Archives for posts with tag: renewable energy

Recently, the small start up company Bio Architecture Lab, reported that they have developed a yeast strain that efficiently converted seaweed to ethanol biofuel. This significant advance in biotechnology achieved a place in the most prestigious scientific journal. Nevertheless, Bio Architecture Lab also announced that they had abandoned their commercial scale facility for producing seaweed biofuel. Looking into it, I have been struck by how the overriding challenges we face in terms of energy provision and climate change seem to be more the political economy issues. We seem to have an astonishing capacity to meet technical challenges  and an equally astonishing capacity to become held up by awkward political economy issues.

My recent post “Could this be a way to scrutinize climate science enough for the skeptics?“, was all about grappling with the controversy over whether or not our climate is at risk from fossil fuel use. This post here is about what it would entail to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. Mainstream political opinion professes respect for the warnings from climate scientists such as James Hansen who has told us,

Burning all fossil fuels, we conclude, would make most of the planet uninhabitable by humans, thus calling into question strategies that emphasize adaptation to climate change.

And yet in terms of what actually gets done, it is obvious that there is no meaningful attempt to avoid our accelerating consumption of fossil fuels. Since the Kyoto agreement was signed, fossil fuel consumption has continued to accelerate by 3% per year just has it has been doing since the 1950s. Continuing along this exponential trajectory would lead to cumulative  emissions of ten trillion tonnes of carbon in just over a century from now and for atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to be 8x the preindustrial level (as compared to the 40% increase seen to date). Known recoverable reserves of fossil fuels are enough to sustain that; the only thing that would prevent it from happening is if we choose to leave them in the ground.

The debate about what should or should not be done is encapsulated by Vaclav Klaus’s assertion that , “Freedom, not climate, is at risk”. In general I agree with Vaclav Klaus that we need to avoid interfering in each others’ lives as much as is compatible with overall well being. That however is always going to be a fraught balancing act with contentious value judgments at every point along the way. We need to first assess the arguments as to whether fossil fuels do genuinely pose a risk to the climate and then balance that assessment against the politics and practicalities of doing something about it.  Weighed up against the assessment of warnings about catastrophic climate change is an assessment of how catastrophic it would be to try and wean ourselves off fossil fuels. The leading climate skeptic campaigner Nigel Lawson sums this up when he expresses exasperation about climate change alarmists,

What was clear, however, was that they had no understanding of, or interest in, the massive human and economic costs involved in the policies they so glibly endorse.

Likewise, if Vaclav Klaus is to be believed, only a brutal, miserable, command economy system would leave the fossil fuels in the ground. A vibrant economy that makes the most of all of our individual talents and joys is supposedly inextricably linked to unimpeded consumption of fossil fuels. Is that really true?

Perhaps it helps to view the current debate about carbon dioxide in the light of the historical debates about sanitation. In the 1840s in England there was a heated controversy about provision of sewerage facilities. At the time it was considered by many to be an absurd imposition of central control to move away from simply having people cast their faeces into the street. Today we take effective sanitation for granted in the developed world and view inadequate sanitation as a mark of a failed state not as an exemplification of the laissez-faire ideal. Might we in the future view fossil fuel use as being as unnecessary and noxious as casting faeces into the street?

To my understanding, the crucial measure to effectively induce a transition away from fossil fuels would be a tariff charged on the basis of how much carbon dioxide would come from burning them. That would be what it would take to ensure that much of our fossil fuel reserves were left in the ground and that alternatives were instead brought into existence.  A fossil fuel tariff of that sort would be paid to the country where the fuels were extracted, charged at the point of extraction. That would encourage many countries to sign up to the system because it would provide a local source of revenue (at any rate until it induced adoption of alternative energy sources). If a country did not participate, then participating countries could apply an equivalent tariff on imports from that country based on the fossil fuels used in production.

The effectiveness of such a tariff mechanism has been demonstrated by how in the European Union we have been effectively coerced into producing and paying for beet sugar despite the fact that it costs twice as much as cane sugar. A near 100% tariff on sugar imports has ensured that European sugar production has been nurtured into existence whilst much more efficient cane fields in the Caribbean now lie fallow.

The owners of the fossil fuel reserves have already paid for them. Those owners would be dispossessed by an effective policy that caused the reserves to remain unused. Our current renewable energy policies only become explicable when viewed in the light of the political reluctance to render those fossil fuel assets worthless. Environmentally minded voters are placated with ineffectual “green washing” measures aimed to give the greatest political impact whilst avoiding any threat to the value of fossil fuel assets. The result is rooftop photo-voltaic panels in rain lashed northern England. Perhaps, in order to ensure that fossil fuels do actually get left in the ground, it will be politically necessary to compensate the owners of those fossil fuel reserves. Perhaps only then would we have a hope of introducing the necessary tariff system. If the move away from fossil fuel use became something of a free lunch for the owners of the fossil fuel assets, then perhaps the wind would be taken out of the sails of the climate change denial public relations campaign.

To my mind the key point is that effective measures to ensure a move away from fossil fuels need not entail the sort of command economy horror show that Vaclav Klaus warns us of. Once an effective tariff was in place, the stage would be set for self organizing human ingenuity to rise to the challenge of providing us with alternative energy. That brings us to the wider controversy of whether we do have the potential to provide enough energy without fossil fuels; whether we would indeed successfully rise to that challenge. In principle the energy is there for the taking; every hour the sun radiates more energy onto the earth than the entire human population uses in one whole year. Basically the challenge is how to tap into that abundant energy.

The full scope of the possibilities for renewable energy is too wide to be dealt with here. In this post I want to focus on liquid transportation fuels as an illustrative example that highlights wider issues. The vast bulk of global fossil fuel reserves are in the form of coal. In the past decade, most of the growth in fossil fuel use has been from coal. However the last century was all about oil. Oil provides an extremely convenient source of energy. Diesel for trucks and jet fuel for planes allows economic activity to blossom with a minimal need for infrastructure or political organisation. We have now burned our way through much of our easily recoverable reserves of oil. Exxon Mobil spends a hundred million dollars a day prospecting for new reserves but that is providing ever diminishing returns. A century ago it took one barrel of oil to find and extract a hundred barrels, it now takes thirty. Saudi Arabia still has substantial reserves but the Saudis carefully ration production so we are left relying on reserves elsewhere that are ever more expensive and hazardous to exploit. There has recently been a shift towards mining tar sands for conversion to oil. If environmental considerations do not hold sway, the next step will be large scale production of synthetic liquid fuels from coal. The way we respond to the immediate “peak oil” phenomenon can be seen as a forerunner for our overall approach towards renewable energy.

This brings us back to Bio Architecture Lab’s yeast that are able to efficiently convert seaweed into ethanol. This technology uses wild varieties of seaweed, grown in their native parts of the world on floating supports in the open sea. It requires no farmland nor freshwater and no addition of fertilizer nor pesticides. The byproducts can be used as animal feed and soil improvers. It addresses both climate change and food security issues. Depletion of soil has been described as the most frightening long term threat for humanity. Seaweed provides a way to return phosphates and potassium back from the oceans to our farmland. Whilst ethanol is not the ideal transportation fuel and it can’t be used as jet fuel, the technology to allow fermentation microbes to directly convert any form of carbohydrate (including alginates from seaweed) into diverse types of hydrocarbons is within our grasp. 

Nevertheless this promising technology has been met with a flurry of nay saying. The most damning allegation was that it would take more fuel to cultivate the seaweed  and convert it into fuel than the process produced. A detailed audit revealed that allegation to be unfounded and demonstrated an efficient net yield. The other key allegation was that it would be  impossible to conduct seaweed cultivation on a sufficiently large scale. Current oil consumption is five billion tonnes per year; it would take fifty billion tonnes (dry weight) of seaweed to provide that and that would require a cultivated area of one billion hectares (less than four percent of the ocean surface). Globally, there is over a billion hectares of arable land under cultivation. In the developed world, it takes minimal human effort to work that land. The vast bulk of the economy is left for other activities. Likewise, cultivating seaweed on that scale would be a significant source of jobs and economic activity but would nevertheless be very much a minority activity.

Much of the skepticism about seaweed cultivation has come from the mistaken idea that only the brown seaweeds used by Bio Architecture Lab are relevant for this process and that only certain parts of the oceans are suitable for cultivation of those seaweeds. What Bio Architecture Lab really demonstrated is that yeast can be readily developed to meet any fermentation challenge whatever the carbohydrate composition of the seaweed feed stock. Red seaweeds growing in tropical waters would need a different strain of yeast but the same principle could be applied to rapidly develop such yeast.

Why then has Bio Architecture Lab abandoned its commercial scale seaweed biofuel project? Presumably the financial backers of companies such as Bio Archictechture Lab and Seaweed Energy Solutions were banking on state mediated intervention (such as fossil fuel tariffs) to create an economic incentive for full scale adoption of the technology. That necessary intervention simply hasn’t materialized. Although those companies are small they attracted cutting edge expertise in biotechnology and offshore energy provision. Those people saw the potential of the project, nevertheless, it has recently been argued that there is little sense in converting high value seaweed into less valuable liquid fuel. That argument overlooks the fact that scaling up seaweed production to a market size that swamped all non-fuel demand for alginates would render it irrelevant that the alginate intermediate product is currently far more valuable than liquid fuel. The relevant way to appraise the economics is to view the cost as money spent to keep tar sands in the ground and to build human expertise in a renewable technology that could serve us for future generations.

The broad thrust of the concerns of skeptics such as Nigel Lawson, is that tariffs that increased the cost of fuel would hamstring the global economy. However one of the thorniest issues facing the global economy is unemployment and underemployment.  Advocates for tar sand extraction justify the environmental cost on the basis of what it can do for job creation, digging the stuff up and building the trucks to do so. On that basis, seaweed biofuels would be even “better”. If there is a problem with adopting seaweed biofuel technology, it is that it entails more labour than the fossil fuel alternatives. There is a political appetite for job creation; seaweed biofuels would provide job creation with a necessary purpose. What is more, many of the jobs created would be in coastal communities that are beset by loss of jobs in the fishing and shipbuilding industries.

Of course it is stupid to have wasteful activity just for the hell of it. Our economy does best when we all interact to provide each other with what we want as efficiently as possible. However if the worry is that renewable energy would act as a cost drag, there are other less easily justified cost drags that could be cut out. The EU common agricultural policy currently spends almost £50Bn per year as payments to farmers and landowners. In effect much of that ends up going to increased rents for farmland. Added to that, trade barriers prevent imports of many types of food that can be produced far more efficiently outside of Europe (I mentioned the example of sugar above). We also have a global financial system that has been built (by the global financial system itself) in such a way as to maximize the financial overhead borne by the real economy. In the USA alone, it has been estimated that over a trillion dollars a year could be saved if the financial sector was trimmed down towards functioning as a service for the real economy rather than gathering as much as possible for itself. I think much of the skepticism about renewable energy is actually founded on a naive belief that it would be a blemish in an otherwise pristine and perfectly optimized economic system. I see our current system as something of a mess with plenty of room for improvement and plenty of capacity to accommodate necessary measures such as leaving the fossil fuels in the ground.

Related previous posts:

Could this be a way to scrutinize climate science enough for the skeptics?

Sustainability of economic growth and debt.

To save the environment, target poverty.

Related stuff on the web:

Environmentalism poses a problem for libertarian ideology -Matt Bruenig

Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature -Hansen et al

Climate sensitivity, sea level and atmospheric carbon dioxide -Hansen, Stao, Russel and Kharecha

Statoil invests, partners with BAL in macroalgae: How big will big algae be? -biofuelsdigest

Efficient ethanol production from brown macroalgae sugars by a synthetic yeast platform -Enquist-Newman et al -Nature

Bad News: Scientists Make Cheap Gas From Coal -Wired

Marine macroalgae: an untapped resource for producing fuels and chemicals -Wei, Quarterman and Jin- Trends biotech

Large-scale carbon recycling via cultivation and biorefinery of seaweeds for production of biobased chamicals and fuels -ECN

Sea6 Energy

Sea6 Energy Biofuel from the oceans

Unlocking Seaweed’s Next-Gen Crude: Sugar -The New York Times

Seaweed biofuels: a green alternative that might just save the planet -Guardian

Bio Architecture Lab, EcoShift make waves with seaweed-based biofuels -biofuelsdigest

Bio Gives Up on Seaweed-to-Ethanol Effort in Chile -Bloomberg

NLACM leads to changing times at Bio Architechture Lab -biofuels digest

A skeptical look at seaweed ethanol -Alice Friedmann

Who benefits from farm subsidies: farmers or landowners? -CAP Reform.eu

The Beginning of the End of the Fossil Fuel Revolution: GMO_QtlyLetter_3Q14_full (added 22nov2014)

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Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist. –Kenneth E. Boulding

Our world today seems full of contradictions. We seemingly need to work longer hours to secure our jobs when there aren’t enough jobs to go around. It appears necessary to bombard us with advertising to persuade us to buy stuff we don’t really want because that is the only way to ensure enough employment for people to afford what they need. Apparently much of this is in aid of economic growth and economic growth is important because without it we won’t be able to service our debt burden.

It is easy to come to the conclusion that debt and economic growth are at the root of our problems and so we should eliminate both. There is a campaign organisation advocating just that – the “Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy” (CASSE). Nevertheless, it is also easy to dream up imaginary fables where both debt and economic growth are entirely beneficial:

Imagine an economy where people relied on camel herding to provide food and fire wood for power. They had intermittent famines whenever droughts occurred and spent all day every day scouring the desert for fire wood, water and camel forage. Life was hard and getting harder due to desertification from camel overgrazing and tree loss.

To avoid the looming crisis they constructed solar powered desalination plants to provide fresh water from the sea and grew seaweed on floating farms to convert into aviation fuel, plastic materials and animal fodder. The waste from the seaweed was used as a soil improver and so plenty of camels could be kept on good pasture for use as family pets and recreational riding. Solar powered, robot staffed, factories provided everything everyone wanted. The land that had been overgrazed recovered and wild animals that had been rare became numerous again. Materials were recycled and the cornucopia of consumer goods and capital equipment entirely came from organizing existing materials using human ingenuity and renewable energy.

All the economic development was funded using debts drawn up between the people. The revenue from providing goods and services to each other provided an ample revenue stream for all the debts to be serviced. Everyone was both a creditor and a debtor. People used the revenue from their debt holdings to help pay their debts to each other. There was initially a debate as to whether to use a monetary system based on bills of exchange drawn up between the populace or whether to allow banks. It was decided that banks would add convenience and fortunately the excess interest charged by banks got spent back into the economy by the bank workers and owners. There initially was nothing much in the way of government but it was decided that so long as government workers spent what was received in taxes back into the economy, a mixed public sector private sector economy might be conducive to overall prosperity.

There was no inflation either of consumer prices or of assets. The price of a camel stayed exactly the same as did the prices of the buildings that predated the economic transition. However whilst previously the camels and few permanent buildings constituted essentially all of the asset stock in the economy; they became a tiny proportion of a vastly wealthier economy with masses of incredibly valuable high tech capital equipment. The stock of debt grew in proportion to the size of the economy; as the economy grew so did the revenue streams available to service the debts with. There seemed no end in sight to the economic growth. People owned more and more sophisticated machines that enabled them to do less and less drudgery. At no point was economic growth sort after as a way to service the debts. It was simply a by-product of people doing things better. If for whatever reason economic growth had stalled, the debts would have remained serviceable because all of the repayments were spent – returning the means of payment back to the debtors.

I think it is instructive to unpick how this imaginary scenario diverges from our real life situation that has led people to found the “Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy”. I think it boils down to the imaginary situation being based on money and debt being entirely used to direct current investment and consumption (I’m not using the word “investment” in its financial meaning as exchange of money for another asset but rather in its economic meaning as spending on new machinery etc.). In the imaginary situation the money and debt are simply a form of communication that enables people to organize and rearrange the resources they have. They are analogous to the pheromones used by insect colonies that enable a colony of insects to work together in harmony for the greater good of each other. My impression is that our real life problems stem from money and debt being instead used to concentrate power and control rather than to direct activity. Often money is lent not so as to obtain a revenue stream to spend on goods and services produced from the investment; but rather so as to gather more wealth to keep as an insurance in case in future there is competition for scarce resources.

It is perfectly rational to want to insure against an uncertain future. The problem is that collectively our ability to provide for each other depends on our real productive capacity not our paper wealth. If bees or ants saved up their pheromones, instead of using them to direct each other for gathering nectar, the colony would collapse. When the hive was in disrepair with no stocks of honey, it would be too late and the amassed stock of pheromones would be seen for the foolishness it was.  It is exactly the same with money and debt for us. I think we need to think rationally about the glitch in the nature of finance that enables claims to be accumulated without an accompanying ability to honour those claims. When we talk about debt being unsustainable, what we are really meaning is that the debt has become disconnected from the real economy and money is being used to gather money rather than to build productive capacity. I think replacing our current tax system with a tax on assets could ensure that all wealth remains continuously grounded in the productive capacity required both to pay such a tax and so prevent that potential glitch in the nature of finance.

We also need to be extremely wary of exhortations for economic growth where what is actually meant is growth of debt disconnected from productive capacity. That is simply a demand for increased wealth inequality. Debts based on lending to fund consumption to paper over inequalities have to be recognised as reckless lending that provides no basis for real wealth and need to be left to default with no backstop for the creditors. It is wealth inequality that leads to disconnected debt being the most financially prudent form of saving. In my opinion, tackling wealth inequality is crucial if we are to have a sustainable prosperous economy.

The “Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE)” have a “myth and reality” section. Two of the “myths” they refute are “We can grow the economy continuously because we can decouple growth from resource use and waste production” and “technological progress will allow unlimited economic growth”. Refuting those “myths” seems to me to be saying that people will stop learning from experience. I don’t believe that that would be desirable. I think it is vital never to conflate environmental conservation with eschewing knowledge and technology. A blind grasping for economic growth for the sake of sustaining non-productive debts may be leading us to neglect environmental concerns but in principle efforts directed at protecting our environment may actually lead to economic growth. Goods might become exquisitely designed with a view towards reuse and recycling. Potentially materials could just be remoulded again and again with no waste and no natural resource consumption. Humans have been doing exactly that with gold and gemstones for thousands of years. We will simply need to treat other mineral resources in the same way.

The sun provides our planet with an immense power source that renders the “thermodynamic” objections posed by CASSE complete nonsense. Do CASSE believe that evolution by natural selection will cease? Isn’t evolution simply a honing of the fitness of living things -the natural world’s equivalent of economic growth? I don’t consider that there is any more reason to evoke a “thermodynamic” objection to economic growth than there is against evolution. Of course humans are perfectly capable of screwing up and making each other’s lives miserable. The history of Easter Island illustrates that perfectly. That is very different from saying that we can’t behave differently.

Also see posts:

Rich people could benefit if everyone else were also rich

Chance, luck, risk and economic democracy

Related stuff on the web:

Is sustainable growth an oxymoron -John Fullerton

Growth isn’t possible- nef

The End of Growth Wouldn’t Be the End of Capitalism -The Atlantic

On the Road to Zero Growth -Jeremy Grantham

Murphy’s Law? or, Follies of a Finite Physicist- Noah Smith

I think the greatest threat to our environment is human poverty. This may seem counter-intuitive since in general each rich person consumes and pollutes far more than each poor person. It has been estimated that it would take five Earths to provide all seven billion of us with a current US lifestyle. An astonishingly low environmental impact is achieved by the poorest . On the face of it, if everyone managed to lift themselves out of poverty, increases in pollution and environmental degradation might be expected to cause an environmental calamity. However if having all seven billion of us living an affluent lifestyle poses an environmental challenge, a more serious environmental challenge is posed by having ten billion people sharing the planet even if two billion of those don’t pollute or degrade the environment much due to poverty. To my mind population growth is the crucial environmental issue and population growth comes from poverty.

Hans Rosling makes a very compelling case that the poorest two billion people are the source of global population growth. People from utterly different cultures all over the world on average have large families when child mortality rates are high and small families when they are low. Over the past few decades there has not been an explosion in the number of poor people because thankfully many poor people do manage to escape poverty. But enough remain poor to maintain a steady source of global population growth. The poorest two billion people today are just as poor as the poorest two billion a few decades ago and just as likely to see their children die and just as likely to have large families. Poor people  are the progenitors of the increased future population of better off people who eat meat, drive cars and water their lawns. If you believe that the world can only support a limited number of affluent people then the answer is to ensure that everyone is affluent.

Obviously if each of us who has the good fortune to be comfortably well off chooses to consume in a way that minimises environmental problems; then that is great. We can spend our money on say dance classes for our children rather than new hardwood flooring or whatever –reduce, reuse, recycle. Environmental concerns do also feed into politics though. Many people want the political system to steer other people towards behaviour that protects the environment.  I think it is crucial that people living in the rich world channel the politics of environmental concern towards ameliorating the extent to which the rich world impoverishes the world’s poorest. I don’t think policy makers in the rich world intentionally impoverish the world’s poorest. It comes as a by-product of efforts to ensure prosperity in the rich world or to protect special interest groups in the rich world. Agricultural tariffs and subsidies are a classic example. They lead to what otherwise would be uneconomic intensification of agriculture in the developed world so as to dump food at a loss in the poor world. There is consequent destitution of people who could otherwise be involved in commercial agriculture in the developing world both for local consumption and for export. In the 1800s the case was successfully made that repealing the English “corn laws” would benefit almost everyone with the exception of those wanting increased rents and mortgages from English farmland. I think the same arguments hold today.

In the USA in particular there is much popular support for protectionist tariffs and subsidies*. The USA is such a large country that it can cope relatively well even if global trade gets shut down. I think it is crucial that we unpick the motivation behind such protectionist views. Much of it seems to stem from the conflict between “labour” and “capital”. The owning class has the most to gain from globalization. The owning class can own whichever companies are most profitable where ever they are based. They can lend money to whoever in the world provides the highest return. Workers on the other hand lose bargaining power. Jobs become outsourced to where ever in the world has the lowest wages for a given level of competency. As I see it the answer is to ensure that everyone belongs to the owning class. Replacing all current taxes with an asset tax and paying a citizens’ dividend would have that effect. If the increased profits that came from offshoring jobs went to everyone rather than just a select owning class then much of the current resentment would evaporate.

What the world needs are advances in efficiency and technology. We need to be able to do more with less. To my mind it makes much more sense for people to be freed up to push new technologies in the developed world. A compelling case can be made that developing countries benefit from “learning by doing”. If a basic manufacturing process can be done well in a developing country then it makes sense for it to be done there, providing jobs there. Hopefully the experience gained will raise capabilities so that all of the world can be at the forefront.  People like working not simply because they want money but because they find it satisfying to create and provide, to master skills and innovate. To truly satisfy that motivation, people need to be doing work where they are really making a difference for the better. The duplication and waste that comes from trade barriers runs counter to that.

Even more than trade barriers, I think policies aimed at encouraging capital flows from the developing world to the developed world have been the overriding influence on world poverty. I’ve examined this in the previous post “Isn’t a financialized economy the goose that lays our golden eggs”. People in the UK are not callously minded towards people in the developing world. I’m sure that the decimation of the real value of the median wage across the developing world that occurred during the 1980-2000 “great moderation” period is not connected in most people’s minds  with the apparently miraculous affordability for global commodities that came in that period for those in the developed world. Ignorance is no excuse though. We need to get real and face up to the consequences of the policies we vote for. Making the UK a perfect piggy bank for capital flight from developing countries does far more damage than can be put right by some charitable donations.

It is striking that the popular sympathy for protectionism as a way to “keep jobs here” is at odds with nurturing capital flight from poorer countries as a way to gain prosperity by sleight of hand. If money were staying in poor countries, causing those countries to develop a prosperous economy of their own, then that would raise wages there. That would avoid the issue of jobs being offshored from the rich world to lower wage countries. Furthermore if the whole world were prosperous, then countries that are currently poor would become potential importers of products made by workers here.

The cost of natural resources does however increase if the whole world can afford them. If what we really want are more jobs in the rich world, then perhaps we should be more sanguine about that. There are lots of potential job opportunities in renewable energy and recycling. To my mind it makes no sense to at the same time put up trade barriers so as to “keep jobs at home” and yet entice capital flight so that we can get all the world’s natural resources and put off the day when we need to recycle and use renewables.

*As an aside, I think protectionism also is a very bad idea because it provides a compelling motivation for imperialism. In the absence of world trade, a country needs to have a large internal market and that means that countries need to be as large as possible.

see also posts:

We choose for renewable energy to make no financial sense.

Rich people could benefit if everyone else were also rich.

Globalization, Triffin’s dilemma and demurrage crypto currency.

Isn’t a financialized economy the goose that lays our golden eggs?

Related stuff on the web:

People and the planet -Royal Society

Stop blaming the poor. Its the wally yatchers who are burning the planet – George Monbiot

populationmatters.org

The mother of invention – Interfluidity