"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Return of the Meme

Election and economic madness hasn't really subsided, but some interesting stuff is coming out on the sustainability front.

I just picked up (in addition to some Python lit) at B&N the following three magazine special issues:

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: The future of nuclear energy (academic firewall)
The Humanist: Shades of Green: Environmental alternatives for a post-oil future (mail order)
New Scientist: The Folly of Growth: How our economy is killing the earth (Free! Buy one anyway!)

The last one is especially highly recommended. Buy it while it's still on the newsstand! (Tim Jackson, Herman Daly, David Suzuki, James Speth...)

Hope to have some time to discuss some of these ideas soon.

Also I've started getting press releases! Sorta fun.

In addition to the recent plethora of make-gasoline-from-CO2 nonsense (Invest!) I've finally gotten something of interest:
October 20, 2008 – New York, NY – howyoucansavetheworld.com is a destination for remarkable ideas from today’s most sought-after visionaries, innovators, and thought leaders. These new viewpoints are presented to battle the challenges our society faces today and highlight the effect they have on tomorrow. Today’s focus is the world’s growing pollution problem.

Not everyone can have a car, if we still want a planet”

By Lee Schipper, Former Co-director of EMBARQ, the Center for Sustainable Transportation and the World Resources Institute

In his blog, Schipper warns the world about the effects of transport-produced CO2 emissions.

Getting real stakeholders to the table is the only way to clear the air and reduce CO2 emissions from transport. With the lack of any real initiative at the US National level, engaging the leaders of nations representing close to 3 billion people in Asia may be a more viable strategy since with few exceptions Asia has only started to bury itself in a CO2-intensive development. But time is short. The exceptions – the hopelessly snarled mega-cities of the continent, are attracting more and more people to perennial gridlock. Since so few people in Asian own cars, it may not be too late to change courses.

Howyoucansavetheworld.com is an extension of SCI FI’s public affairs initiative Visions For Tomorrow.
The Visions for Tomorrow stuff is spectacularly lame on the whole but the Howyoucansavetheworld.com spinoff is very promising. (except perhaps for the fact that they didn't invite me to contribute)

This is the second time in two days I've seen the concept of universal automobile ownership challenged in high profile media. Progress?

Update: The zeitgeist is a mysterious beast. TB has had similar thoughts today.


David B. Benson said...

Really simple. Figure out the CO2 produced by all aspects of the automobile's manufacturer. Tax that at $40 per tonne.

Add the same to the gasoline and lubricants.

Use the proceeds to remove the CO2 from the air via olivine mineralization.

gravityloss said...

This could be the future of nuclear:

No transuranic waste. A thermal thorium fluoride breeder using less than 100 kg of thorium for a gigawatt year of electricity.

Prototypes built and operated forty years ago already - and then forgotten. People, even those in the nuclear industry or academia, nowadays only know of the fast breeders.

You can ask me or anyone on the forum more about it.
I have a short intro to the concept here

Dano said...

It's a function of where I live (McSuburb), but the BNs out here don't have The Humanist. Maybe I'll go downtown or closer to a Uni. They do have New Scientist however, so thanks for the tip, Michael.



Anna Haynes said...

> "The zeitgeist is a mysterious beast. TB has had similar thoughts today."

Sometimes it's the zeitgeist; other times it's The Submarine.
(" One of the most surprising things I discovered during my brief business career was the existence of the PR industry, lurking like a huge, quiet submarine beneath the news.")