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Economics: 25/50 of 855
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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...
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...

Economics: 25/50 of 855
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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...
Cows near Dolwyddelan Castle in the Conwy Valley, Wales. Photo: George Frost / Gelephoto via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Britain's dairy crisis - we must account for real costs, and for true value

Megan Perry / Sustainable Food Trust

30th October 2015

The UK dairy industry is in crisis, writes Megan Perry, with falling prices forcing many farmers out of business. Smaller, more sustainable farms have been the worst casualties, while the large, intensive producers survive. We must ditch market-driven 'survival of the fittest' attitudes - and recognise both the real costs of intensification, and the true value of traditional farming. more...
A beaver's services to landscape and wetland management are worth $120,000 a year, according to today's Earth Index.

How much is nature worth? More than you can imagine

Neil Nightingale

8th October 2015

However much you think nature is worth, it's a lot more, writes Neil Nightingale. According to the BBC's 'Earth Index', published today in the world's financial press, water alone is worth as much as the entire global economy, and a single beaver's landscape and wetland management clocks in at $120,000 a year. more...
Some rhinos are more equal than others ... and this Asian Rhino in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal is, it appears, less equal than its African cousins. Photo: Joshua Alan Davis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Africa's rhinos grab the cash while their Asian cousins head for extinction

David Tosh

2nd October 2015

Two of Asia's three rhino species are 'critically endangered', writes David Tosh, yet the lion's share of rhino conservation resources is lavished on Africa. The reason is simple: Africa's rhinos generate more cash from tourism. But should this really be the point? more...
Bob Inglis, Executive Director at the Engery and Enterprise Institute, taking part in a panel discussion on how to sell carbon pricing to Canadians in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, hosted by Canada 2020. Photo: Canada 2020 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Republicans must make climate change their own! Bob Inglis, ex Congressman

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

24th September 2015

Bob Inglis is a true Republican, writes Zachary Davies Boren. But now he's a ex-Congressman. All because he reckons that climate change is real, serious and demands solutions - among them a carbon tax to stop free riders dumping their trash in the sky. And, he's certain: it's only a matter of time before the GOP will come to see things his way. more...
'Oil Refinery at Oxymoron'. Artwork by Wyatt Wellman via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

China syndrome: fracked oil and Saudi Arabia's big gamble hit sinking global economy

James Meadway / DeSmog.uk

10th September 2015

For anyone who believes in the ineffable wisdom of 'free' markets, the current sinkaway oil price takes some explaining, writes James Meadway. Saudi Arabia's big gamble that it could put US shale oil out of business by over-pumping has now collided with China's falling demand for energy. Result: oil producers everywhere are swimming in red ink. Where will it all end? more...
For Tony Blair, climate change was a core issue. But his successors are leaving it to Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband. Launching the 'Breaking the Climate Deadlock' report in Tokyo, Japan, 27th June 2008. Photo: The Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Aspiration versus climate change: can we win back the centre left?

Leo Barasi

28th August 2015

Commitment to action on climate change was once a banner of modernism adopted by by both Tony Blair and David Cameron, writes Leo Barasi. But no longer. The Tories have abandoned it entirely, while the Labour mainstream, in thrall to the twin narratives of 'austerity' and 'aspiration', looks the other way. So how to put climate change back on the centre-left agenda? more...
Living within ecological limits - austerity? Or sustainable abundance? Photo: Bart via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Death to 'austerity'. Long live sustainable abundance!

Rupert Read & Sandy Irvine

30th August 2015

Greens are united in opposing neoliberal 'austerity', write Rupert Read & Sandy Irvine. But there's another kind of austerity to which we are committed - that of living within ecological limits. But base the transition on social, economic and environmental justice, and there will be nothing austere about it. The future we're working for is one of sustainable, life-enhancing abundance. more...
A legally questionable logging corridor built by Asia Pulp and Paper inside the traditional home of the Orang Rimba, one of Indonesia's last nomadic cultures. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Act now, or tropical forests will be a sorry sight in 2100

Simon Lewis

24th August 2015

Based on current performance tropical forests, the world's most biodiverse ecosystems, are set to be reduced to species-impoverished fragments by the end of the century, writes Simon Lewis. But it's not inevitable. Decisive action by the world's governments in Paris in December could secure desperately needed change. more...

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