The Ecologist

 

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New scientific insights on ecologically unequal trade

Nick Meynen

23rd November, 2016

Conventional economic analyses of trade tend only to discern the flows of money, writes NICK MEYNEN. But by also considering biophysical metrics - such as material and energy flows, and embodied water and land - ecological economists can identify the asymmetric flows of resources obscured by the apparent reciprocity of market prices. more...
Postgrowth debate on 28 Nov 2016

The End of Growth?

11 November 2016

An evening debate with Federico Demaria, Graeme Maxton, Jørgen Randers and Kate Raworth at the House of Commons, Monday 28 Nov 2016 more...
Once a rainforest ... land cleared for a palm oil plantation, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Privatizing nature, outsourcing governance: the economics of extinction

Margi Prideaux

7th November 2016

The 'Global Redesign Initiative', a project of the World Economic Forum, aims to replace UN-based intergovernmental decision-making with unaccountable 'multi-stakeholder governance' run by and for corporations, writes Margi Prideaux. What future for nature and people in this brave new world? Generate profits for investors, or face extinction or exclusion to the margins of existence. more...
Flyer for the Lucas Plan conference in Birmingham on 26th November 2016.

The Lucas Plan: how Greens and trade unionists can unite in common cause

David King, Breaking the Frame

2nd November 2016

Forty years ago workers at Lucas Aerospace created a detailed plan to transition out of the arms industry and into green, sustainable products and technologies, writes David King. it never happened, yet the Lucas Plan provides a blueprint for similar initiatives today to build a deep-rooted, broad-based movement for social, economic and ecological progress. more...
Wall to wall solar panels on industrial buildings in Birmingham, UK, where the Aurora report was published this week. Photo: h080 via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Cheap as chips! 'Negligible' cost of integrating big solar into UK grid

Oliver Tickell

4th October 2016

A new study shows that the cost of 'integrating' the variable power output of large scale solar PV is surprisingly affordable, writes Oliver Tickell, at just a few pence per unit. Costs will fall further as more wind power, batteries and ever-cheaper solar drive the transition to a 100% renewable power system. more...
These yurts on Mongolia's 'sea of grass' are powered through a miniature solar microgrid that is both compact and lightweight for easy carriage on to the next site. Photo: Shutterstock.

Off-grid renewables: the sustainable route to 100% global electricity access

Adnan Z. Amin / IRENA

4th October 2016

Off-grid renewable energy is key to achieving the global goal of 100% electricity access by 2030, writes Adnan Z. Amin, and to achieving the emissions reductions enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Thankfully, a confluence of factors - including rapid cost declines and impressive technology innovations - are making this goal more achievable than ever, and investment in the sector is taking off. more...

From neoliberalism to ecologism: what needs to happen next?

Nick Meynen

3rd October, 2016

The alternatives to neoliberalism - including a new community type of agriculture and community-owned green energy, local currencies, peer-to-peer networks and a sharing economy - are already here and unfolding right now. All we need is a revolution writes NICK MEYNEN more...
Could a legal, regulated trade in rhino horn help save these wonderful animals by paying for their conservation and taking the profit out of poaching? Photo: rhino on the Eastern Cape, South Africa, by Colin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To save our rhinos, we need a legal horn trade

Keith Somerville, University of Kent

22nd September 2016

The trade ban on rhino horn is not working, writes Keith Somerville. But non-lethally and sustainably harvested rhino horn can earn income to encourage breeders, pay rangers and anti-poaching teams, provide surveillance and supply wider benefits that will gain the support of people around parks, reserves and ranches. more...

Challenging Rising Inequality

Mark Goldring

17 September 2016

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, reports on growing inequality arising from the current economic model that benefits the privileged minority.
Extreme inequality across the globe spells disaster for millions.
more...
Wind farm in India. Photo: Sundaram + Annam via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels

Alex Kirby

15th September 2016

A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel. more...

Why the degrowth debate is gaining momentum

Nick Meynen

2nd September, 2016

Reporting from The 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest - which continues today and tomorrow - NICK MEYNEN explores the new narrative of ‘sufficiency' being discussed and and asks will it catch on before it's too late? more...
To get rid of conservative governments opposition parties must build a 'Progressive Alliance'. Photo: Maurice via Flickr (CC BY).

'Progressive Alliance' is now the only alternative to the Tories

Rupert Read

30th August 2016

Thanks to the UK's crazy 'first past the post' electoral system, there's only way the UK can end austerity and neoliberal government in the next general election, writes Rupert Read: if centre and left parties join in a Progressive Alliance that represents the majority of voters. more...

Economics: 1/25 of 890
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If the unions were so bothered about jobs, they should be supporting renewables, not nuclear. But could it be that those are the 'wrong kind of jobs' - not unionised ones? Photo: Centre for Alternative Technology (www.cat.org.uk) via Flickr (CC BY).

If it's jobs they want, Labour and the unions must back renewables, not Hinkley C!

Ian Fairlie

30th August 2016

Four of Britain's major unions are big supporters of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie - all because of the jobs. Now Labour's shadow energy minister has joined them in backing Hinkley C - even though renewable energy is a far better job-creator than nuclear, and already employs three times more people. more...
Can we secure the future of our countryside - like this landscape in the Yorkshire Dales - with markets in 'ecosystem services'? Robert J Heath via Flickr (CC BY).

Can markets in 'ecosystem services' secure the future of the English countryside?

Dominic Hogg & Luke Dale-Harris

1st September 2016

The EU is already paying farmers and landowners for creating and maintaining valuable habitats, write Dominic Hogg & Luke Dale-Harris. But could the UK do better by creating markets in 'ecosystem services' that would put financial value on clean water, key wildlife habitats, endangered species and precious landscapes? more...
Hydrogen produced from renewable energy is already finding a market as a 'green' fuel for cars. But its future potential goes way beyond that, as a vital storage mechanism for surplus wind / solar electricity on the grid, to provide power on demand. Photo

The hydrogen economy is much nearer than we think

David Thorpe

26th August 2016

Hydrogen made from renewable electricity is already fuelling vehicles at affordable prices, writes DAVID THORPE. But now the 'green' fuel is set to go from niche to mainstream - powering not just cars, trucks and buses, but storing surplus renewable energy on sunny and windy days, then to be burnt in gas turbines or fuel cells to supply the grid with reliable power on demand. more...
The costs of 'growth': Shanghai skyscrapers barely breaking the all-engulfing smog layer. Photo: erhard.renz via Flickr (CC BY).

To deliver sustainable development, first give up on 'growth'

Jason Hickel, LSE

1st September 2016

The global economy has already outgrown the Earth, writes Jason Hickel. Yet even the UN insists that we need decades of continued economic growth to end poverty. The truth is the precise reverse: we must end growth - not just to save our planet but to refocus the economy on meeting human needs. more...
Dry casks for storing irradiated nuclear fuel at the Diablo Canyon plant in Avila, California. The plant is scheduled to close within a decade, but taxpayers will pay to keep spent fuel stored on-site until a federal repository is ready to take it. Photo:

No more taxpayer subsidies for our failing nuclear reactors!

Peter Bradford, Vermont Law School

25th August 2016

New York state recently set a terrible example by approving a $7.6 billion bailout of failing nuclear power plants, writes PETER BRADFORD. But other states aren't following. including California and Nebraska, where a host of highly competitive clean energy technologies are filling in the power shortfall left by nuclear closures, at much lower cost. It's time to let old nuclear reactors die. more...
Intensive arable farming near Eakring, Nottinghamshire, England, carried out with massive taxpayer-funded subsidies to wealthy landowners. Photo: Andrew Hill via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

A post-EU agricultural policy for people and planet

Alex Scrivener

12th August 2016

Brexit gives the UK the chance to reform the system of agricultural subsidies that rewards wealthy landowners at the expense of taxpayers, the global south, the environment, and small scale sustainable farmers, writes Alex Scrivener. But strong, effective campaigning will be needed to bring about the changes we desperately need. more...
R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant near Ontario, NY - one of those to get the Governor Cuomo 'clean energy' subsidy. Photo courtesy of ©Exelon Nuclear via Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

$7.6 billion 'clean energy' bailout for New York nuclear plants

Karl Grossman

3rd August 2016

New York has approved a massive $7.6 billion subsidy to keep four ageing upstate plants open on the false promise that they provide 'clean and renewable energy', writes Karl Grossman. Campaigners for genuine clean energy fear that other pro-nuclear states may follow NY Governor Cuomo's dubious lead. more...
Photo: Roderick Eime via Flickr (CC BY).

Hugh's 'War on Waste' is great - but we need to grasp the bigger picture

Sam Earle

3rd August 2016

Last week's 'War on Waste' - throwaway coffee cups were the deserving target - was an exemplar of effective single-issue campaigning by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. But the answers to our waste problems go way beyond recycling. We must begin to plan a societal transition to a post-consumer culture of caring, sharing, and knowing when we have enough. more...
New 'solar leaves' will be able to produce ethanol directly from sunlight - the perfect liquid fuel for automotive use - with just enough methanol to stop you drinking it. Photo: Eric Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Goodbye gasoline: we can Get It From The Sun

Keith Barnham

21st July 2016

Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. more...
Behind the beach and dunes of Druridge Bay, planning permission for a 350 hectare opencast coal mine has been granted. But if turned into a solar power farm, the same land would produce as much electricity as the coal after 70 years. Photo: Doug Belshaw v

Solar on the best UK sites is competitive with cheap coal

Chris Goodall

15th July 2016

Last week a massive 350 hectare open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay took an important step towards winning panning permission. This got Chris Goodall wondering: what if the land was turned into a solar farm instead? His surprise discovery: solar power on England's south coast already costs no more than coal - and it's only getting cheaper. more...
Tesla Powerwall battery keeping the solar lights on after sunset. Photo: Tesla.com.

Battery revolution empowers consumers, unleashes renewables, imperils Big Energy

Emma Howard / Greenhpeace Energydesk

15th July 2016

Renewable electricity is already undermining the big energy utilities' business model, writes Emma Howard, breaking their monopoly and bringing down energy bills. But with the unfolding battery revolution, it's going to reach a whole new level as wind and solar powered families and communities become ever more self-sufficient, leaving utilities high and dry. more...
New Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom visiting Wytch Farm in Dorset; the largest conventional onshore oilfield in Western Europe, with Brian James, General Manager at Perenco UK, 11th November 2015. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Dis-May-ed! DECC scrapped, Leadsom to run Environment

Oliver Tickell

14th July 2016

Campaigners fear that the abolition of DECC, the department of energy and climate change, indicates that climate will take a low priority in Theresa May's policy agenda. Meanwhile the pro-fracking, pro-nuclear Andrea Leadsom is in charge of environment department Defra. more...
Port for phospate export from the Bou Craa mine, near Laayoune Marsa Boujdour in Western Sahara, 11th March 2013. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The corporate scramble for Africa's minerals: Britain's new colonialism

Colin Todhunter

14th July 2016

Africa is being opened up like a tin of sardines to a new wave of resource extraction, writes Colin Todhunter. Masked under the soubriquets of 'investment', 'growth' and 'free trade', a handful of vast global corporations are systematically plundering the continent's mineral wealth and leaving desolation in their wake, backed to the hilt by that ever-faithful servant of capital - the UK government. more...

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