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Less of What We Don't Need

Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.

So where are the battery electric trucks?

By: 
Alice Friedemann

Heavy-duty diesel-engine trucks (agricultural, cargo, mining, logging, construction, garbage, cement, 18-wheelers) are the main engines of civilization. Without them, no goods would be delivered, no food planted or harvested, no garbage picked up, no minerals mined, no concrete made, or oil and gas drilled to keep them all rolling. If trucks stopped running, gas stations, grocery stores, factories, pharmacies, and manufacturers would shut down within a week.
Since oil, coal, and natural gas are finite, and biomass doesn’t scale up, clearly someday trucks will need to run on wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal generated electricity. Yet even batteries for autos aren’t yet cheap, long-lasting, light-weight, or powerful enough for most Americans to replace their current gas-guzzlers with. And given the distribution of wealth, few Americans may ever be able to afford an electric car, since two-thirds of Americans would have trouble finding even $1,000 for an emergency.
 

The Dark Side of Clean Energy in Mexico

By: 
Santiago Navarro F. and Renata Bessi

The Dark Side of Clean Energy in Mexico

A palm hat worn down by time covers the face of Celestino Bortolo Teran, a 60-year-old Indigenous Zapotec man. He walks behind his ox team as they open furrows in the earth. A 17-year-old youth trails behind, sowing white, red and black corn, engaging in a ritual of ancient knowledge shared between local people and the earth.

Neither of the two notices the sound of our car as we arrive "because of the wind turbines," Teran says. Just 50 meters away, a wind farm has been installed by the Spanish company Gas Natural Fenosa. It will generate, at least for the next three decades, what governments and energy companies have declared "clean energy."

From Copenhagen to Delhi, 'smart cities' call for smart solutions - like cycling

By: 
Colin Todhunter

The world's big cities are choking with pollution and endless traffic jams, writes Colin Todhunter - except one. Copenhagen, faced with these problems half a century ago, decided to act. Now it is showing the world that cycling is not just the basis of a sustainable transport strategy, but is key to making our cities clean, green, human and livable. May the global revolution unfold ...

India's cities are in crisis. They are clogged with traffic, choked with pollution, blighted by concrete flyovers, overcrowded, suffer from power and water shortages, are prone to flooding and can at times be almost unbearable to live in.

The plan to introduce 'smart cities' to India is intended to remedy many of these problems.

Basic Income, Basic Issues

By: 
Daniel Raventós & Julie Wark

Europe is an outsized indicator of the “shocking levels” of worldwide inequality. OXFAM’s September 2015 press release, “Increasing Inequality Plunging Millions More Europeans into Poverty”, makes a stark comparison between the “123 million people – almost a quarter of the EU’s population – at risk of living in poverty and its 342 billionaires”. Other reports show how, worldwide, the fortunes of the mega-rich have soared during the crisis, a situation summed up in the notorious statistic “Richest 1% Will Own More Than All the Rest by 2016”. The socioeconomic effects of this indecent inequality and how to deal with them are widely discussed and one product of the debate is a fast-expanding interest in the universal, unconditional basic income, which is usually presented as a measure for combatting poverty.

The Desperate Plight of Petrostates

By: 
Michael T. Klare

Once they were mighty, today they're in trouble! Michael T. Klare examines the fate of the "petrostate," ie; a state which funds itself primarily on oil procceds. In an age of the overproduction of that commodity leading to falling prices, facing the need to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, what were once seen as economic powerhouses are now facing economic difficulties.

This Could be the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry - Will the Rest of the Economy Go with It?

By: 
Nafeez Ahmed

It's not looking good for the global fossil fuel industry. Although the world remains heavily dependent on oil, coal and natural gas -- which today supply around 80 percent of our primary energy needs -- the industry is rapidly crumbling.

This is not merely a temporary blip, but a symptom of a deeper, long-term process related to global capitalism's escalating overconsumption of planetary resources and raw materials.

Climate Holism vs. Climate Reductionism

By: 
Richard Heinberg

Climate change may be the biggest threat facing humanity, but the way we’re currently going about fighting it just ensures that, even if we prevail, another threat will follow, and another, and another.

To explain why, it’s helpful to review a philosophical debate that’s simmered throughout the past couple of centuries. With the advent of modern science came a general predisposition toward an attitude called “reductionism,” the essential notion being that complex phenomena can best be understood by breaking them down into their component parts. Reductionism unquestionably works in many situations. For example, we can better understand the physical attributes of many materials if we study their molecular structures and their elemental atomic constituents. Chemistry is rooted in physics, and cell biology is rooted in chemistry.

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