We are now living in the beginning of a period of global transition. Over the next two decades we will be rebuilding the infrastructure of our civilization. We could choose to replace existing infrastructure with something similar, but slightly newer and more expensive… or we could choose to build the economy of the future. There’s no question about which is a better investment.
As we come to grips with the mounting costs of inefficient outdated technologies, we are beginning to see the unprecedented economic incentive for moving swiftly to redesign the built environment that we inhabit. The amount of energy trapped in hydrocarbon molecules deep underground is minuscule in comparison to the amount of solar energy that lands on the surface of the Earth and the resulting kinetic energy that moves around our planet all day, every day.
Continue reading “Earth Day Comment: We are Living the Transition”
Building a Green Economy
How to Avert Extreme Carbon Asset Risk, Price Carbon Affordably & Achieve Climate Resiliency
7:45 pm – 9:45 pm
Monday, November 11, 2013
64 Morningside Drive
New York, NY 10027
>>> Click here to register – It’s free
Due to the urgent need for the United States to respond to the escalating crisis in global climate destabilization, Organizing for Action is hosting action and education events around the country this month, and has invited Joseph Robertson—author of Building a Green Economy: On the Economics of Carbon Pricing & the Transition to Clean, Renewable Fuels, founder and president of Geoversiv Envisioning and a coordinating volunteer for the non-partisan Citizens Climate Lobby—to speak about carbon pricing policy and the emerging green economy.
Continue reading “Building a Green Economy: a Talk at Columbia University”
From the conference: Energy Security: Building Our Future in the Southern Tier. On Conservation, Efficiency & Renewables. Corning Community College November 12, 2011 Building a Green Economy: On the Economics of Carbon Pricing & the Transition to Clean, Renewable Fuels Joseph Robertson [ ‘Building a Green Economy Joseph Robertson’ from Shaleshock Media on Vimeo. ] … Continue reading Building a Green Economy talk (video)
There is nothing ideological about the issue of renewable energy resources. Proponents tend to care about the health of the natural environment, which motivates their wish to see renewables replace high-polluting fuel sources like oil and coal, but the technologies, the fact of their economic viability and their usefulness for society at large, are not in any way a matter of ideology.
Neither is there anything ideological about the allegiance of some to carbon-based fuels. The considerations are entirely practical on all sides, and we need to remember this as we try to find consensus on how to move forward, responsibly, as a civilization, in terms of our relationship to energy and the environment.
Continue reading “Renewable Energy is Not an Ideological Issue”
At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we held the first of our series of Climate Talks, to explore with more depth and more detail some of the intricacies of the climate crisis, including social, philosophical and political, dynamics, and the way we frame our perception of global-scale phenomena. It was a construtive conversation, from four points of view, each of which was able to benefit from a kinship of interest, so that whether we were discussion environmental justice, political solidarity, economics and collaborative politics or Villanova’s ongoing commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, there were ways to deepen and broaden our understanding of each facet of the problem from each of the different perspectives.
Continue reading “Climate, Energy & Ethics Roundtable (video + recap)”
One solution for California would be the expansion of its efforts across the region and the nation, to spur the creation of a full-scale renewable resource-based power grid, to optimize both generative capacity and distribution. The question is, now that the decision has been made to shift toward renewables, how can California go beyond the 1/3 threshold and build a strong renewable-energy export economy?
Part of California’s renewables build-up process might well be, as Gov. Schwarzenegger suggests, a dynamic market in which renewable resourced energy is imported into the state. But part of California’s goal in doing this, admittedly, is to depend less on the volatility of imported energy. So there will have to be a major shift in the investment of public funds toward renewables infrastructure, within the state.
Continue reading “California Could Build Renewable Resource Export Economy”
The converging crises of carbon-induced climate destabilization and unsustainable transport-related costs and land-use are pushing global society toward a moment of major change, in which “fuel” as we know it will be less a matter of resourced-fuel combustion and more a matter of renewable clean electric power storage and delivery. The petroleum industry needs to adjust its business model to operate in a world where burning its prime resource is not the goal.
Until now, and even in the midst of the current ongoing energy debate, we are accustomed to viewing the onset of renewable energy sources and the interests of petroleum companies as diametrically opposed and politically incompatible. That idea is now easily seen as what it is: an ideological assumption based on a world-view informed by too few facts and too little understanding of complex interrelationships among resources, natural systems, and economic activity.
Continue reading “Big Oil Needs to Adjust to Non-fuel Long-term Business Model”
A new study has shown that raindrops can be used to produce electricity. The key is the mechanical energy of the raindrops, meaning the energy contained in their motion and in the way that force is diffused when striking a given type of surface. In this case the surface is PVDF (polyvinylidene difluoride) plastic, which is able to release a charge when temporarily “deformed” by mechanical activity, such as being struck by a moving object.
A sheet of PVDF just 25 micrometers thick (1,000 = 1 milimeter) receives the impact of raindrops, and the effect is the release of energy, which can be harvested and turned into electricity. Romain Guigon, from the research institute CEA Leti-Minatec in Grenoble, France, says the research shows that “even in the most unfavorable conditions, the mechanical energy of the raindrops… is high enough to power low-consumption devices”, but the study does not specify how well circuitry retains a minimum charge sufficient for regular functioning.
Continue reading “Raindrops New Source of Low-Intensity Clean Energy”
electromagnetic drive could make wings, wheels, combustion obsolete
A new breakthrough in propulsion technology may enable a fuel-free engine with no moving parts to use microwaves to push satellites through space and automobiles on earth. The science is complicated and controversial, but appears to be sound and takes advantage of Einstein’s landmark theory of relativity to turn contained microwaves into a propulsion system, in the form of a non-mechanical engine.
The electromagnetic drive (emdrive) system is revolutionary because it enables human technology to interact with the physical environment in ways previously only dreamed in science fiction. Observers have referred to it as a Star-Trek-style “warp drive”, though for now it is far less powerful.
Continue reading “Microwave Engine Applies Theory of Relativity, for Locomotion”
Between the years 2008 and 2020, we are likely to see a still unimaginably sweeping shift away from fossil fuels and high-contamination modes of powering our economy. The transition will have a political component, but will be driven mostly by cost concerns, resource scarcity, and public demand for cleaner air and responsible climate policy, a demand which is not ideological in nature.
The long-term overhaul of the global economy, to bring it in line with what would be a responsible climate policy, will be more gradual, and has for some time now been taking its first halting steps toward acquiring momentum. But wealthy countries, ostensibly the most dependent on carbon-based fuels, also enjoy the conditions that permit broader flexibility in fuel resourcing, namely an economic cushion and variety in the marketplace.
Continue reading “The 12-year Sea Change, the Green Economy”