47 Developing Countries Leapfrogging to Renewables

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At the tail end of the Marrakech UN conference on the climate 47 countries formed the Climate Vulnerable Forum to share the one goal: getting to 100% renewable energy as fast as possible. Previously, economists and politicians argued that developing countries will need to use coal or other destructive carbon-based energy before upgrading to renewables. With the cheap price of solar panels and other non-carbon intensive electricity it looks like these countries can skip coal. They are hoping to replicate the infrastructure “leapfrog” that mobile phones created in much of the world with renewable power.

Members of the CVF hope to perform the same kind of ‘leapfrogging’ with regards to energy.

The 47 members of the CVF – which includes nations like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Haiti – say they’ll “strive to meet 100 percent domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible, while working to end energy poverty and protect water and food security, taking into consideration national circumstances”.

The goal is to have all of these systems in place some time between 2030 and 2050, and the members have committed to presenting a detailed plan to the UN by 2020.

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It’s Time for the Economy to Shrink

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With the frequent boom and bust cycles the economy goes through it is rare for people to argue that perhaps the downward portion of cycles should continue. Shrinking the economy can actually be a good thing when done with good direction. DW has gathered many examples of places and people around the world that are improving despite their economies declining.

Instead of recklessly pursuing economic progress we should consider slowing down and pursue sane economic and environmental progress.

Currently, few question the pursuit of economic growth. From national economic policies to international programs for sustainable development, growth has typically been the goal.

But some economists now argue that on a planet with finite resources, we may have to stop growing in order to survive.

“More economic growth means more and material extracted out of nature, and more and waste after we use these materials,” sais Giorgos Kallis, an ecological economist and editor of “Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era.”

“With the current level of economic growth – and aspired levels of growth – there is no way to avoid dramatic and catastrophic change of the climate.”

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James Burke Connections App for Your Thinking Needs

James Burke is known for his series on BBC called Connections, which was all about how seemingly random inventions (or concepts) are actually connected in interesting ways. He has spent his life advocating for people to look at the in-between of industries and fields of research because it is there that we find true innovation.

In our modern era we find that we can create our own filter bubble (which is a big issue with the recent election in the USA) which can make finding connections a problem. Burke’s solution to this is to Kickstarer an app that uses his own specially designed database and cross-references it with Wikipedia in order to help you break out of your bubble and discover cool new connections!

You may have noticed that when we browse the news or type into Google we tend to seek confirmation more than we do information. We predict our current model will remain untarnished. When we want to make sense of something, we tend to develop a hypothesis just like any scientist would, but when we check to see if we are correct, we often stop once we find confirmation of our hunches or feel as though we understand. Without training, we avoid epiphany by avoiding the null hypothesis and the disconfirmation it threatens should it turn out to be valid.

Since the 1970s, Burke has predicted we would need better tools than just search alone if we were to break out of this way of thinking. His new app aims to do that by searching Wikipedia “connectively” and producing something the normal internet searches often do not – surprises, anomalies, and unexpected results.

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Check out the Kickstarter.

Stop The Traffik App

Human trafficking is a real problem throughout the globe and sadly it isn’t showing signs of slowing down. An organization, Stop the Traffik, is focused on ending human trafficking and has launched an app to help in that process. The charity has a good history of stopping trafficking (see their chocolate campaign) and this app should help them in their work. The app uses input from people to gather data from around the world then that data will be analyzed to figure out larger patterns and issues in how human trafficking works. That data will then be used to shape policy and future campaigns.

One of the greatest obstacles in disrupting this global crime is the lack of intelligence on the inner workings, the back-stories, the networks, all the factors that build the real time picture of what is taking place. To help to stem the tide there is a strong need for an accurate and analysed global perspective, which can only happen with the coordinated gathering and sharing of data.

We seek to develop a revolutionary culture of sharing.

To have a meaningful impact STOP THE TRAFFIK believes there is a need for a global perspective, which can only happen with the co-ordinated gathering and sharing of data. Because of our established global network and its big data potential, our commitment to building local community resilience brings the possibility to truly disrupt, and STOP THE TRAFFIK.

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Thanks to Delaney!

France Phasing out Coal by 2023

Not to be outdone by other nations, France has announced that the country will eliminate use of coal for electricity by 2023. Yesterday we looked at Canada’s plan to phase out coal plants by 2030, which in Canada caused concern. In France, there’s little debate that we need to stop using coal in our power plants.

It’s fantastic to see so many nations stopping their reliance on coal and switching to renewable energy sources!

“We need carbon neutrality by 2050,” the French President continued, promising that coal will no longer form part of France’s energy mix in six to seven years’ time.

France is already a world leader in low-carbon energy. The country has invested heavily in nuclear power over the past few decades and now derives more than 75 per cent of its electricity from nuclear fission. It produces so much nuclear energy, in fact, that it exports much of it to nearby nations, making around £2.5 billion each year.

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