroll. They can begin by using QE - 'quantitative easing' - to finance the Green Climate Fund, and so stimulate the economy, rescue the climate, and save the global financial system. more...
The real trick is happening where you're not looking. 'The conjurer' by Hieronymus Bosch, painted between 1496 and 1520, is now at the Musée Municipal, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Photo: Public Domain / Wikimedia.

'Credo': economics is a belief system - and we are ruled by fundamentalists

Paul Mobbs

6th November 2015

Economics is much more than the study of money, writes Paul Mobbs. It is a belief system, and in its 'mainstream' incarnation, one that serves a very useful purpose - for those that reap the benefits. But as Brian Davey shows in his insightful new book, it's letting the rest of us down: failing to deliver human wellbeing, while driving ecological calamity. more...
With 50 times more solar power on a 'net metering' basis than now (5% vs 0.1%), electricity costs in Pennsylvania would fall by $25 per customer. Business with solar panels in Harleysville, PA. Photo: Montgomery County Planning Commission via Flickr (CC B

Solar power is good for consumers, good for utilities

Richard Flarend, Pennsylvania State University

30th October 2015

An analysis of power prices in the US state of Pennsylvania shows that if solar power increased from the 0.1% of electricity it supplies now, to 5%, then all customers would save $25 a year. Far from 'net metering' for solar being a 'burden' as utilities claim, it makes money for them, and their customers! more...
Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State oil well in McKenzie County, North Dakota, east of Arnegard and west of Watford City. Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Are the fracking vampires going bust? That's how it looks

Joshua Frank

26th October 2015

The high oil prices that turned North Dakota into a boom state have turned, writes Joshua Frank. Now high-cost oil and gas are in the doldrums everywhere, production is falling - and even if prices do pick up one day, risk aversion and the relentless advance of renewables will leave lakes of oil and caverns of gas underground where they belong. Folks, the oil party really is over! more...
Nicholas Stern at the COP15 United Nations climate Change conference, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT (CC BY-SA).

Stern warns: humanity is at climate crossroads

Kieran Cooke

23rd October 2015

Economist Nicholas Stern warns that the stakes have never been higher for radical action to be agreed at the Paris summit, writes Kieran Cooke: while we have the capacity to do all that's needed, it's far from clear that we will actually will. more...
The £1 plan garnered cross-party support from over 30 MPs from all parties yesterday at an action outside the House of Commons including Sir David Amess MP (Con), Mims Davies MP (Con), Kevin Hollinrake MP (Con), Caroline Flint MP (Lab), Caroline Lucas MP

Back our emergency £1 solar rescue plan

Sonia Dunlop / Solar Trade Association

22nd October 2015

Massive government cuts in solar 'feed in tariffs' threaten to wipe out our highly successful solar industry, writes Sonia Dunlop - and all to save £1 year off our fuel bills. Yes, that's all it would cost to keep the sector in business, employing tens of thousands of expert solar installers all over the UK. more...
It costs a lot less than we are told: erection of a wind turbine at Alltwalis Wind Farm in Wales, set in operation December 2009. Photo: Aslak Øverås / Statkraft via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Wind and solar's £1.5 billion electricity price cut

Oliver Tickell

19th October 2015

The effect of wind and solar generation in the UK is to push down wholesale power prices, writes Oliver Tickell, taking over £1.5 billion off our bills in 2014 - that's 58% of the subsidies paid to renewable generators. Keep it up and the benefit will rise to over 100% of cost. more...
Reduced to one meagre bar; old lady fighting to keep warm in Perth, Scotland. Photo: Ninian Reid via Flickr (CC BY).

As tens of thousands die, the UK must act on fuel poverty

Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex

16th October 2015

Fuel poverty is a complex problem with many causes, writes Mari Martiskainen, but it is also a deadly one for some 25,000 thousand people every year. And there is one surprisingly simple solution: a huge upgrade in the energy efficiency of our housing stock. more...
Stephen Hawking. Photo: NASA HQ PHOTO via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Earthly Paradise or Prison Planet? The future is in our hands

Conor Lynch

2nd February 2016

The wave of mechanization and automation that began with the Industrial revolution is not slowing down, writes Conor Lynch. Indeed it is gaining power and is driving another 'great transformation' that could produce untold opulence for the very few, and hellhole for rest of us, or an Earthly paradise for all. But which will it be? Ultimately the future is ours - to choose, and to fight for. more...
Platinum Catalyst in Aqueous Solution: the oxygen atoms, in water, are red; the hydrogen molecules are white, and platinum atoms are blue-gray. High-level details of the structure can be seen in the reflections of each atom surface. Photo: Argonne Nationa

Hydrogen car price breakthrough: it's the platinum

The Ecologist

14th October 2015

Hydrogen cars - and the fuel cells that drive them - are about to get a whole lot cheaper thanks to a redesign of the platinum catalyst that makes them work, writes Oliver Tickell. By inserting atom-sized holes into the precious metal's surface, its activity can be trebled. more...
Wind turbines at Rossendale, England. Photo: reway2007 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Wind turbines and solar panels into nuclear weapons: the UK's new industrial strategy?

Dr Stuart Parkinson

15th October 2015

The UK government is punishing renewable energy for its success in generating 25% of the country's electricity, writes Stuart Parkinson. But there's no austerity when it comes to the bloated military-nuclear industrial sector, no matter how egregious its failures or extreme its cost overruns. Our future prosperity is being sacrificed - and its costing taxpayers billions. more...

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