What’s the Role of Civil Society in the Race to the Zero Carbon Economy?

Originally posted at The Beam

Richard Heinberg interview by Anne-Sophie Garrigou

“Since government and the economics profession are largely abdicating leadership, civil society must step forward to lead.” — Richard Heinberg

Climate Change - Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, Richard Heinberg

A Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, Richard Heinberg is an American journalist and educator specialized in energy, economic, and ecological issues. Heinberg also serves on the advisory board of The Climate Mobilization, a grassroots advocacy group calling for a national economic mobilization against climate change with the goal of 100% clean energy and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.


Richard Heinberg on Climate Change

What do you think is the role of the civil society in this race to a zero carbon economy?

Since government and the economics profession are largely abdicating leadership, civil society must step forward to lead. We see this, for example, with the Transition Towns movement.

As populism in spreading all over Europe, and more and more candidates being openly skeptical about climate change, how do we convince the people who vote for them that climate change is actually the most important topic today?

Public rejection of climate science is not driving the success of right-wing populism. Instead, the far-right populists are riding a wave of public anxiety about slowing economic growth, globalization (job competition from overseas), and immigration (job competition at home). The incumbent centrist politicians have opened the door to this kind of challenge by refusing to acknowledge the end of growth and by not suggesting sensible policies for adapting to it. The far-right populists promise to return nations to the good old days — the days of greater job security, easy economic growth, and more cultural homogeneity — and they understand that fossil fuels were key to economic expansion during the growth era. Therefore they tend to deny climate science so that they can promote more fossil fuel use and promise more growth. But it’s all a cynical ruse that is bound to fail spectacularly. The days of easy conventional fossil fuels and rapid economic growth are over, regardless of government policies.

Here in the U.S., most people still believe the climate scientists, even if those same people voted for Donald Trump. The problem is that people are increasingly desperate and they sense that the centrist politicians have lied to them. They want a significant change of direction, and the far-right populists at least promise to shake things up.

What will your next book about?

My next book will be a very short overview of what every thinking person needs to understand in order to survive and navigate the remainder of the twenty-first century.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Don’t despair! We need thinking, caring people to work together as never before! But it is important that everyone understand that our common enemy is actually the fossil fuel-centered, growthist, consumerist way of life that we created in the twentieth century.

If we agree on that, then there are lots of things we can begin to do to change the situation for the better. But without that core understanding, a lot of otherwise well-intended effort can be spent in ways that actually just make us worse off in the long run.

Read the entire interview here.

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New Start-Up Award Created by German Energy Agency

by John Brian Shannon | October 31, 2016

Energy Start-Ups in Germany to Receive Leadership and Robust Assistance

Under the leadership of Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Economic Affairs, a new and exciting organization has been created to assist startups in Germany’s energy and environment space.


With three separate, but interlocking components; (1) THE START UP ENERGY TRANSITION (2) THE PROJECT (3) THE START UP ENERGY TRANSITION AWARD this organization works to facilitate and empower persons, groups, organizations and companies to excel at their maximum potential in the energy sector of the German economy.

The FIRST GLOBAL START-UP AWARD for VISIONARIES and VANGUARDS fighting against climate change. It attracts innovative start-ups and supports them in making their visions become a key success factor for the worldwide energy transition. To support this, we will organize the

The START UP ENERGY TRANSITION TECH FESTIVAL to stimulate new business models by connecting the best of all interdisciplinary stakeholders. Start-ups from around the globe will work together with customers and investors to improve their products and to kick-off new ideas.

And we created the START UP ENERGY TRANSITION NETWORK to ensure a continuous exchange of the best ideas and talents among the participants and our partners and sponsors. We want this network to accelerate co-operations and drive innovation within the international debate on climate change.

The FIRST GLOBAL START-UP AWARD for VISIONARIES and VANGUARDS will officially launch on the 22nd and 23rd of November during the DENA congress with the first annual awards ceremony taking place in March 2017 in Berlin.

German Energy Agency Assists Energy Start-Ups

The German Energy Agency (DENA) is looking for start-ups interested in participating along with other organizations that want to be involved as sponsors, ambassadors, media and network partners.

For more information


Renewable Energy dena Start Up Energy Transition Award - Banner_Startup_Energy_700x116px


kleef&co are proud to serve as Network Partners to the German Energy Agency.

Study: Last Gasoline Car to Sell by 2035

The Last Gasoline Car Will Be Sold in 2035 – Replaced by Electric Vehicles in Order to Meet Climate Goals

A new study says the last gasoline powered car will be sold in 2035. However, gasoline cars will remain in service perhaps until the year 2100.

Last gasoline car to be sold by 2035, will be replaced by Electric Vehicles. Mercedes Benz Electric concept car, the Der F 015 Luxury in Motion auf dem Ars Electronica Festival in Linz F 015 Luxury in Motion at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Germany. File photo. Image courtesy of Mercedes Benz.
Last gasoline car to be sold by 2035 — to be replaced by Electric Vehicles. Mercedes Benz Electric concept car, the Der F 015 Luxury in Motion on display at the Electronica Festival in Linz, Germany. Image courtesy of Mercedes Benz.

Excerpt: Transportation is responsible for 26 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emission and a new study has found that in order to reach global warming goals – set by world leaders last year – the last gasoline car would have to be sold by 2035… Continue reading Study: Last Gasoline Car to Sell by 2035

Did climate change collapse ancient civilizations?

Did climate change cause these ancient civilizations to collapse?

Drought is the great enemy of human civilization. Drought deprives us of the two things necessary to sustain life–food and water. When the rains stop and the soil dries up, cities die and civilizations collapse, as people abandon lands no longer able to supply them with the food and water they need to live. While the fall of a great empire is usually due to a complex set of causes, drought has often been identified as the primary culprit or a significant contributing factor in a surprising number of such collapses. Drought experts Justin Sheffield and Eric Wood of Princeton, in their 2011 book, Drought, identify more than ten civilizations, cultures and nations that probably collapsed, in part, because of drought. — Dr. Jeff Masters, writing in the Ten Civilizations or Nations That Collapsed From Drought

Climate Change
Scientists documenting the impacts of climate change say it may be a factor in the boom-and-bust cycles of ancient Southwest civilizations in the US. Cliff Palace image courtesy of wunderphotographer Amtnspirit.

 


The Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) culture in the Southwest U.S. in the 11th – 12th centuries AD. Beginning in 1150 AD, North America experienced a 300-year drought called the Great Drought. This drought has often been cited as a primary cause of the collapse of the ancestral Puebloan (formally called Anasazi) civilization in the Southwest U.S., and abandonment of places like the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. The Mississippian culture, a mound-building Native American civilization that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States, also collapsed at this time. Information courtesy of www.wunderground.com


Continue reading Did climate change collapse ancient civilizations?

Climate Change Impact on Food Crops

Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to agriculture

Climate change
Climate change poses challenges to agricultural productivity and to the costs of improving environmental conditions. Image by climate.nasa.gov

More scientists are focusing their attention on how rising temperatures will affect crop yield, farming practices and food security for the world, with massive implications for economics and health.

KEY TOPICS According to Walthall et al., (2012), climate change, and especially temperature change, would also have an impact on crops via ‘biologically mediated services’, such as animal pollination, which is responsible for 75% of the global food crop pollination. (More…) As prolonged drought and extreme temperatures have… Continue reading Climate Change Impact on Food Crops